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Local small businesses and community groups are facing surging rent and labor costs, supply chain delays, and inflation. Step up to the plate, the West Side Community Fund (WSCF), a consortium of Midtown West corporations offering a new round of grants of up to $10,000 for neighborhood organizations. 

Neighborhood Kids, Late 1970s — one of the artists that Daniel Cooney represents at his gallery. Photo: Jill Freedman via Daniel Cooney Fine Art

Funded in part with seed contributions from Google and real estate firms Jamestown and Related, the WSCF gave over half a million dollars to West Side businesses from 2018 to 2020. The consortium is now partnering with Chelsea-based community center Hudson Guild to award grants to organizations across the Community Board 4 district. Originally focused primarily on businesses below W38th Street, the grants are now available for eligible businesses from W59th Street to W14th Street on the west side of 8th Avenue from W59th to W26th, and the west side of 6th Avenue from W26th to W14th. 

The newest round of grant is open to neighborhood organizations, block and tenants’ associations, non-profits, city agencies, schools, health clinics, NYCHA projects, police-community programs, religious institutions, homeless facilities, and individual instructors (such as teachers). Previous winners include family-owned Garber Hardware and Enoch’s Bike Shop in Hell’s Kitchen, which were each awarded $10,000 in 2020, along with West Side businesses Daniel Cooney Fine Art (whose owner lives in HK), Silom Thai, Gooroo Tutoring, Van West Media Group, Alfredo Ray Salon and Chelsea Community News.

“The thing I think is unique about this fund and this grant is, you don’t have to be a 501c3 nonprofit organization in order to apply,” said Marlyse Rush, Program Development Officer for the West Side Community Fund at Hudson Guild in a statement to Chelsea Community News. “So that means a block association or a tenants’ association can apply. A group of teachers is able to apply, and so is somebody who has an idea for a community improvement project.”

Enoch Bikes on 10th Avenue was awarded a grant in the last round of funding. Photo: Enoch Bikes Instagram

If you’re interested in applying for the first round of grants, set to distribute $100,000 among local businesses, the requirements are as follows:

  • Organizations must apply by June 17
  • The organization must be located within the confines of Manhattan Community Board 4
  • The organization’s budget must be under $15 million
  • Grants cannot support religious or partisan activities, nor programs that promote any form of discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin or disability

Good luck and go get that funding! 

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