Mayor Melvin Carter Announces Expansion of Saint Paul Bridge Fund Proposal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 31, 2020

Contact:
Peter Leggett
peter.leggett@ci.stpaul.mn.us
651-307-8603

SAINT PAUL, MN - Today, Mayor Melvin Carter announced the expansion of the Saint Paul Bridge Fund Proposal through philanthropic and corporate support that brings the proposed fund to $3.85 million for families and small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Philanthropic and corporate supporters include John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Ecolab Foundation, Securian Foundation, Minnesota United FC, Minnesota Wild, the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, and Xcel Energy. 

 “I deeply appreciate these partners who have jumped forward to provide emergency aid to families and local businesses,” said Mayor Carter. “Their generosity demonstrates the spirit of unity we’ll need to survive and rebuild from this crisis together.”

“Given Knight Foundation’s rich history of investing in Saint Paul’s success, it is important for us to participate in this unified effort to help the community during these uncertain times,” said Jai Winston, Knight’s St. Paul program director. “Now more than ever, it’s imperative for all of us to join forces with the Saint Paul Bridge Fund to help support our most vulnerable neighbors and small businesses that are impacted by COVID-19. They understand the needs of the community, and that is why we have invested in their important work as our immediate response to the crisis.”

“Ecolab is committed to supporting our Saint Paul community during this difficult time,”  said Ecolab Chairman and CEO Doug Baker.  “We’re proud to work with Mayor Carter and the Saint Paul Bridge Fund to provide emergency relief for those families and small businesses in our community who need it most.”

“We have been part of downtown Saint Paul for 140 years and believe that helping support local families and small business is especially important in this time of need,” said Securian Financial CEO, Chris Hilger. “We’re all in this together.”

“The Wild is very pleased to support Mayor Carter’s “Bridge Fund” initiative to assist those Saint Paul residents who need support in this time of uncertainty,” said Craig Leipold of the Minnesota Wild. 

“For 80 years Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation has invested in the economic stability and health of the East Metro. As our community faces the ramifications of the coronavirus, the Saint Paul Bridge Fund lives up to its name.  It provides important support to small businesses and families who need it most as they navigate the challenges of this pandemic. I believe that if we work together, leveraging the creativity of our philanthropic, civic, and private sectors, we will emerge on the other side of this crisis as a stronger city and state. This is a clear example of private-public partnerships that underscore the Foundation’s core work to create an equitable, just and vibrant Minnesota where all communities and people thrive.  I thank the mayor and our council for their leadership,said Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation President Eric Jolly. 

“The Saint Paul Bridge Fund is a vital link for small businesses to access resources amid this pandemic,” said B Kyle, President and CEO of the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. ”I commend Mayor Carter for leading the charge to support those in our community who need it most in these uncertain economic times.” 

“I applaud Saint Paul’s leaders for working to help small businesses maintain their workforce until we get through this health crisis. It is imperative that all levels of government work to keep people employed.  We learned in the last crisis just how devastating job losses are and how long recovery can take,” said Neel Kashkari, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.  

ABOUT THE SAINT PAUL BRIDGE FUND
The City of Saint Paul continues to work in close partnership with public health officials to respond to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The Mayor declared a State of Local Emergency on March 15 to ensure the City can mobilize the necessary resources to protect public health and safety. In response to the economic impact to families and small businesses, the Saint Paul Bridge Fund provides emergency relief to those in the community who need it most. 

Since its presentation to the City Council on March 25 by Mayor Carter, two changes have been made to the Saint Paul Bridge Fund for Families program proposal. Following community feedback about eligibility for students enrolled in charter and private schools, all families with at least one child under 18 will be eligible to apply to the Saint Paul Bridge Fund for Families. 

Additionally, following the passage of a Federal aid package that provides grants of $1,200 per adult for people earning up to $75,000, along with expanded unemployment insurance payments and eligibility, the Bridge Fund for Families will offer $1,000 grants, instead of $2,000 originally presented, to better complement this federal aid, and to double the number of families served.

SAINT PAUL BRIDGE FUND FOR FAMILIES GUIDELINES
The Saint Paul Bridge Fund includes a $1 million investment to provide families $1,000 of direct assistance for rent or mortgage payments.​​ Eligible families will:

  • Have income at or below 40% Area Median Income, which is $40,000 for a family of four
  • Have at least one minor child living in the household
  • Have experienced a loss of income due to COVID-19.

SAINT PAUL BRIDGE FUND FOR SMALL BUSINESSES GUIDELINES
The Saint Paul Bridge Fund includes a $2.25 million investment to provide $7,500 grants for immediate business expenses, including but not limited to:

  • Rent/mortgage payments
  • Employee health benefits
  • Leave payments and payroll
  • Accounts payables, including payments due to suppliers

Eligible small businesses will have 20 or fewer employees, gross revenue of $2 million or less, been in operation for the last six months in Saint Paul, and had to close or had a significant reduction in revenues due to a Minnesota Emergency Executive Order in 2020. 

PHILANTHROPIC AND CORPORATE SUPPORTERS
The Saint Paul Bridge Fund is supported by proposed Saint Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority funds totaling $3.25 million. With the addition of support from the following philanthropic and economic partners, the fund stands to provide $3.85 million to families and small businesses in Saint Paul:

  • John S. and James L. Knight Foundation - $400,000
  • Ecolab Foundation - $50,000
  • Securian Foundation - $50,000
  • Minnesota United FC - $25,000
  • Minnesota Wild - $25,000
  • Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation - $25,000
  • Xcel Energy - $25,000

Passage of the proposal is expected by the Saint Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority Board at a special meeting on Wednesday, April 1. The City expects to begin accepting Saint Paul Bridge Fund applications in the coming weeks. Learn more about the Saint Paul Bridge Fund at https://www.stpaul.gov/saint-paul-bridge-fund

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