McKee Administration Announces $4.8 Million in Grants to Expand Outdoor Activities Across Rhode Island

RHODE ISLAND, April 11 – PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Dan McKee today announced approximately $4.8 million in awards that will allow eligible small businesses to expand their ability to do business outdoors. Funded by Governor McKee’s Rhode Island Rebounds initiative, the Take It Outside program will fund 21 intermediary organizations to support outdoor activities for small businesses. Examples of projects include purchasing items such as chairs, tables, heat lamps, and tents, as well as running outdoor small business opportunities.

“The Take It Outside program has been a successful program for small businesses created during the COVID-19 pandemic because it has enabled businesses to continue economic activity while promoting activity-oriented public health guidelines at home. outside to limit the spread of the virus,” Governor McKee said. “I am proud to support the Take It Outside initiative to continue to help our local businesses who have faced extraordinary challenges since the start of the pandemic, and I thank the General Assembly for approving this essential funding.”

“Rhode Islanders and small businesses have been big supporters of the Take It Outside program,” Lt. Governor Sabina Matos said. “We are proud to announce this new round of funding to continue supporting our small businesses in their efforts to adapt and grow while keeping Rhode Islanders safe.”

Senate Speaker Dominick J. Ruggerio and House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi said, “Federal stimulus funds allocated through the RI Rebounds program are one way the state has worked to partner with small businesses and support them. The “Take It Outside” program, in particular, has been a lifeline for many small businesses. From tables and chairs to heat lamps, the goods and services supported by this program continue to provide a lifeline to support small businesses as they strive to operate as safely as possible.

“Small businesses across the state continue to be creative, adapting to customer conditions and preferences — as we emerge from the pandemic,” Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor said. “These grants will support hundreds of small businesses as they continue to bounce back.”

Businesses that are ultimate beneficiaries of the program must have less than $1 million in annual gross revenue and demonstrate a negative impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. At least twenty percent of all small business funds will be earmarked for awards to help minority and women-owned businesses.

Earlier in the pandemic, the Take it Outside program successfully awarded more than 100 intermediary organizations a total of more than $6 million over two funding rounds in 2020 and 2021. This year’s program is made possible thanks to Governor McKee’s Rhode Island Rebounds initiative, which is funded by state tax relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. Earlier this year, RI Commerce unveiled the Small Business Grants Program, the Hospitality, Tourism and Events Industry Direct Grants, and the Placemaking Initiative. The General Assembly approved Governor McKee’s proposal for the Rhode Island Rebounds Down Payment, which included assistance for children and families, small businesses, and investments in affordable housing.

The project is supported, in whole or in part, by Federal Award Number SLFRFP0136 (State Fiscal Recovery Funds) awarded to the State of Rhode Island by the United States Department of Treasury.

Beneficiaries include:

Center for Southeast Asians (Providence, RI) – up to $643,500 To support businesses (members and non-members) by providing items to increase outdoor operational capabilities and reflect public health measures enacted in response to COVID-19.

Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce (Warwick, RI) – up to $250,000 To purchase goods to support outdoor activities for small businesses in the Central Rhode Island area.

Town of Cranston (Cranston, RI) – up to $250,000 To support small businesses in Cranston to attract shoppers and restaurant enthusiasts.

City of East Providence (East Providence, RI) – up to $150,000 Provide small business funding for eligible outdoor accommodations, increasing foot traffic to commercial corridors and retaining small businesses.

Town of Pawtucket (Pawtucket, RI) – up to $100,000 To support small businesses with supplies related to Take It Outside.

East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce (East Greenwich, RI) – up to $26,000 To host a series of artist markets that will directly support eligible small businesses as well as to purchase igloos for eligible small businesses.

Federal Hill Commerce Association (Providence, RI) – up to $248,500 To continue and increase the resources needed to run Al Fresco on the Hill. These items include insurance, staff and security, tables/chairs, signage, etc.

NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley (Woonsocket, RI) – up to $250,000 To purchase equipment such as folding chairs, pop-up tents, portable speakers, signage, mobile stage, and more. to distribute to small businesses and run a series of miscellaneous, free live music to include an extensive food offering, vendor fair, cultural activities, youth activities and other opportunities to engage small businesses.

North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce (North Kingstown, RI) – up to $345,600 To support small businesses by providing items to increase outdoor operational capabilities and accommodate public health measures.

Northern RI Chamber of Commerce (Lincoln, RI) – up to $247,500 To help small businesses purchase the items needed to grow dining and outdoor activities in thirteen northern Rhode Island communities.

Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce (Westerly) – up to $10,000 To support small businesses in Westerly to create an outdoor display of ‘Starry Lights’ Christmas lights.

Providence Downtown Improvement District (Providence, RI) – up to $330,000 To fund Downtown Ambassadors to support the cleanliness and safety of small businesses engaged in outdoor activities.

Providence Revolving Fund (Providence, RI) – up to $450,000 To purchase supplies to support eligible small businesses, with a specific focus on minority and women-owned businesses.

RI Brewers Guild (Wakefield, RI) – up to $208,000 To support small businesses, including Rhode Island-based taproom breweries, by providing grants to these small businesses to purchase tables, umbrellas, heaters and other PPE supplies.

Rhode Island Hospitality Association (Cranston, RI) – up to $637,677 To work with hospitality businesses across the state to help them purchase supplies to encourage and increase outdoor activities.

The Pawtucket Foundation (Pawtucket, RI) – up to $101,200 To provide Take It Outside equipment, especially for distilleries, breweries and small businesses in the arts and culture industry in Pawtucket.

City of Cumberland (Cumberland, RI) – up to $100,000 To support small businesses with supplies related to Take It Outside.

City of North Providence (No. Providence, RI) – up to $100,000 To support small businesses with supplies related to Take It Outside.

Town of Smithfield (Smithfield, RI) – up to $100,000 To support small businesses with supplies related to Take It Outside.

Town of Warren (Warren, RI) – up to $100,000 To help small businesses continue to expand outdoor dining and entertainment experiences in Warren.

Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council (Providence, RI) – up to $150,000 To create a competitive targeted grant program for eligible small businesses in cities and towns across the watershed.

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