The Clipper Strong Fund, now expended, was an initiative in 2020 to assist small businesses impacted by the pandemic.
Clipper Strong Fund Makes $1000 Donation to Gather
Clipper Strong Fund Awards $500 Mini-Grants
Clipper Strong Fund Announces First Initiatives: COVID Care Packages
CLIPPER STRONG FUND MINI-GRANT PROGRAM
The Clipper Strong Fund mini-grant program was designed to award grants of up to $500 to businesses in need of short-term relief to cover such expenses as utility bills, rent, PPE or other expenses.
FREE SMALL BUSINESS CARE PACKAGE: As Portsmouth businesses started reopening in June 2020 under the Governor’s guidelines, the Clipper Strong Fund decided to help supply them with a critical need as their first initiative. The Committee has created a Clipper Strong Care Package, available at no cost to small businesses in Portsmouth that includes items that are difficult for individuals to source at reasonable prices: a supply of facemasks, a touch-free thermometer and signage with the CDC health safety guidance.
The Clipper Strong Fund Committee distributed more than 200 Clipper Strong Care Packages to a variety of small Portsmouth businesses, from professionals’ offices to salons, from auto repair shops to healthcare advisors. Members of the Committee distributed the bags in person, canvassing each commercial area in the city, from Route 1 to the West End.
DONATIONS: The Clipper Strong Fund launched with donations from Mayor Becksted and from the Granite State Development Corporation and Eastern Bank Foundation. Piscataqua Savings Bank has also joined the effort with a $5000 donation. The Fund is still seeking donations at ClipperStrong.org 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.
Each donation of $100 or more covers another Clipper Strong Care Package for a small, vulnerable business. Additional sponsors are also welcome to support the effort . Their logos are featured on the message of support in each package. As donations grow, the committee plans to develop additional direct-aid programs.
Clipper Strong Fund Timeline
April 20: Mayor Rick Becksted suggested the creation of the Clipper Strong Fund during the City Council meeting, describing a fund designed to provide relief to the small businesses. that might otherwise “fall through the cracks” of the CARES Act Payroll Protection Plan and other economic relief programs. He also made a commitment to make the first personal donation to the fund.
May 4: Mayor Rick Becksted announced at the City Council meeting that the Clipper Strong Fund was nearly realityand announced the creation of an Advisory Committee to establish guidelines for the distribution of the donations and appointed Councilor Esther Kennedy and Councilor John Tabor as co-chairs. Additional members include: Robert Marchewka, Chairman of the City Economic Development Commission; local businessman, Mark Syracusa; and Dan Gray from Coastal Economic Development Corporation (CEDC). City Manager Karen Conard, City Economic Development Director Nancy Carmer and City Public Information Officer Stephanie Seacord are assisting the Committee in the Fund’s implementation and awareness campaign.
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, and began accepting mailed donations at the Clipper Strong Fund c/o Coastal Economic Development Corporation, 4 Merrill Industrial Drive, Suite 201, Hampton NH 03842.
May18: ClipperStrong.org donation website went live and acknowledged its first donations: $500 from Mayor Becksted and $10,000 each from the Granite State Development Corporation and Eastern Bank Foundation.
June 16: The CSF Advisory Committee met to finalize the announcement of its first initiative: distribution of an initial 250 Clipper Strong Care Packages including essential re-opening items for small businesses: masks, a touchless digital thermometer, employee/customer COVID-19 precautions signage and information about available loan and grant relief resources.
September 17: CSF launches mini-grant program to fund expenses such as COVID-19 safety modifications for employees or the public, inventory or new equipment required to reopen under the COVID-19 guidelines, rent, utilities, employee benefits or marketing materials (including printed or online media for public information).
November 9: CSF announces recipients of the $500 mini-grants.
January 18: Clipper Strong Fund closes with a $1000 donation to Gather, the largest hunger relief program on the Seacoast, whose clients include small business employees affected by the pandemic.