Pasco’s small businesses receive pandemic lifeline via federal funds

Businesses throughout Pasco—many of which are minority-owned—received grants through the American Rescue Act.
Pasco
Photo Credit: City of Pasco

PASCO, Wash. — Dozens of local business owners whose commerce was negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic became eligible for up to $30,000 in grant funding to get back on their feet. A considerable sum of this financial assistance was funneled toward the city’s Hispanic/Latino populations to reflect the diverse nature of Pasco’s makeup.

According to the City of Pasco, nearly $850,000 in federal relief funds from the American Rescue Plan were made available to local small business owners who suffered during the pandemic.

That money has been dispersed to 32 of the 78 eligible businesses across the city in need of a financial boost to stay afloat through a harsh 2020. The city’s Economic Development Manager, Mike Gonzalez, worked diligently with various local agencies to put this funding back into the community.

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“It’s been a lot of hard work by the City Council, our City staff, and the Pasco Chamber to get the money into the hands of Pasco businesses,” Gonzalez said. “The total amount we grant will be well over one million dollars. We won’t know the exact amount until all the paperwork is received and processed. We’ve given several extensions so businesses can gather up all the paperwork they need.”

These are not loans—they are grants meant to help small businesses survive these trying times. To receive up to $30,000, eligible small business owners presented 2019 and 2020 tax returns along with supporting documentation.

Being that a large sum of Pasco’s population is comprised of Hispanic and Latino individuals, community leaders made a point to ensure that funding went to a proportionate number of minority-owned businesses to accurately represent the city’s makeup.

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“The equity piece was very important to us,” Gonzalez said. “We made sure that we reached out to our Latino business owners with a very robust Spanish outreach effort.”

To this point, 82% of the grant received have been reinvested into Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish-owned businesses across Pasco. 10% went to white business owners, 6% went to Asian businesses owners, and 1% went to Pasco’s Black-owned businesses.

The next step in the process was to create an educational system that guided small business owners with best practices to make the most of this financial boost. City leaders are unsure whether another round of federal grants will be approved, so they made sure that the small business owners of Pasco were positioned for success beyond their basic financial needs.

“We’ve learned a tremendous amount about what businesses are thriving in this economic environment,” Gonzalez said. “Currently, the City of Pasco is the only City in Washington that is helping businesses with American Rescue Plan dollars.”

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