PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Gov. Dan McKee is gifting more than $4.8 million to a number of communities and organizations across the state as part of his “Take It Outside” initiative.
The initiative is a statewide effort designed to encourage and increase outdoor commercial activities while helping reduce the transmission of COVID-19. It’s part of McKee’s Rhode Island Rebounds initiative, which is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
“Rhode Island has economic momentum and as we come out of the pandemic, we can’t take our foot off the pedal,” McKee said.
The grants, which range from $10,000 to $650,000, are being given to 21 “intermediary organizations.” Those organizations will then, in turn, distribute that money to a number of the state’s small businesses.
The funding can be utilized for a number of projects, including purchasing chairs, tables, heat lamps and tents to create and enhance outdoor dining opportunities for patrons.
“Small businesses throughout the state continue to display creativity, adapting to conditions and customer preferences as we emerge from the pandemic,” Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor said. “These grants will support hundreds of small businesses as they continue to rebound.”
Qualifying businesses must make less than $1 million in annual gross revenues and be prepared to prove how the pandemic as negatively affected their bottom lines.
McKee said 20% of the funding will be reserved for minority-owned and women-owned businesses.
Communities receiving funding through the initiative include Cranston, East Providence, Pawtucket, Cumberland, North Providence, Smithfield and Warren.
Organizations benefitting from the funding include the Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, Federal Hill Commerce Association, East Greenwich Commerce Association, NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, Rhode Island Hospitality Association, Rhode Island Brewers Guild, North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce, Northern RI Chamber of Commerce, Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce, Providence Downtown Improvement District, Providence Revolving Fund, The Pawtucket Foundation, Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council, and Center for Southeast Asians.
McKee said Rhode Island is one of the top five states when it comes to economic recovery.