BIG SKY, Montana (May 1, 2020)— Federal economic relief programs like the EIDL and PPPL intended to help small businesses survive in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic have instead actually left many behind. In response, the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce as the Voice of business, and Visit Big Sky, the official destination marketing and management organization for Big Sky, in partnership with the Big Sky Resort Area District (BSRAD) are launching the Big Sky Save Small Business Relief Fund to provide a lifeline to many failing small businesses. The two organizations, with the BSRAD’s approval, have reallocated $210,000 from their FY20 allocations to provide for micro grants of $2,500 for businesses with 1-5 employees and $5,000 to businesses with 6-20 employees, physically located within the BSRAD boundary, or operating as a tax collecting business within the boundary. Applications will be accepted beginning Friday, May 1st at 9 am.
“83% of Big Sky Chamber member businesses are sole proprietors and small businesses,” said Scott Johnson, Chair of the Big Sky Chamber Board of Directors. “We are committed to ensuring that they remain in business and are able to continue to operate through the phased re-opening of Montana.”
“We are fortunate to be able to extend the Big Sky Resort Area District’s emergency relief efforts to help support our community’s struggling small businesses, said Buz Davis, Resort Tax Board Member.
Applications are available at www.bigskychamber.com/savesmallbusinessfund or www.visitbigsky.com/about-us/covid-19-resources and will be accepted beginning Friday, May 1st at 9 am through 5 pm Wednesday, May 6th. Grant awards will be announced on Thursday, May 7th at 1:30 pm. Eligibility is extended to all for-profit businesses including sole proprietors up to 20 employees that are registered with the BSRAD and operating within its district boundary that can show a demonstrated hardship as a result of COVID-19. In anticipation of the need exceeding the amount of funds available, businesses to receive grants will be selected by lottery. The Application takes approximately 10 minutes and requires a W-9. Submit all materials to email@example.com for consideration. Funds awarded may be used to pay any legitimate business expense. A 1099 will be issued at year end 2020 so businesses are encouraged to consult their tax advisor regarding the receipt of these funds.
The Big Sky Save Small Business Fund is modeled after the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Save Small Business Fund launched on Monday, April 20th. Unfortunately, Big Sky businesses with a 59716-zip code were ineligible to apply.
“Big Sky’s visitor economy is the lifeblood of the Big Sky community, and what affords our residents the quality of life they have here,” said Candace Carr Strauss, CEO Big Sky Chamber and Visit Big Sky. “Travel has come to a screeching halt, but resiliency is part of our destination’s DNA. Big Sky has proven time and time again that it can rise up to meet what appear to be insurmountable challenges, and we will do it again.”
Any business owner in need of additional information or assistance in applying should contact Candace Carr Strauss, CEO at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (406) 640-1331.
With Governor Steve Bullock’s announcement on April 22nd lifting the Stay at Home directive as of Sunday, April 26th, the Big Sky Chamber and Visit Big Sky have returned to work at their business offices to continue to serve member businesses, their employees and the community at-large. Standard hours of operation are Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm. The Big Sky & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Information Center however will remain closed while the Governor mandated 14-day Self Quarantine for visitors traveling in from out of state remains in effect.
About the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce
The Big Sky Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit, membership organization representing 450+ member businesses and their thousands of employees from throughout Gallatin and Madison Counties, Montana and the U.S. Serving as the VOICE of Big Sky business, the Big Sky Chamber CHAMPIONS a healthy economy and works collaboratively with community stakeholders as a CONVENER and a CATALYST to improve the overall quality of life in the region. Elevate Big Sky 2023, the Big Sky Chamber’s Strategic Plan, highlights its focus on advocating for its members and working to create a positive business climate in the greater Gallatin Valley, encouraging community infrastructure investment and facilitating local governance for the Big Sky community. For more information, visit www.bigskychamber.com.
About Visit Big Sky
Visit Big Sky, established in 2013, is a 501 (c)(6) nonprofit, membership organization. As the official destination marketing and management organization (DMMO) representing tourism stakeholders within the Big Sky Resort Area District (BSRAD), and twenty miles north and south of the U.S. Highway 191 and MT Highway 64 intersection, Visit Big Sky’s mission is to lead the development and promotion of authentic tourism experiences through research and stakeholder collaboration to grow Big Sky’s economy while balancing the need to sustain quality of life for its residents. Funding comes from fiscal sponsorship of the Big Sky Convention & Visitor Bureau (CVB) which receives the BSRAD-designated 4% Montana Lodging Facility Use Tax (“bed tax”), annual allocations from the Big Sky Resort Tax District which levies a 3% luxury tax locally, and private support from businesses throughout the greater Gallatin Valley. To learn more, go to www.visitbigsky.com.
About the Big Sky Resort Tax
The Big Sky Resort Tax is a 3% tax passed in 1992. Since its inception, the money raised has played a significant role in the funding of community services and programs including infrastructure facilities, post office services, ambulance and emergency services, public transportation systems, parks and trails, community library, tourism development, public health, safety, and welfare services within the Big Sky Resort Area District. For more information, visit www.resorttax.org.