For community organizations and local businesses feeling the financial pinch of the coronavirus pandemic, Berks County launched two grant programs this summer designed to distribute federal funds to those most in need.
The county has now unveiled a complete list of who received assistance.
In an effort to be transparent about how the county allocated the $38 million it received in CARES Act funding, the commissioners unveiled an online dashboard that features lists of who received grants and how much funding these groups were awarded through these programs.
The goal of the dashboard, they have said, is to show residents how those federal dollars are being put to good use in the community.
The Berks County Small Business New Start Grant Program, which was administered by Community First Fund, provided grants of $10,000 to $50,000 to local business owners.
Through this program, the county was able to provide nearly $11.2 million to 473 businesses that varied widely from restaurants to construction companies to dental offices to barbershops.
Of those that received assistance, 67 qualified for and received the maximum grant amount of $50,000. The industries receiving the most grants were restaurants (85), personal care services (49), retail stores (43) and grocery stores (38).
The Berks County CARES Grant Program was specifically designed to financially help a variety of organizations that included public health providers, municipalities and authorities, social services providers and public education providers.
Through this program, the county was able to provide nearly $4.8 million to 131 organizations.
• Educational institutions were awarded 48% of the total share of funds.
Most local school districts, some colleges and a handful of private schools qualified for these grants. The majority that applied received $100,000 in assistance.
• Public health providers got about 23% of the total share of funds.
Among those groups that received organizations were local hospitals, drug treatment centers and ambulance associations. Reading Hospital, Penn State St. Joseph hospital, Alvarium Healthcare and the City of Reading each received the largest grants totaling $150,000.
• Nonprofits received about 16% of the funds.
The grants were given to organizations that cover a wide range of services: They promote arts and sciences, help provide recreation opportunities, offer ministry services and assist those who are struggling with food insecurity. The Daniel Torres Hispanic Center, Hope Rescue Mission and the YMCA of Reading & Berks County received the biggest grants totaling $50,000.
• Municipalities and authorities accounted for about 13% of the grant funds. The Reading Area Water Authority and Spring Township were the recipients of the largest grants totaling $100,000.