$3.3M in Grant Awards from $11M Ingham County Sunrise Grant Program Released, More Awards on the Way

268 Grants Distributed to Retail, Goods and Services, and Tourism and Hospitality Small Businesses from Across Ingham County

Today, the Ingham County Board of Commissioners and the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) announced the first grant recipients of the $11M Ingham County Sunrise Small Business Grants Program. Two hundred and sixty-eight small businesses from across Ingham County, which applied for grants in the program’s Retail, Goods and Services and Hospitality and Tourism categories, received grants ranging from $10,000-$25,000 based on total employment for a total of $3,290,000 in grant awards distributed to date. Additional grants in other categories will be awarded in the coming months, including grants for sole proprietors, nonprofits, new businesses started during the pandemic, restaurants/eateries/taverns, childcare providers and business incubators.

“The Ingham County Board of Commissioners allocated these funds to support small businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, knowing every bit of support is critical to the recovery and sustainability of our businesses and the communities they support,” said Ingham County Board of Commissioners Chair Bryan Crenshaw. “LEAP did a spectacular job designing and delivering the program on our behalf to quickly get funds out the door to businesses that are trying to ramp back up. Congratulations to the businesses awarded today. We look forward to additional announcements in the coming months.”

Ingham County created the Ingham County Sunrise Small Business Grant Program in April 2021 using $11 million from the county’s first tranche of Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds as authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The program includes working capital grants targeted to address ARPA and previous pandemic relief funding gaps, historic economic harm to socially disadvantaged populations and the business types, industries and areas of greatest need in Ingham County related to the COVID-19 crisis while also positioning the region’s largest county for sustainable long-term recovery. The county selected LEAP to administer the program on its behalf.

“Ingham County’s Sunrise grant program is the most profound small-business relief program our region has seen to date and the county is proud to be leading the pack across the state to deliver ARPA funds in this way,” said Commissioner Emily Stivers. “LEAP has been thoroughly invested in supporting small businesses over the past year and a half, successfully administering numerous COVID-19 small-business grant programs, which is why the county selected them to deliver this program.”

The application and review process for the Ingham County Sunrise Small Business Grant Program was intentionally and collaboratively designed to address inequities of the economic impact of COVID-19 and subsequent inaccess to initial relief efforts for underrepresented communities, including Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), women, veterans, people with disabilities and people who are LGBTQ+.

LEAP designed a multistage and multi-entity review process, including thorough conflict of interest removal, to minimize bias and equitably distribute funds across Ingham County. The review process included over 15 individual reviewers, including Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DEI) partner organizations, the Capital Region Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce (LRCC), Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau (GLCVB) and stakeholders from diverse organizations and larger businesses in the community. Each application was reviewed independently by at least two, and in the large majority of cases, three individual reviewers.

“While it continues to be a heartbreaking reality that there are not enough funds to reach all those in need, this program is providing funds to far more businesses than any other program LEAP has administered. A program of this magnitude could not be delivered without the crucial partnership of county leaders and the many local economic development and diversity, equity and inclusion partners and organizations involved,” said Bob Trezise, president & CEO of LEAP. “LEAP has worked steadfastly to ensure these funds arrive as promised and we are thankful to the county, our partners and the many Ingham County business owners who placed their trust in us to help them during these challenging times.”

Geographic and demographic detail of applications received and awarded in the Retail, Goods and Services and Tourism and Hospitality categories and all program documentation, including the application review process and scoring criteria, is available on the Ingham County Sunrise Grants Program webpage.