Building a Better Boyertown was among the 43 community revitalization organizations throughout the state that will receive nearly $2 million under the COVID-19 Relief Supporting Elm and Main program.
Building a Better Boyertown will receive $50,000 in funding through the state.
"We are thrilled to hear about being awarded this funding. It's a relief to know that support is out there and that people are noticing our hard work to be considering us as a recipient," said Jillian Magee, Main Street Manager of Building a Better Boyertown.
Just like any other 501c3, Building a Better Boyertown is funded entirely by donations, fundraising, and the occasional grant. COVID has been such a challenging hurdle for so many in the nonprofit field, said Magee.
"For us specifically, the bulk of our operating budget comes from fundraisers, many of which we were forced to delay until next year, scale down significantly, or get creative with," she said. "My staff and volunteers have been churning out amazing ideas for future events, but the security that this grant brings to our organization gives us a major sigh of relief."
The goal of SEAM, Gov. Tom Wolf said in a press release, is to provide financial assistance to organizations dedicated to community and economic development in older and historic downtowns, commercial districts and neighborhoods.
The program, supported by Keystone Communities funding, is intended to assist Elm Street and Main Street organizations that have been economically impacted by COVID.
Wolf said communities across the state have faced devastating impacts from the pandemic but Pennsylvania's network of community development organizations never ceased answering the call for help.
"Our Elm Street and Main Street programs work tirelessly year in and year out — even in the best of times — to improve their communities, and this funding will provide them with the support they need to overcome the challenges they've recently faced," Wolf said.
This funding will finish covering administrative costs for the rest of 2021 for Building a Better Boyertown.
"This funding is strictly for administrative expenses," said Magee. "The problem with so many grants and donations that people don't realize is that funds are often restricted. In other words, we can only use the money for certain expenses."
Most of the time, that means that the funds are to be used for a specific project, a specific event or something that aligns with the interest of the gifting party.
"However in order to run these events, to achieve the goals that serve our mission and our community we need to be staffed. We need to be able to pay for our internet and electricity and rent," said Magee. "It's not quite as exciting as a big community event or project, but it's just as important. That's why we always do a happy dance when we receive an unrestricted donation or grant, because it can be hard to come by. The SEAM grant specially funds these oh-so-important costs like payroll, rent, internet, electricity and other utility costs. The relief is uplifting."
With administrative costs covered, Building a Better Boyertown can focus on getting funding for the fun things.
"We look forward to hosting a number of safe, outdoor events for the community. We're planning some classics like Oktoberfest, and some new ones like Dining Under the Stars," said Magee. "We're also in the works of beautifying the town, providing safer and more accessible sidewalks, and a few artistic projects. And as always, this frees up more time for us to support our small businesses and collaborate with the other nonprofit organizations in town."