May 3, 2021: First Wave of Relief Checks for Struggling Food and Beverage Service Industry

Relief fund nears $4 million donations and pledges

May 3, 2021
Redwood City – Some of the businesses hit hardest by the pandemic – small restaurants, breweries and wineries – are now receiving $10,000 grants thanks to a coordinated effort to keep local residents employed and the economy vibrant in San Mateo County.

The $10,000 grants are being awarded through the Restaurant, Brewery and Winery Relief Program, an ambitious effort from the San Mateo County Strong Fund. The Fund was established weeks after the first “shelter-in-place” order in March 2020 and has since raised relief funding for local small business owners, child care providers, nonprofit organizations and others impacted by COVID-19.

The Restaurant, Brewery and Winery Relief Program was initially developed in December 2020 as a result of a $1 million pledge from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to assist small, independently owned restaurants in southern San Mateo County and Palo Alto.

This private effort quickly led to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, the San Mateo Credit Union Community Fund and Silicon Valley Community Foundation adding an additional $1,384,000 in funding in January 2021 to expand the program across all of San Mateo County.

“This grant program is another example of how the County and the 20 cities and towns within San Mateo County prioritize collaboration and working together – especially over the past 13+ months on saving as many small businesses as possible from the devastating economic impacts of the pandemic,” said Board of Supervisors President David Canepa. 

“Every restaurant, brewery, and winery that survives the pandemic is a testament to the perseverance and pivoting skills of the owners and employees, which are often women, people of color, families and immigrants,” he said.

Since closing the application portal in March 2021 with over 600 likely eligible pre-applications, the San Mateo County Economic Development Association (SAMCEDA) has worked with individual cities, towns, and other potential donors to approve additional funding needed to ensure as many eligible applicants as possible across San Mateo County receive $10,000 grants.

Relief funds from cities go directly to establishments within those cities while a share of funding from the Board of Supervisors is targeted for establishments within the unincorporated areas of the county.

Even with the recent fundraising success approaching $4,000,000, only 400 of the over 600 likely eligible applications can be awarded $10,000 grants.

A recent thank you note from a restaurant owner in North Fair Oaks, which is home to many Latinx residents and restaurant owners, read, "Muy agradecido, esto nos va a ayudar muchísimo después de un año muy difícil por la pandemia. Todo funcionó excelentemente bien, muchas gracias por esta ayuda." his translates to, "Very thankful, this will help us tremendously after such a difficult year due to the pandemic. Everything worked excellently well, thank you for all this help." 

Targeted Funding for Relief Efforts
Since the pandemic began, the Board of Supervisors has provided funds to numerous efforts that provide emergency relief for individuals, families, small businesses, child care providers and others who have been hit financially, including the following highlights:

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