Recent Updates

New Thurston Strong Business and Nonprofit Grants Coming Soon!

Thurston Strong will soon announce a new round of business and nonprofit grants to help those most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and resulting cessation or reduction in normal business operations. Thanks to America Rescue Plan (ARPA) funding provided by Thurston County, the Cities of Olympia and Tumwater and South Puget Sound Community College, Thurston Strong, anticipates reinvesting at least $10-$12 million into the local economy over the next year.

We are currently awaiting final federal guidelines for eligible applicants and fund usage. A few of the programs we are developing to support impacted organizations and displaced/transitioning workers are outlined below. Subscribers will be notified when resources become available in the coming weeks.

IMPACTED WORKER PROGRAMS

Thurston Job Champions Program

  • Connect impacted workers to employment within short-staffed nonprofits
  • Thurston Strong covers employee salary for one year
  • PacMtn/Community Foundation will identify and connect employees with qualifying nonprofits
  • Outcomes: Help workers find new career pathways; support and expand nonprofit impact

Dislocated Worker Skills and Certificate Training

  • Prepaid training, tuition for dislocated workers
  • Short-term certifications in construction, health care, technology, logistics, office and other fields
  • Supported by South Puget Sound Community College, PacMtn, Thurston Chamber, other partners
  • Outcomes: Accelerate worker retraining; address local labor shortages

BUSINESS AND NONPROFIT GRANTS

*Please note, documentation of COVID-19 impacts will be required for all ARPA-funded grants. This could include proof of quarterly losses year over year, demonstration of steep increases in operating costs or other factual evidence. Specific requirements will be included in the grant application when ready.

Agriculture and Food Market Reset Grants

  • For impacted farmers, food producers, food hub partners
  • Fund administrators: WSU Extension, Thurston EDC
  • Eligible expenses:
    • Offset documented losses related to COVID impact
    • Offset costs associated with onboarding new or returning employees
    • Offset costs associated with market adaptation

Minority Enterprise Investment Grants

  • For minority enterprises that were operating pre-COVID now working to stay open or restart
  • Fund administrator: Thurston EDC
  • Eligible expenses:
    • Offset documented losses related to COVID impact
    • Offset costs associated with onboarding new or returning employees
    • Offset costs associated with market adaptation

Business Relaunch Grants

  • For eligible microbusinesses that were operating pre-COVID now working to stay open or restart
  • Fund administrator: Thurston EDC
  • Eligible expenses:
    • Offset documented losses related to COVID impact
    • Offset costs associated with onboarding new or returning employees
    • Offset costs associated with market adaptation

Nonprofit Stabilization Grants

  • For nonprofits that were operating pre-COVID now working to stay open or restart
  • Fund administrator: The Community Foundation
  • Eligible expenses:
    • Offset documented losses related to COVID impact
    • Offset costs associated with onboarding new or returning employees
    • Offset costs associated with market adaptation/increased operating costs

Thurston EDC Advancing Thurston Strong Inclusive Economy Goal

A major goal area in the Thurston Strong Economic Reset Plan is to build a more inclusive economy. To help jump-start that goal, the Thurston Economic Development Council is creating a new Minority Business liaison position with support, in part, from Thurston County pass-through ARP funding.

This senior-level position will be housed at the Center for Business and Innovation in the EDC’s South Puget Sound Community College Lacey location. The liaison will add a new dimension to the EDCs’ existing technical business support team and be responsible for identifying, engaging and creating expanded opportunities for diverse entrepreneurs. The liaison will also identify opportunities to remove barriers to entry and expansion, facilitate networking and expand access to capital.

Although hosted at the EDC, the liaison will be available to support individual and collective minority business initiatives across all jurisdictions in Thurston County. Stay tuned for a recruitment announcement!

New Washington State Small Business Flex (Loan) Fund Portal Now Open

Small* business owners and nonprofits can start applying for low interest loans of up to $150,000 through the newly-launched Small Business​ Flex Fund. The Fund is a public-private partnership aimed at helping small businesses and nonprofits recover and grow. The program is operated through the Washington Department of Commerce, with a foundational investment of $30 million. Eligible applicants will be connected with a pre-approved private lending institution.

Qualifying businesses and nonprofits can apply for loans up to $150,000. Loans are available in 60- or 72-month loan terms at interest rates between 3-4.5%. The goal of the program is to ensure resources are available for creating business resiliency over the longer-term, post-COVID era.

*Small = fewer than 50 employees / $3 million annual revenue. Culturally-appropriate in-language assistance available. If a business doesn’t qualify, they will be connected to a community organization that can assist with finding other resources.

Mobile Vaccine Clinic Coming to LoveOly Summer Fest THIS Saturday, July 17

If you’ve been on the fence, too busy or otherwise distracted from getting a COVID-19 vaccine, we might have a perfect solution for you. On Saturday, July 17, from noon to 6 PM, Thurston Public Health is offering a mobile vaccine clinic adjacent to the LoveOly Summer Fest. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Mobile clinic located steps from beer garden in front of Drees in Downtown Olympia
  • Offering the Pfizer vaccine, which means children 12 years and older are eligible
  • Vaccines are free, no insurance required
  • Walk-ups welcome
  • ANY form of identification acceptable (do not need citizenship or driver’s license)
  • The mobile clinic will return July 31 (same place/same location) for your second/final shot

If you’re out of town this weekend, don’t worry. The mobile clinic will return to LoveOly Fest at the same time and location July 31st. After your first injection we can help you schedule a second dose at one of many nearby locations a few weeks later.

The sooner we all get vaccinated, the sooner we can return to normal or even better community gatherings, shopping, dining and JUST PLAIN FUN.

Finally, while you’re downtown for the mobile clinic, don’t forget to have a bit of fun. Here’s what’s going on: https://downtownolympia.org/Events/LoveOly-Summer-Fest

Thurston Strong Business and Worker Resource Info Coming!

Sorry for the delay, but stay tuned, folks. We have additional resource support on the way for those most impacted and still struggling from COVID-19 impact impacts. We’re working through rules and regulations now and expect to have an announcement next week. Hang in there and stay tuned!

It’s Easier Than Ever to Get Vaccinated in Thurston County

The sooner we achieve herd immunity, the sooner we can return to doing the things we love. You can find your own personal vaccine solution by visiting the “Vaccine Locator” page. Try the Olympia example or enter your own zip code. https://vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov/locations/98501

Also, the Washington Department of Health has extended approved use of the Pfizer Vaccine for children ages 12-15.

Upcoming THURSTON COUNTY Drive-Through Clinics:

Pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit, and motorcycles are welcome. No appointment required.

  • Friday, May 14 – 8am-12pm Pfizer clinic for age 16 and older. Drive-through COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Thurston County Fairgrounds, 3054 Carpenter Rd SE, Lacey.
  • Saturday, May 15 – 8am-5pm Moderna clinic for age 18 and older. Drive-through COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Thurston County Fairgrounds, 3054 Carpenter Rd SE, Lacey.
  • Sunday, May 16 – 8am-2pm Pfizer clinic for age 16 and older. Drive-through COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Thurston County Fairgrounds, 3054 Carpenter Rd SE, Lacey.

*The Washington Department of Health still has to review/authorize Pfizer vaccines for children aged 12-15. At this time, they are ineligible for a vaccine. We will post here when information is updated.

Federal Grants Now Accepting Applications

In case you missed our earlier announcements, these federal grant programs are now accepting applications. For technical support, contact our business hotline at 1-888-821-6652.

*Childcare provider and Ag/Farmer portals are not open. We will post here when new info available.

Community Foundation 2021 Resilience Grant Now Open

The Resilience Fund was established to further address the impacts of COVID-19, strengthen our region’s long-term efforts to rebuild, respond to emerging opportunities, help nonprofits adapt, and support creative new approaches and partnerships. The Community Foundation is uniquely positioned to listen, respond, fill gaps, support those in our communities who may otherwise be left out, and fund solutions that do not fit neatly into government categories.

To support these goals, they have adopted a rolling application process and a grantmaking framework that balances the need to learn and adapt with the need to act quickly. Contact Director of Community Programs, Daisha Versaw, at daisha@thecommunityfoundation.com or (360) 705-3340 if you have questions, wish to provide feedback, or would like individual support.

Program Details per Community Foundation:

  • Grant applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.
  • Most grant awards will range from $2,500 – $30,000.
  • Larger requests (over $10,000) may be required to submit additional narrative or budget information after initial review.
  • Applicants should expect a response from Community Foundation within three-months.
  • The Resilience Fund has raised $900,000 to date. We expect to award total funds raised over the three calendar years (2021-2023), beginning with $275,000 from May-December 2021.

Full guidelines at: https://www.thecommunityfoundation.com/resilience-fund-grants