Every day we hear about another classic restaurant that has gone belly up because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some of these establishments have been around for decades. They are cherished by their neighborhoods and communities, and once they’re gone, they can’t be replaced.
If your favorite local dining spot is struggling to stay afloat right now, American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation are giving away free money to historic small restaurants, and you can nominate one to get a piece of the action.
Through a newly launched grant program, 25 restaurants will receive up to $40,000, along with thousands more in additional free products and services, such as digital upgrades provided by AT&T Business and Dell Technologies. The program, Backing Historic Small Restaurants, is aimed at restaurants with a historic or cultural significance that have been hurt by the ongoing effects of the pandemic. Amex says it will be looking at the following criteria:
- Have experienced significant financial hardship due to the impacts of the pandemic.
- Be a small/independently owned restaurant located in a historic building and/or historic neighborhood.
- Grant distribution will be heavily weighted toward businesses owned by people of color, women, or other underrepresented groups.
- Priority will be given to small restaurants who have not already received significant COVID-19-related aid.
If you know a restaurant that would make a good candidate—or if you own one—you can nominate it on the National Trust’s SavingPlaces.org website. The deadline for nominations is March 9, with final selections made in mid-April.
According to the National Restaurant Association, more than 110,000 restaurants permanently closed their doors between the start of the pandemic and December of last year. Of those, 16% were in business 30 years or longer.