Montgomery County Cares: Grants Support Area Communities During COVID-19 Pandemic

9 Feb 2021

by Michael Zimmerman


Despite the challenges and hardships faced by numerous industries throughout COVID-19, Montgomery County’s federal CARES Act grant program was the silver lining for many small businesses, educational institutions, nonprofits and homeowners in the Dayton Region. 

"The CARES Act grant allowed us to purchase much-needed technology to facilitate online learning and PPE for staff and students,” said Elizabeth Lolli, superintendent at Dayton Public Schools. “This assistance allowed us to remain financially stable while providing for the immediate needs of the district.”

A variety of industries make up the economic backbone of our region, and our County Commissioners understood that everyone had been impacted by the pandemic. Funds distributed through the CARES Act first became available in June 2020, with a grand total of $92.8 million awarded to Montgomery County for distribution.

With the Office of CARES Act established, our internal IT department secured a vendor to build a custom application portal, and we saw a huge surge in applications at the start.

“It’s important that we get this funding out as quickly as possible,” said Marvene Mitchell Cook, director of the office of CARES Act, in late July. 

The first round included assistance to small businesses followed by homeowners and renters, nonprofits, healthcare institutions, daycare centers and agricultural businesses. Additionally, of the recipients, 62 businesses are women-owned, 88 are veteran-owned and 529 are minority-owned. 

Among the numerous benefits chosen organizations witnessed, many have shared that this relief package allowed them to continue delivering exceptional services to their customer and client base. 

“The CARES Act funding helped us keep our business functions working uninterrupted through the pandemic,” stated Keith Jenkins from The Oniru Group, a human resources consulting firm located outside of downtown Dayton. Ronald Duncan, CPA from R.E. Duncan and Company added, “These grants helped us maintain the level of service our clients have come to expect.”

This funding also provided organizations the opportunity to prioritize their employees, ensuring their contributions to the business would remain unscathed. Wenzler Daycare and Learning Center, a family-owned business native to Kettering since 1989, is a prime example as their CARES Act grant “allowed us to avoid disruptions with staffing.” 

Marti Taylor, president and CEO at OneFifteen, also noted that this funding allowed organizations to continue paying for rent and other on-site expenses. 

“Due to the pandemic, we had to delay the opening of the OneFifteen Inpatient Residential Treatment Center and were still responsible for paying our lease and security services,” shared Taylor. “The CARES Act funding ensured our institution will survive the financial tolls of COVID-19 and in turn allow us to deliver additional levels of treatment services to the community in early 2021.

Today, the CARES Act grant supply is exhausted. Of the $92.8 million available, approximately $24 million was awarded to educational institutions, $18 million to nonprofit organizations and $13 million to small businesses. Housing and utility providers as well as healthcare entities also received major contributions.   

The fight against COVID-19 will persist into the new year, but our local businesses, educators and homeowners can rest assured businesses will continue to thrive in the Dayton Region. 

“It would have been a much more serious challenge without this assistance as the CARES Act grant helped me satisfy my occupancy and equipment requirements during the pandemic,” said Sherry Smith, a local stylist for Salon Lofts. “Thank you so much to the compassionate professionals at Montgomery County.”

County Commissioner Judy Dodge adds, “We’ve seen how this funding has impacted our local business community, and it’s success stories such as those mentioned above that showcase the resiliency of our region in times of economic uncertainty.”

To learn more about the CARES Act and its impact on our community, click here.