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Hampton Roads Community News

Community Partners Start Relief Fund For Williamsburg Area Small Businesses


The Greater Williamsburg Partnership (GWP) and the Williamsburg Community Foundation recently launched an innovative partnership to help small businesses.

In partnership with the Economic Development Authorities of City of Williamsburg, James City County and York County, the groups are funding the Greater Williamsburg Small Business Relief Fund to provide forgivable loans to businesses located in the Greater Williamsburg region. Donations to the Fund will be collected by the Williamsburg Community Foundation (WCF). WCF will partner with the Virginia 30 Day Fund, to support businesses across the Commonwealth of Virginia, to administer the fund including processing applications and issuing payments.

The Greater Williamsburg Small Business Relief Fund was established with $10,000 in seed money from the Economic Development Authorities of the City of Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Already, others are stepping up to grow the fund. Chesapeake Bank has committed $10,000, while two Williamsburg Community Foundation trustees have also committed to help.

“Chesapeake Bank is grateful for the opportunity to be a community partner in the establishment of this small business emergency fund,” said Senior VP Leigh Houghland. “These are unprecedented times and many of greater Williamsburg’s small businesses are fighting for their life. By coming together as a community we will all be stronger.”

City Council member Barb Ramsey has offered to match up to $6,000 in donations to the fund. Ramsey along with the other founding donors are challenging many others in the community to contribute to this endeavor.

“Small businesses have changed the landscape of our region,” said Ramsey. “As a retired businesswoman who had a successful career in sales and marketing, I recognize the drive, dedication and funds needed to sustain a business. I would like to challenge other business leaders, particularly those who have retired to Williamsburg, to share of their resources to help local businesses thrive again.”

“Small businesses all over the Commonwealth are hurting right now through no fault of their own, so we are excited to partner with Virginia’s founding region to support small businesses and save jobs in Greater Williamsburg,” said Pete Snyder, who co-founded the Virginia 30 Day Fund with his wife, Burson. Snyder is an alumnus of William & Mary, where he also served on the Board of Visitors. “It should be no surprise that the very community responsible for the birth of our great nation is leading yet again. This time when our communities and Commonwealth are reeling from this deadly pandemic.”

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In the three weeks since its launch, the Virginia 30 Day Fund has raised more than $800,000 and provided direct financial assistance to over 135 struggling small businesses throughout the Commonwealth.

Small businesses can apply for a $3,000 forgivable loan online at Qualifying businesses must be based in Greater Williamsburg (City of Williamsburg, James City County or York County), have operated for at least a year, employ three to 30 people and be owned and operated by a Virginia resident. Businesses are encouraged to repay the loan by depositing funding back into the fund when they are able to “pay it forward.”

Businesses or individuals may donate to the Greater Williamsburg Small Business Relief Fund by contacting WCF at 757-259-1660 or

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