Downtown Akron COVID-19 Recovery Grant

The Application Period Has Ended

Through a $100,000 grant from United Way of Summit and Medina through the Akron Summit County COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund, a COVID-19 recovery grant program has been created for downtown businesses. 

The grant is designed to support for-profit businesses located in the 42-block Special Improvement District in downtown Akron (addresses within SID boundaries currently contain only one of two zip codes: 44308 and 44311).

The grant is intended to:

  • provide gap assistance to downtown Akron's small businesses that have already or plan to return to operations during or following the COVID-19 pandemic
  • provide assistant to retail, personal service, entertainment and restaurant businesses
  • have an inclusive selection process with an emphasis on support for minority and women owned businesses

The grant is not intended to:

  • be able to meet the full need
  • sustain the business through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic


Funds are intended for:

  • Rent and utilities
  • Operating and business expenses
  • Payroll

Funds cannot be used for:

  • Capital expenses
  • Relocation expenses

As the center of our urban core, the success of downtown plays a critical role in the economic recovery of our region. Storefront businesses support the downtown ecosystem through employment, improving safety, retaining talent, adding character and vibrancy to the neighborhood, and contributing to the local economy. A study from Brookings Institute indicates that retail, personal service, entertainment and restaurant businesses are among those most greatly impacted by COVID-19. For this reason, the Downtown Akron COVID-19 Recovery Grant is intended to provide assistance to retail, personal service, entertainment and restaurant businesses that have returned or plan to return to operations during or following the pandemic. In alignment with Downtown Akron Partnership's goal of promoting and building a vibrant and valuable downtown for all people, the selection process will include an emphasis on support for minority and women owned businesses.

The funding is intended for operating and business expenses such as rent, utilities, payroll, inventory, etc. It cannot be used to cover capital expenses or costs associated with expansion or relocation. The estimated maximum grant is $5,000 per business.

We support all small businesses downtown and understand that the resources of this grant are insufficient to fulfill the need of any one business or the district as a whole. Please be aware that you may be required to provide documentation, including actual dollar amounts, with your application detailing how you plan to use the funds. Some of the information requested in the application will be used to track the impacts of this effort and may be used in the decision-making process. Should you be awarded a grant, you will be asked to provide documentation demonstrating how the grant was spent and the impact of the funds on your operation.

Click here for the list of awardees.


Recent information on the effects of COVID and small business

NY Fed Brief – COVID Impact on Health & Wealth of Black Communities (August 2020)

Atlanta Fed Report – Small Businesses & COVID (June 2020)

FedSmallBusiness Brief – COVID Outlook (April 2020)

Minneapolis Fed website – updated regularly

Application will be available starting Tuesday, August 11, 2020 and close on Monday, August 24, 2020 at 5 p.m. EDT.





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Contact us: Laura Engle | Kimberly Beckett