The final round of the Ogden CARES program has reached its conclusion, funding over 250 businesses and nonprofits and distributing over $11 million in grants.
The first round of the Ogden CARES grant program ran from July 1 through August 16 (2020); you can read more about the first round here. To recap, in this first round, focus was on organizations with a shortfall—organizations operating in the red due to COVID-related effects. This focus was meant to provide aid to Ogden businesses needing it most.
The following month, on Sept. 16, the second round of Ogden CARES broadened the focus to include not only those who (A) had or were currently experiencing a shortfall but those who (B) had been forced to close their doors in response to a public health order and (C) had been able to remain open but still needed additional economic support. This second round closed just over two weeks later, on Oct. 4.
The third round, designated the Ogden CARES Non-profits Program (OCNP), accepted applications between Nov. 17 and Nov. 24. OCNP targeted Weber County essential service providers in need of additional financial assistance.
Between the first and second rounds of Ogden CARES, Sara Stoffers, the manager of Ogden City’s Business Information Center, took the reins on the city’s grant program; several improvements were then made to the application process. Due to urgency to deploy CRF to the community, Ogden City initially launched Ogden CARES with a paper application in an open application period. This allowed potential grantees to immediately apply, while allowing Ogden City the opportunity to develop an online application to further expedite access to the program.
Additionally, a wide community outreach initiative was being performed. Ogden City not only implemented a mail, email, and phone campaign but worked with Weber County and The Dicio Group to set up a tele-town hall with Mayor Mike Caldwell, Commissioner Scott Jenkins, Director Tom Christopulos (Community and Economic Development), and Sara Stoffers.
“All Ogden City businesses and nonprofits registered within the City or County were simultaneously called by Mayor Caldwell and invited to join the virtual tele-town hall to discuss Ogden CARES,” Stoffers said. “The Dicio Group reported over 2800 calls. 462 callers participated for an average of 16 minutes. If no one answered, the Mayor left potential applicants a message about Ogden CARES with a call back number to our team. It was a fantastic success.”
This massive marketing outreach, combined with the changes made to the CARES application and the partnership with Weber County, led to more grants in the second round.
“Weber County recruited the City to expand Ogden CARES to nonprofits located in Weber County but outside of Ogden in the second round and augmented the Ogden CARES budget by $7.3 million, with $3.5 million allocated specifically for nonprofits,” Stoffers said. “The City and County shared lessons learned from our first rounds of Ogden CARES and Weber CARES to align our independent programs and marketing efforts to reach the maximum possible number of businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19 in Weber County to encourage them to apply in future rounds.”
Weber County distributed its CRF equitably to all Weber County cities. Smaller cities, with less businesses per capita, aggregated their own CRF to participate with Weber County in the Weber CARES Grant program. Ogden City administered CRF independently, due to the City’s existing infrastructure and need to reach its denser business base, with significant funding support from Weber County’s CRF. Ultimately, the partnership between Ogden City and Weber County made certain every eligible Ogden CARES grant application was funded.
The businesses funded by Ogden CARES operate over a diverse range of industries and services. COVID-19 caused hardship on many local businesses and nonprofit organizations. To showcase these grantees, we will be featuring four businesses in upcoming pieces in the Business Development Newsroom: two nonprofits and two for-profit businesses. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates, and check back in the coming weeks at ogdenbusiness.com to learn more!