Arkansas State University (A-State) has partnered with the Arkansas 30 Day Fund to provide resources and volunteers for the small business forgivable loan program.
Launched by former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her husband Bryan Sanders, the Arkansas 30 Day Fund is a forgivable loan program designed to provide assistance to Arkansas small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Capped at $3,000, the funding is meant to be used for meeting payroll, saving jobs, paying insurance, and keeping businesses’ doors open.
A-State will be recruiting and supplying student volunteers to help process the applications received as part of the Arkansas 30 Day Fund. The university will be coordinating these efforts through it Delta Center for Economic Development.
“Arkansas State University is honored to partner with the AR 30 Day Fund by offering our students a unique opportunity to help small businesses across Arkansas recover from the financial impact of COVID-19,” ASU System President Charles L. Welch said in a statement. “This partnership also provides our students a chance to gain valuable experience with a nonprofit while learning more about the financial difficulties our small businesses are facing due to no fault of their own. I am appreciative of Sarah and Bryan Sanders for giving A-State students this opportunity.”
According to Andrea Allen, executive director for the Delta Center for Economic Development, Sarah Sanders reached out to Arkansas State University officials to form a partnership, and the Delta Center for Economic Development subsequently took the lead on the effort.
Partnering with the 30 Day Fund furthers both the university’s mission of providing new experiences for its students and the center’s mission of building a strong community, Allen said.
“A university is as strong as the communities surrounding it, and by participating in this partnership, we are helping our communities through this crisis,” she said. “Our student volunteers will benefit by gaining real world experience and the self-satisfaction of helping our communities and small businesses during this time. They will also be a part of a newly formed nonprofit and learn about how small businesses can be resilient during a crisis.”
After announcing the program on Thursday, May 14, the program began accepting applications on Monday, May 18. According to an Arkansas 30 Day Fund news release, the program has begun distributing funds already. Arkansas Money & Politics has reached out to Arkansas 30 Day Fund officials for more details.
Allen is looking for the program to have a positive impact on small businesses throughout Arkansas. With many small businesses that have been forced to shut down or limit their operations, a forgivable loan could provide needed relief.
“Small businesses all across Arkansas are hurting right now, and any resource that will allow them to remain open by covering payroll for the month, rent on their facility, or healthcare costs, is good for small businesses and our state,” she said.
READ MORE: Applications Open for Arkansas 30 Day Fund