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By Joe Naiman
Village News Reporter 

County includes nonprofits in Small Business Stimulus grants


Last updated 11/5/2020 at 12:45pm

Diego Cruzhelps helps Baltazar Antonio Cristobal on computer

Boys & Girls Club staff member Diego Cruz, left, helps club member Baltazar Antonio Cristobal with his online schooling, Nov. 2. The club is receiving a San Diego County Small Business Stimulus Program grant.

The San Diego County Small Business Stimulus Program grants allocated by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors are not limited to for-profit businesses, and the allocations approved Tuesday, Oct. 27, included funding for the Boys & Girls Club of North County in Fallbrook and the Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society.

The Boys & Girls Club will receive $5,000 which will help cover payroll, personal protective equipment and business activity expenses. The Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society was awarded a grant of $4,853 and can use that money on innovation, technology, marketing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, training and a reopening assessment. The grants were approved on a 5-0 board of supervisors' vote.

The county Small Business Stimulus Program provides financial assistance to businesses and nonprofit organizations to fund public health and response activities associated with the coronavirus outbreak. Federal funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act was used for the county Small Business Stimulus Program grants. Each county supervisor designated $3.4 million of appropriations for businesses or nonprofit organizations which submitted applications. Supervisor Jim Desmond determined the funding for businesses and nonprofits in the Fifth Supervisorial District.

"Supervisor Desmond has been extremely generous and very thoughtful about supporting nonprofits," Allison Barclay, CEO of Boys & Girls Club, said. "His support has really been so important to us."

The Boys & Girls Club has been open but with occupancy restrictions.

"We obviously can't operate our programs as we have in the past because of restrictions and the protocols we need to follow," Barclay said. "We're serving about half the kids we normally serve during the school year. We're expanding our hours to serve kids, and the groups are so much smaller."

Normally the Boys & Girls Club has a ratio of one staff member per 20 children. The current ratio is one staff member per 12 children.

"We're helping kids every day with their distance learning," Barclay said. "It's a lot more individual work to help the kids with their schoolwork."

The increased expenses also include school and other activity supplies.

"Now every child has to have their own separate set of supplies with their name on it," Barclay said. "Every little bit helps us. Every dollar we get is very helpful."

The Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society museum has been closed, and other activities were canceled due to the quarantine.

"We lost our two big fundraisers this year," Mary Fong Walker, president of Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society.

The spring sale was one of the major fundraisers canceled. The cancellation of the San Diego County Fair eliminated the booth the Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society uses to sell items. Those two events normally account for approximately 85% of the organization's annual revenues, and the closure of the museum also eliminated sales at the on-site gift shop.

"Basically, we had no income until we did the Fall Festival this past October, so it's been tough," Walker said.

The Fall Festival of Gems took place Oct. 11.

"Everybody was very, very happy just having an event in the community. It was good to provide that for the community," Walker said. "We were very happy for the community as well."

Additional expenses include directional signs, personal protective equipment and plexiglass.

"We had to retrofit the museum and gift shop," Walker said. "We had to completely rewrite all of our procedures."

The museum will reopen for visitors Nov. 6.

"We will be showcasing some new acquisitions," Walker said. "We're looking forward to opening our gift store and having the museum."

The San Diego County Small Business Stimulus Program grant will cover some of the museum's revenue losses and additional expenses.

"I'm glad for anything we can get," Walker said.

The grant application period was July 7 through Aug. 7.

"We didn't know if it was available," Walker said. "We did it literally on the deadline to get it in."

The checks will be processed and mailed after the business or nonprofit organization returns the signed grant agreement.

"We're grateful for anything we can get," Walker said.

Joe Naiman can be reached by [email protected]


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