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Fighting Chance Fund Round 2 begins; City Council expresses frustration with communication

Megan Holmes



City of St. Pete Flickr

St. Petersburg City Development Administrator Alan DeLisle provided an update on the city’s Fighting Chance Fund Thursday before City Council’s Committee of the Whole.

The Fighting Chance Fund was developed by the city to respond to the economic impacts of Covid-19 mitigation efforts on small businesses, and workers who have been laid off or had their hours reduced due to virus precautions. Businesses apply for a $5,000 grant, while eligible individuals apply for a $500 grant.

According to DeLisle, over the past three weeks, the city has received 1,200 business applications for Fighting Chance, and 2,067 individual applications. Of the 1,200 business applications, 1,178 have been processed or are currently processing, 647 are complete and only 230 have been approved. Of the 2,067 individual applications, 1,909 have been reviewed and processed and 653 have been approved.

To date, nearly $1.1 million in business assistance and $325,000 in individual assistance has been allocated or distributed.

Thursday marks the first day of applications for Round 2 of the Fighting Chance Fund, which has expanded eligibility criteria from one full year of operations to six months, and made St. Petersburg-based businesses with owners who live outside of the city limits eligible. The second round also added two industry sectors, travel agencies and tour operators, and clarified that individual businesses operating in another business’ space, whether a co-working or leasing space directly from another business owner, can apply to the program.

According to Jessica Eilerman, Manager of the St. Petersburg Greenhouse, businesses that applied to Round 1 of the Fighting Chance Fund and were denied must re-apply to the program. If there is already an application in the queue that hasn’t been processed, no action is needed at this time.

The Greenhouse has received 40 applications since the portal opened early Thursday morning.

Eilerman said that one major change in Round 2 will be increased communication with business owners and individuals as their applications go through the process. The new platform that the city uses allows applicants to follow their application through the review process, and message back and forth with staff in real time.

Council members Amy Foster and Gina Driscoll expressed frustration at not receiving more clarity as to which businesses were being helped by the fund. Council member Brandi Gabbard joined Driscoll and Foster in requesting updated application and approval numbers, and Driscoll asked for lists of approved and denied applicants.

DeLisle said that the economic development staff wanted to complete Round 1 of the Fighting Chance applications prior to providing City Council with a written update, so that council members could see a full assessment of the round.

“Our constituents are asking where their money is, but they’re also asking where the money is going and I need to be asking that question too because I do have that responsibility as a city council member, to know exactly where millions and millions of dollars are going,” Driscoll said. “It’s very important that this kind of activity be done in the sunshine.”

Businesses and individuals can apply to the Fighting Chance Fund here. 


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  1. Chuck Egerter

    Chuck Egerter

    April 30, 2020at3:38 pm

    Do we have any idea how many businesses and individuals have DONATED to the fund, and how much $ that represents. I think we can do more to ask those of us who have been largely unaffected to help support those who have been. We have donated, but I have no idea if its helping, and to what extent. Is there enough money? how much more is needed?

    • Megan Holmes

      Megan Holmes

      May 1, 2020at1:59 pm

      Hi Chuck,

      At the Council meeting, Alan DeLisle reported around $500,000 in corporate donations. But only $1.5M of the original $7M allocation has been spent.

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