Home News and Features Montpelier Flood Recovery Fund Officially Launched; Businesses Could Get Grants Later This...

Montpelier Flood Recovery Fund Officially Launched; Businesses Could Get Grants Later This Week

The Capitol Theater on State Street in Montpelier, flood cleanout. Photo by John Lazenby.
The Montpelier Foundation and Montpelier Alive held a press conference Monday to officially announce they have combined forces to create a recovery fund to help downtown businesses impacted by the great flood of 2023. Both organizations have links on their websites where donations can be made.

Called the “Montpelier Strong Recovery Fund,” the money that is raised will be distributed by a new joint entity. About $300,000 had already been raised by the time of the press conference, but officials of the two organizations said they hope to raise several hundred thousand more and that the need stretches into the millions. The Vermont Community Fund has contributed $50,000 to the fund, and one Montpelier resident donated $100,000.

Montpelier Alive Executive Director Katie Trautz said downtown businesses were devastated and most lost everything. “It is going to take a really long time to recover,” she said. “Many are hanging on to hope that they can open again.” One business lost $1 million in inventory, she said. The businesses need our help now to take their next steps toward recovery, according to Trautz.

Businesses without flood insurance do not qualify for the FEMA aid that is available to property owners. They can potentially qualify for SBA loans, but few businesses want to take on more debt at a time when they have no revenue. The recovery fund is seen as one of the best hopes for helping downtown businesses stay alive.

The two organizations are setting up a joint committee to create criteria for handing out the funds. That committee was set to meet Monday afternoon and hoped to start delivering funds to businesses later this week, according to Foundation chair Sarah Jarvis. All funds raised will go to the businesses, she said. The organizations are not charging anything for overhead.

In addition to making donations online or mailing in checks, donors can contribute stocks, with Montpelier Foundation the preferred organization for those donations. Jarvis noted that the stock market is up and that people donating stock can avoid paying capital gains, in addition to potentially getting a tax deduction. For details on the process, email info@montpelierfoundation.org

According to Trautz, over 2,000 volunteers have signed up with Montpelier Alive to help downtown businesses. Jen Roberts, one of the owners of Onion River Outdoors said she was “overwhelmed” and grateful for the support the store has received clearing out the store and cleaning inventory. Still, most of the store’s inventory is headed to the landfill, she said. The recovery fund will be essential to help Montpelier businesses get back on their feet, she said.

Donations can be made now at: 

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