Small business owner Pam Granger Gale said she was set to expand her local art studio at the beginning of 2020 before the COVID-19 global pandemic altered her plans. “I began applying for funds to help survive from just about everywhere looking for a puzzle piece to fit,” she told the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners during their Aug. 18 meeting. “When I received One Buncombe funding, a major piece was filled, and anxiety levels subsided.”
Granger Gale’s testimonial was part of recap informing Commissioners of the far-reaching effects of the community-based One Buncombe Fund. Immediately after the onset of COVID-19, a consortium of local governments, businesses leaders, nonprofits, and community organizations identified an urgent need to help laid-off workers and shuttered businesses. In March, County Commissioners allocated $200,000 to the fund to help get the ball rolling, and the City of Asheville kicked in $100,000. After that, our community did the rest by donating just over $1 million to the cause. To date, the fund has benefited from 1,076 donations ranging from $5 to $100,000 from individuals, grants, corporate sponsorships, anonymous donors, and more. And that money has gone to good use.
One Buncombe Fund in action:
- More than 1,000 individuals were helped by distributing more than $450,000 for housing assistance, utilities, and other necessities.
- 92 small businesses got more than $852,000 to help retain 674 local jobs.
- 57 of the 92 businesses getting loans have five or fewer employees.
- 29% of loans were for minority-owned businesses and 65% of loans were for women-owned businesses.
- For more statistics on distribution of One Buncombe Fund money, click here.
The One Buncombe Fund is not actively seeking donations, but is working with local business leaders about potential future needs as everyone monitors continued economic fallout from the ongoing pandemic. Learn more about the One Buncombe Fund here.
You can view the One Buncombe Fund presentation to Commissioners here.