2020 Award for Excellence Nominee

Tigard - Tigard CARES

Tigard_CARES_Update_630x320.pngIn April 2020, the City of Tigard introduced Tigard CARES (Commercial Assistance & Relief for Economic Stability), an emergency assistance program to help businesses impacted by COVID-19. In collaboration with community development financial institution (CDFI) partners Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO) and Craft3, Tigard CARES had five guiding principles: 

  1. Complement (don't duplicate) state or federal programs.
  2. Focus on equity: target limited resources to businesses that are most vulnerable, especially minority-owned businesses, sole proprietors, and entrepreneurs with limited access to commercial banks and federal support. 
  3. Add professional financial decision making from CDFIs into the process. 
  4. Make it about more than just money; connect businesses to an array of networks, services, advising, tools and capital through our CDFI partners.
  5. Use a fast and smart delivery system.

Working with MESO and Craft3, the City leveraged its initial $300,000 emergency funding (allocated from general fund and business license revenue) into $2.4M in local, state, and federal funding for business assistance in the form of grants and loans. To effectively market Tigard CARES, the City relied on partnerships with local community groups, including culturally specific organizations. MESO also did outreach to marginalized businesses that were not traditionally involved with the city.  
Tigard CARES has been highly impactful and became the model for similar programs by Washington County and neighboring cities. In total, the program distributed grants of $1,500 to $7,500 to more than 400 businesses; and loans ranging from $15,000 to $50,000 to 12 businesses that needed a larger amount of bridge funding.