pexels the coach space 2977565CHICAGO – As local small businesses and not-for-profit groups take in more than half a million dollars in financial assistance in the form of Business Interruption Grants, State Senator Bill Cunningham is urging more to apply.

“This pandemic has been hard on everyone, but it’s been especially painful for small businesses and not-for-profit groups,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “These grants can help keep businesses – and their employees – afloat while we try to get the spread of COVID-19 back under control.”

Nineteen businesses and not-for-profits in the 18th Senate District received a combined $555,000 from the government assistance program. The grants varied between $5,000 and $150,000, based on need, and were used to help cover the costs of payroll, rent, utilities and other working capital.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded the grants this week as part of the second round of the BIG program. However, applications will remain open until all of the funding is spent.

“I also urge everyone in the area to keep supporting local small businesses,” Cunningham said. “Please continue shopping locally. Many bars and restaurants offer takeout or contactless delivery, and many retail businesses offer curbside pickup. You can easily support our local economy while still staying safe.”

The BIG program is the largest state-run economic support program formed in response to the financial losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are available on the DCEO website.