COVID License Plate Grant Fund Recipients Report on Project Outcomes
In August 2020, the Barnstable County Economic Development Council awarded six grants through the License Plate Grant Program to address COVID-19 driven economic need in the region. The grants, awarded annually for projects that align with the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, was offered to address the severe impacts of the pandemic on Cape Cod. Local and regional governmental or non-profit agencies are eligible to apply.
The Barnstable County License Plate Grant Program, funded by proceeds from the sale of Cape Cod and Islands specialty license plates, is intended to support regional priorities for economic development and achievement of long-term economic diversity and sustainability.
The BCEDC awarded License Plate Grants to the following projects in FY21:
Sustainable Cape: Center for Agricultural Preservation and Education ($25,000): Sustainable Cape is a non-profit organization with the mission to celebrate local food while teaching about the health of our bodies, community, and environment. License plate grant funds helped to expand access to locally grown and produced foods. Sustainable Cape created two “hybrid farmer’s markets” with a centralized online ordering system, which allowed customers to shop the Truro Farmer’s Market or Provincetown Farmer’s market virtually. For the first time, families leveraging their Nutrition Incentive Programs (including SNAP, HIP, WIC, Senior Discount Coupons, and Project Gratitude for veterans) could shop through these online platforms while still receiving their Program bonus. Pre-paid and pre-packaged purchases allowed for efficient and socially-distanced farmer’s market visits, and farmers and vendors were able to provide inventory to a wider customer base during the pandemic.
Sustainable Cape also created and implemented COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Nutrition Incentive Funding for seven farmers’ markets, including providing training to market managers. Finally, the License Plate Grant Funds were leveraged in pivoting students’ gardens at two schools to production gardens, supplying over 200 pounds of food to school families throughout the pandemic.
Love Live Local ($25,000): In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Love Live Local, a non-profit organization dedicated to community advocacy and educating consumers on the importance of shopping local, created the Cape Cod Resilience Fund to support small businesses economically impacted by the pandemic. The award from the License Plate Grant Program was leveraged to issue grants to 22 local businesses, including those in retail, tourism and hospitality, restaurants, and personal care services.
Cape Cod Community College ($24,803): Cape Cod Community College to developed and offered a Community Health Worker (CHW) training program. The 20 program participants became certified CHW in Massachusetts, and were trained to conduct contact tracking monitoring, to support state- and local-level public health officials and policy makers as they plan for a safe and healthy community during the pandemic. In addition to addressing the public health needs of the COVID-19 crisis, the program also addresses the sharp rise in unemployment in Barnstable County in 2020. The program is due to be completed by the end of June 2021.
Arts Foundation of Cape Cod ($25,000): The mission of the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod (AFCC) is to support, promote, and celebrate the arts and culture of Cape Cod in order to sustain a vibrant, diverse and strong arts community. Funds from the License Plate Grant program supported AFCC’s Cape Cod Arts Relief Fund, covering over half of the funds awarded to 14 local arts and cultural organizations. The Fund supported artists who live, work, create, and/or perform on Cape Cod who had experienced or anticipated lost income due to the pandemic.
Cape Cod Young Professionals ($11,545): Cape Cod Young Professionals (CCYP) connects Cape Cod's emerging workforce and community leaders, engages them in the community, and supports their efforts to advance. License plate funds helped CCYP offer a new Laser-Focused Coaching Program during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing confidential one-on-one and group coaching services to young working-age adults with the goal of providing a system of professional and personal support during a time of need. The Program fulfills an unmet and urgent need for young professional support as they navigate the pandemic’s economic impacts, ultimately seeking to increase the likelihood of retaining young adults in Cape Cod’s local economy after the pandemic.
Lower Cape Community Development Corporation ($25,000): The Community Development Partnership (CDP) supports an array of programs that strengthen the Lower Cape community, providing greater opportunities for all who live there to thrive. The project goal was to provide comprehensive business support to Lower-Cape based small businesses. License plate funds supported three key programs: educational workshops offered to respond to the need of local small businesses; direct technical assistance; and business development financing. Direct technical assistance to businesses included a collaboration with SCORE to provide support to local businesses. The CDP also worked with fishermen to support business management practices and promote available loan programs to ensure they remain competitive in a market heavily impacted by the pandemic. Through the small business financing program, CDP staff worked one-on-one with potential borrowers to better understand financing and marketing, and to help business owners prepare for micro-loan applications offered through the organization.