$75 Million in Small Business and Nonprofit Grants Begin to Arrive: Working Washington Grants – Round 5 and Convention Center Grants Provide Much Needed Relief

Olympia, WA – The holiday season will be slightly brighter for thousands of Washington small businesses and nonprofits as $75 million in pandemic relief grants start to arrive. Managed by the Washington State Department of Commerce with support from the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA), the Working Washington Grants: Round 5 and Convention Center grants were made possible by the State Legislature.

While both grant programs are still actively distributing funds to awardees, Washingtonians from every corner of the state have started to receive their grant awards. For Ben Grogan, co-founder of Sage Brewing in Pasco, Washington, these funds are the light at the end of a very long tunnel.
“COVID has been devastating to the bar and restaurant industry in general, and catastrophic to Sage Brewing as a brand new small business,” said Grogan. “Even now, almost three years after the beginning of the pandemic, our industry is struggling. Every dollar helps, and we are so thankful for the Working Washington Grants: Round 5 program for ensuring that we have the funding to continue to operate as the world slowly returns to normal.”

Approximately $45 million of the Working Washington Grants: Round 5 program is set aside for the arts, heritage and science sectors. The pandemic hit businesses and nonprofits in this sector particularly hard, as they were often the first to close and the last to reopen their doors.

“From stage actors to software developers, creative professionals draw visitors and drive innovation across the state,” said Karen Hanan, executive director of ArtsWA. “Washington’s creative sector is still reeling from the impact of COVID-19. We’re honored to work with Commerce to make this funding happen. It is our sincere hope that these businesses feel renewed confidence in doing what they do best: Enriching our communities and exciting our collective imagination.”

For Kate Peterson, Director of the Get Lit! program in Cheney, Washington, this funding will help them celebrate a 25 years of literary programming in their community.

“We build the Get Lit! Festival budget from scratch each year,” said Peterson, “and this funding not only helped us overcome struggles we faced—and continue to face—as a result of the pandemic, but it also helps us to present an exciting festival this April to celebrate our program’s 25th anniversary! We’re so thankful that this funding has helped us to reach this incredible milestone.”
For the Department of Commerce, the lead state agency charged with enhancing and promoting sustainable community and economic vitality in Washington, these positive outcomes are central to their work statewide.

“As 2022 comes to a close, it’s inspiring to see this round of Working Washington grants provide much-needed relief statewide,” said Department of Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “While the worst of the pandemic is behind us, many small businesses and nonprofits were disproportionately impacted and are still struggling to recover. Our hope is that this round of Working Washington and Convention Center grants will help stabilize our cultural community, building a vibrant Washington State in 2023 and beyond.”

Media Contact
Liz Rocca
Commerce Communications, (206) 256-6135 | Mobile/text: (360) 972-0338

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