COVID-19 Business and Community Resources
This page has been created to provide guidance and resources to face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chamber will continue to update and enhance this page as the situation evolves.
NOTE: Governor Whitmer lifted the stay at home mandate on June 1, 2020 with some restrictions for businesses still in place.
Berrien County Health Department – Daily updates and hotline (there are no confirmed cases in Berrien County at this time). Information and guidance for specific audiences: Healthcare professionals, Community events & gatherings, Travel recommendations, Faith-based organizations, Businesses & Employers, Colleges & Universities, Law Enforcement & 1st Responders, Childcare & Schools, Long-term care facilities
Buchanan Area Senior Center -- While the BASC is closed, Daily Check-In Calls are available for seniors who would like social contact that respects social distancing requirements. If you or a senior you know would like a regular check-in call, please call the BASC at 269-695-7119 to be added to the call list.
Buy Local Berrien – A Facebook campaign launched by the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber of Commerce to generate support for local businesses in Berrien County and help spread the word of openings and closures. The group is open to all businesses in Berrien County.
Cornerstone Alliance – A task force has been created to connect local businesses with resources including access to Federal, State and Local dollars to help sustain payroll and other operational needs. The Alliance has also created a working guide to assist local businesses in fully reopening in a safe, organized and efficient manner.
Rent & Mortgage Payment Program (RAMPP) -- The Berrien Community Foundation, Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council
and Cornerstone Alliance have partnered to create a zero-interest loan program for Berrien County businesses and nonprofit organizations that have a rent or mortgage payment due in April and May of 2020.
Helpful H.R. guidelines courtesy of Nulty Insurance
211-- 24/7/365 resource to connect Michigan residents with help of all kinds, like housing support and financial assistance.
State of Michigan – Executive orders, directives and FAQs, and community mitigation strategies. Comprehensive list of resources for residents, business and specific audiences.
- Download Department of Labor Workplace Poster
Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) – Small business relief programs, employer updates, and guidance on specific topics such as cash flow support, e-commerce, and human resources
State of Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency – For information on filing a claim. Self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors and low-wage workers affected by COVID-19 can also apply for unemployment benefits .
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) went into effect April 1 and continues through December 31, 2020.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) – Emergency preparedness, considerations for school closings, communication resources and print materials.
Small Business Administration (SBA) – Guidance for capital access, supply chain shortfalls, facility remediation/clean-up costs and more. SBA Disaster Relief loans are available for all Michigan businesses.
Tech Soup -- Resources for non-profit organizations.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Save Small Business Grant Fund. Funded by contributions from corporate and philanthropic partners, the Foundation will provide $5,000 supplemental grants to small employers in economically vulnerable communities, including Berrien County.
POSTPONED: Annual Dinner & Awards 2020
Buchanan Promise Overview
- MGCF has been named beneficiary of a multi-million dollar bequest to support a new scholarship program at Buchanan High School.
- Modeled after the Kalamazoo Promise concept, it will be available to graduating students who resides inside the BCS district boundary.
- Length of residency will determine the percentage amount of the award, with students who have lived in district K-12 receiving 100% of the available grant, and others on a time of residency sliding scale.
- Each student is encouraged to complete the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and apply for at least one additional community based scholarship. Many colleges require FAFSA as part of their application process.
- No merit based criteria will be used for the Promise Scholarship. All students who are headed to a post-secondary institution, whether an associate’s, baccalaureate, trade or certification program, are eligible.
- Scholarship will be a first dollar award, meaning that any Federal and community scholarship grants should NOT affect student eligibility.
Walter E. Schirmer, Sr. was President of Clark Equipment, headquartered in Buchanan, starting in 1963. He was one of the four founders of the Michigan Gateway Community Foundation in 1978, where he established two permanent endowment funds, the Walter E. Schirmer Memorial Scholarship, and the Walter E. Schirmer Fund for the Buchanan Library. He had a deep love and concern for his community, rooted in very traditional values. He was devoted to serving Buchanan and he encouraged his Clark employees to do so as well.
His legacy was not lost on his son, Walt, Jr. Wally, as he was known, established his own fund in 1994 with the Michigan Gateway Community Foundation, through which many community organizations and projects have received support. In October of 2015, he discussed his estate plan with the Foundation from which, over the last months of his life, emerged the concept for a new and exciting idea called a promise scholarship.
Promise programs seek to transform communities by making a long term investment in education through place based scholarships. They work to expand access to and ensure success in higher education, deepen the college going culture in both the K-12 system and community as a whole, and support local community economic development.
Walter E. Schirmer, Jr enthusiastically endorsed this concept for the Buchanan community, his hometown. His permanently endowed gift to Michigan Gateway Community Foundation will have a significant positive impact on future generations in Buchanan, continuing the legacy established by his father years ago.
For more information please visit the Buchanan Promise website. http://buchananpromise.com