May 18, 2020

Portsmouth is a unique historic, and progressive seacoast city with a strong sense of community supported by residents, businesses and visitors. Much of the City’s character is defined by the small businesses that comprise over 91% of the local economy.  Those were the people Mayor Rick Becksted had in mind and most wanted to help when he came up with the idea of the Clipper Strong Fund.

The City partnered with the Coastal Economic Development Corporation (CEDC), a 501(c)3 regional economic development corporation to allow donor contributions to the Clipper Strong Fund to be tax deductible charitable contributions. CEDC set up an account at Eastern Bank, working with the Eastern Bank Foundation, to collect the Clipper Strong Fund donations online. The website for accepting those donations is now live.

The Clipper Strong Fund has also accepted its first donations: $500 from Mayor Becksted and $10,000 each from the Granite State Development Corporation and Eastern Bank Foundation.

Donations in the form of a check may also be mailed to the Clipper Strong Fund c/o Coastal Economic Development Corporation, 4 Merrill Industrial Drive, Suite 201, Hampton NH 03842.

The Mayor has organized an Advisory Committee to establish guidelines for the distribution of the donations. He has appointed Councilor Esther Kennedy and Councilor John Tabor to the Advisory Committee as well as other business representatives. The guidelines are intended to identify and assist Portsmouth’s smallest businesses who need relief from the Fund to cope with the negative impacts of COVID-19. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened the survival of many of Portsmouth's small businesses and the vitality of this great City,” said Mayor Rick Becksted. “In announcing that The Clipper Strong Fund website is now live, I am happy to also give local residents who have asked me how they can help the businesses that are their neighbors a means to do so. Your donations to the Clipper Strong Fund, 100 percent of which will remain in the city, will provide relief to Portsmouth’s small business and help preserve the character and quality of life in our ‘City of the Open Door.’”

City Manager Karen Conard added, “I join the Mayor in his effort to help preserve Portsmouth's character and vitality by supporting local small businesses and their employees as we weather this pandemic together. Your ‘Clipper Strong’ donations to the Clipper Strong Fund will help Portsmouth businesses thrive.”

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