BBCF and Hope Credit Union (HOPE) Award First Municipal COVID CARES Recoverable Grants to Communities Fighting the Pandemic

Selma, AL, October 07, 2020 --( The Black Belt Community Foundation (BBCF), Hope Credit Union (HOPE) and several partners today announce the first round of recoverable grants for a new program that gives numerous Alabama Black Belt cities across 16 counties immediate access to capital for COVID-19 response needs.

Perry County has received a recoverable grant in the amount of $21,441 from the Black Belt Community Foundation COVID-19 Access Program. The funding will be used for the installation of acrylic safety shields across many county offices, including the Board of Registrar, mapping office and vehicle tag registration, making point of contact exchanges between county officials and the public safer. In comparing the state of county readiness for a health pandemic, Perry County Commissioner Albert Turner, Jr. said, “The funding source has been a game changer for our local government. In fact, without it, Perry County would be the same after COVID as it was before it.”

The COVID-19 Access Program serves as a bridge for communities that must seek reimbursement for COVID-related expenses to access their share of a $250 million allocation provided through the federal CARES Act. Under the program, HOPE provides BBCF with a line of credit, allowing the nonprofit to make recoverable grants to cities and counties in amounts of $50,000 or less at a time for the purchase of reimbursable COVID-related items. BBCF requires confirmation from the State that the expenditures are reimbursable before the grant is made and only allows one recoverable grant to be outstanding at a time.

Municipal leaders in the Black Belt are urged to apply as soon as possible for the program since Alabama state law has set a December 30, 2020, deadline for CARES Act funding applications. More details and the application portal can be found here:

The tiny Town of Yellow Bluff has also received a recoverable grant. Mayor Joyce Williams said the $8,024 grant may not seem like a lot of money in the global war against COVID-19, but in her town it can make a world of difference. One of the town’s novel safety approaches is the purchase of laminated document pouches for paperwork shared by city officials and the public. The pouches can be sanitized as often as needed.

“When we first heard of these funds being available and what the Black Belt Community Foundation was doing to facilitate access to them, I was encouraged,” Mayor Williams said. “We’ll be doing our very best in the Town of Yellow Bluff to fully utilize these resources to make our community and day to day practices safer.”

A $24,910 recoverable grant in the Town of Boligee will provide proper PPE and electronic equipment to allow city workers to operate remotely, thereby minimizing point of contact exchanges with co-workers and the public.

In addition to BBCF and HOPE, other partners providing program resources are Alabama Power Foundation, Regions Foundation, The Educational Foundation of America, Altec/Styslinger Foundation, Medical Properties Trust, Protective Life Foundation, Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation.

About HOPE: HOPE (Hope Enterprise Corporation, Hope Credit Union and Hope Policy Institute) provides financial services; aggregates resources; and engages in advocacy to mitigate the extent to which factors such as race, gender, birthplace and wealth limit one’s ability to prosper. Since 1994, HOPE has generated more than $2.5 billion in financing that has benefitted more than 1.5 million people in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

About BBCF: For sixteen years, BBCF has worked tirelessly to help Alabama's most challenged region realize its potential. BBCF has awarded more than 5 million dollars in grants to support more than 450 community-led initiatives across BBCF’s 12-county service area in the Black Belt. BBCF was established in 2004 to support local efforts that contribute to the strength, innovation, and success of all of the region’s people and communities.
DK Harris Public Relations
Daron Harris