Grants Offered by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority to Further Support Efforts of Innovative Community Incubator 1909
WEST PALM BEACH, FL (July 8, 2020) – 1909, an innovative community incubator headquartered in Downtown West Palm Beach, announces the launch of PROJECT-1909, a microgrant fund supporting local small businesses in need of services by connecting them with freelancers who can help. Known for its spirit of innovation, 1909 has been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in creative ways, as new business challenges emerged. The project is being funded through grants from the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fund of the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties (Knight Foundation). Individuals have also contributed to the important business resource.
“Businesses in our local area have seen revenues plummet and were forced to lay off thousands of employees and we’re in a unique position to help right now,” says Shana Ostrovitz, Executive Director of 1909. “Some of our small businesses can barely afford to keep the doors open, so we’re putting talented local entrepreneurs, digital creators, marketers, and project managers to work to assist these suffering local businesses.”
The DDA and the Knight Foundation, along with individual donations from the local community have accumulated over $30,000 that will directly fund community projects completed by freelancers to support local businesses
“The DDA is proud to join the Knight Foundation in supporting PROJECT-1909. We think programs like this one can be especially effective,” says Raphael Clemente, Executive Director of the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority. “PROJECT-1909 provides the kind of support our Downtown businesses need right now and gives local freelancers the opportunities to expand their network of connections, too. This is a smart and effective way to grow our local economy.”
All businesses are re-orienting their messages and in many cases their products and services to adjust to the COVID-19 context. They need services such as website improvements, digital marketing campaigns, content development, branding and design. There is no charge to the business and the service provider is paid for his/her work through the microgrant.
To apply to receive services, local businesses can by visit weare1909.org/project-1909. If the business qualifies for assistance, 1909 will pair them with a service provider who can deliver the relevant service(s).
“Being able to earn income with PROJECT-1909 by providing our digital services for a local organization feels amazing all around,” said 1909 member Josh Walker, Founder of Brighter Fire. “It’s a relief to know our business community is banding together to support one another in ways that genuinely serve needs in the current moment.”
Community members are welcome to visit WeAre1909.org to donate financially to PROJECT-1909.
1909 is a non-profit organization dedicated to the holistic growth of entrepreneurs in Palm Beach County, offering members access to a community, workspace, accelerator program, and mentorship platform. Learn more at WeAre1909.org
About the Downtown Development Authority
The West Palm Beach DDA is an independent taxing district created in 1967 by a special act of the Florida Legislature. Its mission is to promote and enhance a safe, vibrant Downtown for our residents, businesses and visitors through the strategic development of economic, social and cultural opportunities.
For more information about the DDA or Downtown West Palm Beach, please visit DowntownWPB.com or call the DDA at (561) 833-8873.