The Small Business Relief Fund created by the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama and the Community Foundation of West Alabama distributed another $40,000 to struggling area entrepreneurs Friday, bringing total disbursements to $100,000 benefiting 36 local businesses.

A Chamber spokeswoman said a third round of awards is scheduled for next week as area leaders work quickly to help business owners devastated by the COVID-19 coronavirus and resultant shutdowns stay afloat.

“We are thrilled to be able to award another significant amount of money to give a lifeline to small businesses in West Alabama," said Bobby Bragg, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Chamber. "Our goal is bridge the gap for these vulnerable businesses to the larger programs that have come from the federal government.”

Jim Page, President and CEO of the Chamber, stressed the need for generosity in this challenging time, as the Small Business Fund is made possible by donations from area philanthropists and businesses.

“The Small Business Relief Fund is designed to provide immediate help for our local businesses,” Page said. “To continue to provide this much needed funding, support from all corners of the community is critical.”

One donor, Keith Andrews of IKAROS, LLC, said he gave to the fund because small, local businesses truly define a community.

“These businesses have a huge positive impact on our daily lives, and they’re operated by our friends and neighbors,” Andrews said. “That’s the reason I wanted to participate. If we didn’t have small businesses, what kind of community would we have?”

Additional funding is needed, Page said, and donations can be made via the Chamber’s and the Foundation’s website.

To donate to the Small Business Relief Fund or apply, visit https://tuscaloosachamber.com/small-business-financial-assistance/.

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