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Downtown businesses come together for Fighting Chance Fund

Margie Manning

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A coalition of smaller downtown St. Petersburg businesses has raised $75,000 for the Fighting Chance Fund, the COVID-19 relief fund established by the city to help local companies experiencing hardships.

Kyle Taylor, CEO of The Penny Hoarder and Taylor Media Inc., led the effort. In addition to his company, other donors are the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, Presence, CallYo, Caseglide, Bluewater Media and Powerchord.

“I am so pleased and gratified to be working with community-minded partners across our business community to provide local support to fellow entrepreneurs and owners struggling with the challenges brought on by this pandemic,” Taylor said. “We hope that our intent and actions inspire others to contribute and keep the St.Petersburg business community strong and in touch with the needs of our residents.”

The fund provides $5,000 in grants, not loans, to eligible businesses, as well as $500 to eligible city residents.

“Small businesses are the beating heart of our urban center and give St. Petersburg its unique sense of place,” said Jason Mathis, CEO of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership and a member of Mayor Rick Kriseman’s Restart St. Pete Initiative. “We proudly stand with other business leaders to put our money where our mouth is, and support the Fighting Chance Fund to help preserve the soul of our city.”

The city established the program with $6.8 million, using funding the federal government provided for Hurricane Irma reimbursements. Since then, several private donors have stepped forward. In a statement, Kriseman said he appreciated the most recent donation.

“Kyle has become not just one of our great business leaders, but an outstanding community leader who has helped to nurture St. Pete’s entrepreneurial spirit and mobilize others to do good. I am grateful for this contribution and for all who made it happen. Our small business community will certainly appreciate it,” Kriseman said.

The Fighting Chance Fund recently closed out the first round of its applications, distributing $2.1 million. The second round launched April 30 with expanded eligibility and additional industry sectors. Click here for eligibility criteria. Click here to donate.

Related: Here are the businesses that received funding from Fighting Chance – and some that were denied

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