This following information was provided by Luke Kempen, Director of the Eau Claire SBDC office.
715-836-5902 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Update on SBA Disaster Program Funding
Congress passed and the President signed a new PPP Loan and SBA EIDL Loan bill that extends funding for the two programs.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
The bill includes more than $320 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, PPP, created by the CARES Act, which was passed late last month. The program, which quickly ran out of money because of heavy demand, provides forgivable loans to small businesses that keep their employees on the payroll.
About $60 billion of the additional PPP funding will be set aside for businesses that do not have established banking relationships, such as rural and minority-owned companies. Expanding access to the aid was a priority over concerns that some businesses were being shut out of the fund. According to an SBA press release on late Friday, April 24, the SBA will begin processing PPP loans again starting at 9:30 am on Monday, April 27. Many banks continued to take PPP loan applications right through the shut down and this backlog will likely go into the pipeline starting at 9:30AM on Monday. I recommend that if you have not already applied for PPP loan and want the loan that you take action immediately as indications are that the new funding will go fast too.
Also we are getting a lot of questions on how to calculate the PPP loan amount for small businesses that are LLC, Sole Proprietors and Partnerships. My email sent on April 15 walks through this for individual owners. Partnerships are a little more complex. I include a discussion on Partnerships applying for PPP loans below.
Additional $60 Billion For Economic Injury Disaster Loans
The new funding also includes an additional $60 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. EIDLs are typically issued in the aftermath of natural disasters such as hurricanes, fires or earthquakes and provide a $10,000 immediate grant to small businesses that have been financially impacted, as well as low-interest loans up to $2 million. Given the overwhelming demand for the $10,000 grant and EIDL loan, the SBA last week limited the $10,000 grant to be paid to businesses based on a $1,000-per-employee formula up to 10 employees.
By moving to a per-employee calculation, the SBA left out many small landlords and rental-property owners from the grant portion of the EIDL program who do not have payroll and could not participate in PPP and were counting on some assistance from an EIDL. However, it does appear they are eligible for an EIDL loan. It is unclear at this point how the SBA will use the additional $60 billion for the EIDL program… will it be grants only or will they also continue to offer the EIDL loan too. Presumably, they will use it under the same $1,000-per-employee methodology put into place last week for the Grant, but there have been no announcements yet.
The bill also provides loans and grants from the Small Business Administration's disaster relief fund with $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for coronavirus testing.
According to an SBA press release on late Friday April 24, the SBA will begin processing PPP loans again starting at 9:30 am on Monday April 27. However the announcement did not mention the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) at all. A check on the SBA website at 8 am on Saturday showed the SBA had not yet opened the EIDL loan application portal. However the site stated, “With the additional funding provided by the new COVID-19 relief package, SBA will resume processing EIDL Loan and Advance applications that are already in the queue on a first come, first-served basis. We will provide further information on the availability of the EIDL portal to receive new applications (including those from agricultural enterprises) as soon as possible. “ If you want to apply for the EDIL grant and loan I recommend you check the SBA sight on Monday after 9:30 AM and see if they are accepting applications. I will continue to monitor any information provided by the SBA in that regards. You can access the SBA application and other detail information on the EIDL Loan program at our SBDC website
Also you can call or email me if you have questions at 715-836-5902 or email@example.com
Applied for the SBA Grant Already, But I Have Not Heard Anything. Should I Apply Again?
If you applied for an EIDL loan on March 30 or after and received a confirmation # upon submitting your application the SBA says you do not need to apply again so you should be good. I continue to get many emails and calls about the status of the caller’s application. Unfortunately, I do not know the status nor can I check for you . The SBA continues to ask for patience. The SBA website says applications are processed on a first come first serve basis. I do not know what the SBA’s process is for approving applications. The SBA has provided the following to check on status… Contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org . Every day this past week I have had clients report that they have received the EIDL grant so I know the process was still moving forward.
“Big” Companies and Businesses that Don’t’ Need PPP Loans”
We all heard the stories last week about large companies getting huge PPP loans. One other item of interest is the Treasury came out with a new guidance statement as of April 23, 2020 regarding the PPP loan. This appears to be to address the issue of large companies getting the PPP loans. Here is the statement…
31.Question: Do businesses owned by large companies with adequate sources of liquidity to support the business’s ongoing operations qualify for a PPP loan?
Answer: In addition to reviewing applicable affiliation rules to determine eligibility, all borrowers must assess their economic need for a PPP loan under the standard established by the CARES Act and the PPP regulations at the time of the loan application. Although the CARES Act suspends the ordinary requirement that borrowers must be unable to obtain credit elsewhere (as defined in section 3(h) of the Small Business Act), borrowers still must certify in good faith that their PPP loan request is necessary.
Specifically, before submitting a PPP application, all borrowers should review carefully the required certification that “[c]urrent economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant.” Borrowers must make this certification in good faith, taking into account their current business activity and their ability to access other sources of liquidity sufficient to support their ongoing operations in a manner that is not significantly detrimental to the business. For example, it is unlikely that a public company with substantial market value and access to capital markets will be able to make the required certification in good faith, and such a company should be prepared to demonstrate to SBA, upon request, the basis for its certification.
Lenders may rely on a borrower’s certification regarding the necessity of the loan request. Any borrower that applied for a PPP loan prior to the issuance of this guidance and repays the loan in full by May 7, 2020 will be deemed by SBA to have made the required certification in good faith.
It appears this “guidance” has already had an effect as several large companies have decided to repay or not take the PPP loans that were offered to them given the SBA May 7 deadline for “no questions asked …mulligan”.
Calculating the PPP Loan Amount for Partnerships
First, for the record….. I am not a practicing CPA for hire in public accounting. Your choice to make decisions based on the information presented in this email is at your discretion and neither I nor the Small Business Development Center attests to its accuracy or completeness.
On April 14 the SBA provided details on how to calculate PPP for self employed LLC’s and Partnerships both with and without employees. However, the guidance for partnerships only states that one PPP loan is available one per partnership. It does not mention nor provide any explanation on how to calculate the PPP loan for partnerships.
Given we do have guidance for Schedule C filers, It would seem the proper way to calculate PPP for the partnership would be to take and “equate” the amount to its equivalent on the Form Schedule C line 31 business net profit or loss which is used for single member LLC’s and sole proprietors. Therefore, using “Guaranteed Partner Payments” may not be accurate because frequently the amount of the partner guaranteed payments is less than partnership net income.
From what I have read about how to calculate this is to take the amount on the partnership return Form 1065 Schedule K page 4 line 14a Net Earnings From Self Employment and subtract from it the amount if any on Line 12 “Section 179 deduction” from this same form. This calculation would give you the “equivalent” of the Form Schedule C line 31 Net profit or loss from and LLC or sole proprietor business. Also remember the $100,000 limit per partner.
For those of you who like to analyze, love tax rules or need more details on this read on….others you got what you need above…Another way to confirm this on your part is to look at each partner’s Form 1040 Schedule SE line 2. Assuming this partnership is the only business activity the partners have, then the total of each partner’s line 2 added together should give you the same amount you calculated above. You will also note when you look at the form SE, that any partnership K-1 Line 14 (a) information (after subtracting Line 12 mentioned above) goes on the same line as a Schedule C ( line 31 amount…the amount used for PPP for Schedule C filers). This seems to validate this approach as being the proper calculation for partnership PPP.
I discussed this approach with a local CPA and they concurred that this would seem to be the way to calculate the amount. However, please note on the internet there seems to be some people saying online to use the amount from Line 14 a and they do not mention the subtraction of Line 12. Often there is no amount in line 12 so then their explanation yields the same amount. However if there is an amount on line 12 such an approach would seem to be overstating the self employed earnings because the amount on line 14 a is before Section 179 depreciation. Subtracting arrives at a smaller more conservative number that seems to mirror how this is reported for a regular Schedule C business with Section 179 Depreciation being part of the expenses considered in arriving at the Schedule C Line 31 net profit.
April 15 update:
Summary of How to Calculate the PPP Loan Amount for Self- Employed Business Owners filing Form 1040 Schedule C or Schedule F (farmers).
Late yesterday the Treasury and SBA issued an update on PPP loans for the self-employed. The update clarified how self-employed business owners who file a Form 1040 Schedule C return are to calculate the Average Monthly Payroll amount for the PPP loan application. It also spelled out the expenses allowed for the PPP loan to be forgiven. Yesterday I sent out my understanding of how to do this calculation and fortunately what the Treasury/SBA stated in their update yesterday is consistent with what I presented regarding business owners filing form Schedule C.
Unfortunately, the Treasury/SBA update made no mention of farmers and Schedule F. However, it appears highly probable that the Schedule F filers (Farmers) should follow the very same process and guidance provided for self-employed Schedule C filers when completing the application for the PPP. If you are a Schedule F farmer you can read the Summary below and literally substitute the letter “F” for the letter “C” and you will have what for right now appears to be the PPP loan calculation process for Schedule F filers. In a couple spots in the summary below, I added the specific line number for Schedule F since it is different than Schedule C. (Note …the process spelled out below for Schedule C filers does NOT allow a Depreciation expense addback so it appears a Depreciation addback is NOT allowed for Schedule F farmers either.)
Also, while health insurance and retirement plan expenses for employees are to be included in calculating payroll costs for employees and are forgivable amounts for the PPP loan, the Treasury/SBA update specifically states that owner health insurance and retirement plan benefits are not forgivable amounts for PPP loans.
The update from the Treasury/SBA is 19 pages long. I took the key sections of the update and summarized below. If you want to see the full text of the update go to the link below:
Individuals with Self-Employment Income who File a Form 1040, Schedule C.
You are eligible for a PPP loan if: (i) you were in operation on February 15, 2020; (ii) you are an individual with self-employment income (such as an independent contractor or a sole proprietor); (iii) your principal place of residence is in the United States; and (iv) you filed or will file a Form 1040 Schedule C for 2019. However, if you are a partner in a partnership, you may not submit a separate PPP loan application for yourself as a self-employed individual. Instead, the self-employment income of general active partners would be reported together combined as one partnership PPP application.
In addition, you should be aware that participation in the PPP may affect your eligibility for state administered unemployment compensation or unemployment assistance programs… (Wisconsin PUA unemployment Assistance Program).
SBA will issue additional guidance for those individuals with self-employment income who: (i) were not in operation in 2019 but who were in operation on February 15, 2020, and (ii) will file a Form 1040 Schedule C for 2020.
If you have no employees, the following methodology should be used to calculate your maximum PPP loan amount:
Step 1: Find your 2019 IRS Form 1040 Schedule C line 31 (Schedule F line 34) net profit amount (if you have not yet filed a 2019 return, fill it out and compute the value). If this amount is over $100,000, reduce it to $100,000. If this amount is zero or less, you are not eligible for a PPP loan.
Step 2: Calculate the average monthly net profit amount (divide the amount from Step 1 by 12).
Step 3: Multiply the average monthly net profit amount from Step 2 by 2.5.
Regardless of whether you have filed a 2019 tax return with the IRS, you must provide the 2019 Form 1040 Schedule C with your PPP loan application to substantiate the applied-for PPP loan amount and a 2019 IRS Form 1099-MISC detailing nonemployee compensation received (box 7), invoice, bank statement, or book of record that establishes you are self-employed. You must provide a 2020 invoice, bank statement, or book of record to establish you were in operation on or around February 15, 2020.
If you have employees, the following methodology should be used to calculate your maximum PPP loan amount:
Step 1: Compute 2019 payroll by adding the following:
a. Your 2019 Form 1040 Schedule C line 31 net profit amount (if you have not yet filed a 2019 return, fill it out and compute the value), up to $100,000 annualized, if this amount is over $100,000, reduce it to $100,000, if this amount is less than zero, set this amount at zero;
b. 2019 gross wages and tips paid to your employees whose principal place of residence is in the United States computed using 2019 IRS Form 941 Taxable Medicare wages & tips (line 5c- column 1) from each quarter plus any pre-tax employee contributions for health insurance or other fringe benefits excluded from Taxable Medicare wages & tips; subtract any amounts paid to any individual employee in excess of $100,000 annualized and any amounts paid to any employee whose principal place of residence is outside the United States; and
c. 2019 employer health insurance contributions (health insurance component of Form 1040 Schedule C line 14…Schedule F line 15), retirement contributions (Form 1040 Schedule C line 19…Schedule F line 23), and state and local taxes assessed on employee compensation (primarily under state laws commonly referred to as the State Unemployment Tax Act or SUTA from state quarterly wage reporting forms).
Step 2: Calculate the average monthly amount (divide the amount from Step 1 by 12).
Step 3: Multiply the average monthly amount from Step 2 by 2.5.
You must supply your 2019 Form 1040 Schedule C, Form 941 (or other tax forms or equivalent payroll processor records containing similar information) and state quarterly wage unemployment insurance tax reporting forms from each quarter in 2019 or equivalent payroll processor records, along with evidence of any retirement and health insurance contributions, if applicable. A payroll statement or similar documentation from the pay period that covered February 15, 2020 must be provided to establish you were in operation on February 15, 2020.
How can PPP loans be used by individuals with income from self-employment who file a 2019 Form 1040, Schedule C?
The proceeds of a PPP loan are to be used for the following:
i. Owner compensation replacement, calculated based on 2019 net profit from 1040 Form Schedule C as described above.
ii. Employee payroll costs (as defined in the First PPP Interim Final Rule) for
employees whose principal place of residence is in the United States, if you have employees.
iii. Mortgage interest payments (but not mortgage prepayments or principal
payments) on any business mortgage obligation on real or personal property (e.g., the interest on your mortgage for the warehouse you purchased to store business equipment or the interest on an auto loan for a vehicle you use to perform your business), business rent payments (e.g., the warehouse where you store business equipment or the vehicle you use to perform your business), and business utility payments (e.g., the cost of electricity in the warehouse you rent or gas you use driving your business vehicle). You must have claimed or be entitled to claim a deduction for such expenses on your 2019 Form 1040 Schedule C for them to be a permissible use during the eight-week period following the first disbursement of the loan (the “covered period”). For example, if you did not claim or are not entitled to claim utilities expenses on your 2019 Form 1040 Schedule C, you cannot use the proceeds for utilities during the covered period.
iv. Interest payments on any other debt obligations that were incurred before
February 15, 2020 (such amounts are not eligible for PPP loan forgiveness).
Proceeds from any advance up to $10,000 on the EIDL loan will be deducted from the loan forgiveness amount on the PPP loan.
What amounts shall be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness?
The amount of loan forgiveness can be up to the full principal amount of the loan plus accrued interest. The actual amount of loan forgiveness will depend, in part, on the total amount spent over the covered period on:
March 23 update:
The Wisconsin Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has been receiving many questions regarding assistance to small business owners. I am sure you too have been inundated with emails about Covid 19 and things to do. While I have purposefully not sent out a lot of “stuff” I now want to provide you with a couple things I think you may be able to take advantage of based on the questions I have been getting.
Small Business Administration SBA Disaster Loans
On Saturday March 21 the Small Business Administration (SBA) declares all of the counties in Wisconsin an SBA Economic Disaster. The SBA will be offering disaster assistance loans for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Disaster assistance loans will be offered up to $2M. These loans are working capital loans designed to sustain your business in the way it could have existed if the disaster had not occurred (assessing your ability to pay accounts payable, payroll, paying fixed debt, and other operating expenses). These loans are not intended to be for equipment, expansion or to cover past lost profits or make up for an already struggling business before the disaster.
Applications and loans are made directly through the SBA…not through a bank.
To Learn More
Below is a link to more detail description and FAQs about these SBA disaster loans on the Wisconsin SBDC website. I recommend you read through the information at this link first. Once you understand the loan program you can assess whether it will fit your business and you want to apply for the loan. (Note: when you go to the link below you will also see on that website page a link to WEDC Small Business Grant program…WEDC’s program sounds good on paper but few if any of you are eligible to participate in this program unless you have an existing loan from a “Community Development Financial Institution” (CDFI). In our area Royal Credit Union, Hayward Community Credit Union, WWBIC and Impact Seven are CDFI’s. These are the only CDFI’s that are on the list provided to the SBDC. I recommend you focus on the SBA Disaster Loan info unless you have a loan with a CDFI.)
To Apply and/or Get Assistance From SBDC
Many of you will be able to work through the application on your own. However, if you need assistance or have questions the SBDC is here to help. The SBA has asked the SBDC to focus efforts on this disaster loan program and to be the SBA’s boots on the ground locally to provide technical assistance to applicants and businesses. To apply for the loan and/or request SBDC assistance you need to go to the link below. At this link if you want to try to complete the application on your own, find and click on the blue button “Apply Online”. This button takes you to the SBA application portal and you work to complete the application. If you want SBDC assistance with the application, find and click on the blue button “Loan Inquiries”. This will take you to a short online form to gather your contact information and the SBDC will contact you in the order we receive the inquiries and work with you to complete the application. While we cannot meet in person for safety and social distancing reasons, we can assist by phone meetings and through online meetings. Also see the “List of Materials to Gather Now” below and work on that.
List of Materials to Gather Now
While no one can apply for a loan until the declaration for Wisconsin Counties is approved by the SBA, you can get started right now with forms you'll need and be ready to go when the portal opens. These are all links to the forms online in PDF forms that you can edit and save. When you apply for the loan you will need to attach these completed forms to the application.
· Tax Information Authorization (IRS Form 4506T) for the applicant, principals and affiliates.
· Complete copies of the most recent Federal Income Tax Return.
· Schedule of Liabilities (SBA Form 2202).
· Personal Financial Statement (SBA Form 413).
· Profit and loss statements
· Monthly sales figures (SBA Form 1368)
Like any downturn in business, your goal is to maximize cash inflow and minimize cash outflow. Here are things to consider:
Grow Cash Availability
· Consider Drawing on your available business or home equity line of credit. Even if you do not plan to use this credit, it can provide you with additional options in the future. Draw on it and put the proceeds into a savings account at a bank for now. Be aware that for most lines of credit from a bank, the bank can stop you from accessing the available credit on the line at anytime before you draw it out of the line. Consider that in your decision to access the line now even if you do not need it now. If you do not have a line of credit you can seek that from your bank now but be aware the bank may not be willing to extend more credit to you now given the economic uncertainty. Credit cards are also a potential short term tool, but be mindful of the high interest rates associated with this action.
· Explore your ability to enter a short term loan arrangement with friends or family. Carefully document the terms of any such agreement, and make sure all parties sign off on those terms.
· Check with your insurance agent to see if you have Business Interruption insurance and if some benefit is available to you on that insurance.
Minimize Cash Outflow
Minimizing cash outflow may be your best or only option. In order to preserve as much money as possible within the business, start by determining where you have the opportunity to reduce your expenses.
· If you have existing bank loan(s), reach out to your banker to explore what options may be available to you for temporary relief. Potential relief may include interest-only loan payments for the short term, or extending the term of the loan to reduce monthly payments. I recommend you consider drawing on your bank line of credit before reaching out to the bank to discuss your desire to modify existing debt payments because you are having cash shortfall.
· If you have any debt through a private lender(s), like family or friends, or a land contract seller financed loan, reach out to discuss potential available relief. Private lenders may have more flexibility than a bank to defer payments short term, lower an interest rate, etc.
· If you are renting space, reach out to your landlord to request a short-term rent deferral or a temporary reduction of rental costs.
· Carefully consider your staffing plan. Potential options include:
· Reducing business hours in order to decrease payroll costs.
· Staff layoffs. These are really difficult decisions. However, remember if you can’t pay your employees then I think your next goal is to work to be there when the downturn is over so your employees have a place to come back to work. Also, it appears the Government may provide additional disaster relief to the unemployed so laying employees off and having them file for unemployment may give employees access to these additional benefits should they occur.
· Cut Operating Expenses: Carefully review your past monthly expenditures, and project those for the upcoming few months. Note mission-critical expenditures and defer or eliminate those that are not.
· Reduce inventory, including selling off current inventory - even at a discounted rate - and/or cancelling orders for inventory that has not yet been received
· Slow or stop payment to vendors. While no one wants this as the vendor is likely struggling too, contacting your vendors and seeing what they may be willing to do may help.
I know what we are seeing now is unprecedented. While I know that it is hard to swallow taking on more debt, I think the SBA Disaster Loan program should be considered if your business is viable and you feel with the loan you can come out on the other side of this downturn and thrive again. This is one opportunity to take a working capital cash infusion and stretch the payback over a very long period of years. This loan can take the effects of today’s unprecedented downturn and spread it over time. However, if before the downturn your business was already struggling taking on the SBA Disaster Loan may not be a good decision and fit.
I encourage you to read the information here and online before contacting me. If after you read the information and you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me if you think I can be of some assistance to you or if you want to discuss your own situation. Also, I will provide you with email updates on SBA Disaster loan and any other SBA initiatives and other things that I think are of value, relevant and important as we move forward. I do not plan to send you the “same thing everyone else has sent to you five times over”. You can also monitor the Wisconsin SBDC website at https://wisconsinsbdc.org/ . The SBDC is purposefully trying to keep our website focused and on point.
Take care and good luck.
Wisconsin Small Business Development Center at UW-Eau Claire
7 South Dewey Street, PO Box 4004
Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004
Working to support your success!
University of Wisconsin Eau Claire
UW-Eau Claire students giving back to hometowns during COVID-19
Since the COVID-19 moved classes online and sent many students home for the semester, Blugolds near and far are finding ways to give back to their hometowns during the pandemic. Full story.
Social work majors find new ways forward after COVID-19 ends internships
Savana Stuhl, a social work major in her last semester, had two internships cut short this spring because of COVID-19. While challenging, she says the experience will make her an even better social worker. Full story.
28th annual student research event, CERCA, to take place online April 27-May 1
The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at UW-Eau Claire will host the first-ever online presentation of the annual student research celebration. The 28th annual Celebration of Excellence in Research and Creative Activity will take place the week of April 27-May 1 and will be delivered through the Canvas online instruction platform. The site will be open and accessible to everyone, with no campus login required. Full story.
PABLO FOUNDATION TO MATCH DONATIONS TO TOGETHER CHIPPEWA VALLEY UP TO $50,000
Pablo Foundation Responds to Urgent Nonprofit Need (April 21, 2020 - EAU CLAIRE, WIS) Together Chippewa Valley is thrilled to announce that Pablo Foundation, a local philanthropic group, has stepped forward with a grant totaling up to $50,000 in response to the urgent need from local nonprofits due to COVID-19. The grant will match dollar-for-dollar all donations to Together Chippewa Valley up to a total of $50,000 through April 30, 2020. To date, Together Chippewa Valley has raised $23,195 which will now be doubled to $46,390 by the match.
“As the spokesperson for the local effort Together Chippewa Valley, we are very grateful for the Pablo Foundation gift, which will help so many nonprofits in our community. This effort is another example of how well we work together in the Chippewa Valley. It seems no matter the cause, we first turn to each other to help out. This exciting movement will support 800 plus employees and the over 200,000 people they serve each year. Thank you, Pablo Foundation,” said Together Chippewa Valley spokeswoman, Kerry Kincaid.
Pablo Foundation’s Executive Director, MaiVue Xiong, states, “Working collaboratively so our community can stay healthy and sustainable during this time is of upmost importance to the Foundation. We are proud to support a coalition of nonprofits that comes together in our greatest time of need to creatively find ways to further support their organization’s causes. Although times are hard, we encourage others to give what they can so we can all come out of this pandemic stronger than going in.” Pablo Foundation’s mission is to create a model for a healthy and sustainable community. They are focused on housing, health, education and the arts.
Together Chippewa Valley was formed to coordinate a response effort to address community needs during the COVID-19 crisis, to raise funds through a first-of-its-kind community-wide fundraising initiative, support each other’s missions, to survive, and to thrive.
Make a gift today and help Together Chippewa Valley to help maximize this grant and support their mission to keep the nonprofit community thriving. Those interested in supporting Together Chippewa Valley can visit togetherchippewavalley.org to give online.
About Together Chippewa Valley Together Chippewa Valley is a coalition of nonprofits forming to coordinate response efforts to address community needs during the COVID-19 crisis, raise funds through a first of its kind community-wide fundraising initiative, and support one another’s missions to survive and thrive.
Current coalition members: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 21, 2020 Contact: Kerry Kincaid +1 (715) 577-2360 email@example.com togetherchippewavalley.org • Bob’s House for Dogs • Boys & Girls Clubs of the GCV • Children’s Museum of Eau Claire • Chippewa Valley Museum • Chippewa Humane Association • Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild • Eau Claire County Humane Association • Family Promise of the Chippewa Valley • Family Resource Center • Family Support Center • Fierce Freedom • Girl Scouts of Northwestern Great Lakes • Junior Achievement of Wisconsin • Pablo Center at the Confluence • The Community Table • Sculpture Tour Eau Claire • UCP Western Wisconsin • YMCA of the Chippewa Valley
Pablo Center Joins National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) Created
To Fight For Venues Survival Amid Mandated, Extended Shutdowns
National Independent Venue Association just formed and already has more than 450 charter members in 43 states, including Pablo Center at the Confluence in Eau Claire, 9:30 Club in D.C., First Avenue in Minneapolis, Chicago Independent Venue League, World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, Pabst Theater Group in Milwaukee, Red River Cultural District in Austin, and Exit/In in Nashville.
(EAU CLAIRE, WIS. April 17, 2020) Independent Venue Week and the nation’s top independent music venues and promoters have joined together to announce the formation of National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) to fight for the survival of independent venues, their employees, artists, fans and their communities. Membership is at no cost to venues, and is accessible here: NIVA Membership. Pablo Center at the Confluence has signed up and are supporting NIVA’s efforts. Until now, independent venues and promoters have inherently been islands unto themselves, fighting fiercely in brutal, individual marketplaces. But the pandemic has brought a crashing halt to business operations of small and mid-sized venues across the country and threatens their existence.
Independent venues and promoters play a vital role in their communities, influencing travel and tourism. They are a part of the fabric, foundation and pride of cities and towns across America. According to a 2016 IBISWorld study, the live music industry produced $23.5 billion in annual revenue. With the complete and sudden shutdown, all venues and their communities have been dealt a devastating blow with revenues totally halted, but the overhead has not.
“Music venues were the first to close and will be the last to open,” said Dayna Frank, NIVA board member and owner of First Avenue in Minneapolis. “It’s just brutal right now, and the future is predictable to no one. We can’t envision a world without these music venues, so we’ve created NIVA to fight for their ability to survive this shutdown, which we hear could go into 2021. Our first order of business is to push to secure federal funding to preserve the ecosystem of live music venues and touring artists.”
“Independent venues and promoters have a unique set of circumstances that require specialized assistance, so we’ve banded together and secured a powerhouse lobbying firm,” said Gary Witt, CEO of Pabst Theater Group and founding member of NIVA. “Akin Gump has been tapped to represent us, and that telegraphs to Capitol Hill that our needs are serious. Most of us have gone from our best year ever to a dead stop in revenues, but our expenses and overhead are still real, and many will not make it without help. Our employees, the artists, and the fans need us to act. But we are also an important income generator for those around us, bringing revenue to area restaurants, bars, hotels, and retail shops. Our contributions to the tax base far exceed our ticket sales.”
“If the number of venues and promoters that signed up for NIVA membership in the first three days is an indicator – 450 venues in 43 states and Washington, D.C. – we can say the independent venues and promoters might be in dire straits, but they’re motivated to fight for their survival,” said Rev. Moose, co-founder of NIVA and managing partner of Marauder which runs Independent Venue Week in the U.S. “In addition to going to Capitol Hill to seek funds, NIVA will also offer key survival tools to members by sharing resources, information, and providing guidance on the Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection Program.”
See Tickets and Lyte have made generous contributions to fund NIVA’s membership launch and initial lobbying effort.
NIVA is seeking additional sponsorship from organizations wishing to support its mission to assist independent venues and promoters. Said Witt, “NIVA will grow to become a fantastic advocate and nurturer of independent venues and promoters after the pandemic. Survival today, prosperity tomorrow.” To learn more, contact NIVA here: Contact NIVA
Independent venues and promoters can join NIVA here: NIVA Membership
You can view the expanding list of 450+ participating members from 43 states here: NIVA Member.
NATIONAL INDEPENDENT VENUE ASSOCIATION BRINGS EFFORT TO SECURE VENUE SURVIVAL TO CAPITOL HILL
(EAU CLAIRE, WIS. April 22, 2020) The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), whose members, employees, artists and local communities are facing an existential crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are in urgent need of targeted legislative and regulatory assistance. Today, NIVA sent a letter to Washington leadership proposing solutions to address the unique and dire situation facing the industry. Venues throughout the region: Pablo Center at the Confluence, The Plus, The Metro, Chippewa Valley Theatre Guilds Grand Theatre, Pinehollow - Eau Claire; The Mabel Tainter – Menomonie, Big Top Chautauqua – Bayfield; Pabst Theater, Turner Hall Ballroom, The Rave / Eagles Club, The Miramar Theatre, The Cooperage, The Back Room, Cactus Club, Riverside Theater – Milwaukee; Cavalier Theater - La Crosse; Hypervibe – Neenah; Liquid & Ruby, The Venue on Winnebago St – Madison; LuCille Tack Center for the Arts – Spencer; Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts – Brookfield; Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts - Fond du Lac; The Mineral Point Opera House - Mineral Point are strongly supporting NIVA’s ongoing efforts.
“Our passionate and fiercely independent operators are not ones to ask for handouts,” said Dayne Frank, NIVA Board President and owner of First Avenue in Minneapolis. “But because of our unprecedented, tenuous position, for the first time in history, there is legitimate fear for our collective existence.”
The letter to Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, House of Representatives Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is attached.
NIVA is comprised of more than 800 of the most influential independent music venues and promoters across 48 states, including 24 independent venues across Wisconsin, and Washington, D.C. Independent venues were among the first to close as COVID-19 spread across the country, and unfortunately, are also likely to be among the last to reopen.
Due to unique circumstances such as the indefinite closure of our industry and zero revenue for the foreseeable future, NIVA has requested specific funding programs to assist while we are completely shut down as the result of government mandates. The goal is to enable independent venues to survive the shutdowns, reopen in the future, and once again contribute to the economic revival of our communities.
It is estimated that for every $1 spent on a ticket, a total of $12 in economic activity is generated within communities on restaurants, hotels, taxis, and retail establishment. While we are small businesses, the estimated direct annual economic impact we bring to local communities is nearly $10 billion.
It will likely take months for venues to resume to their full performance schedules, but once they are permitted to reopen, capacity reductions may be required for safety. NIVA is also seeking national guidelines for large gatherings to occur in a safe manner. Uniformity across the country and throughout the industry will ensure artists can resume a tour schedule and fans can come and enjoy shows once again.
security Financial Bank
Security Financial Bank Promotes Angie Bryan to Lead Personal Banker
EAU CLAIRE – Paul Rudersdorf, president and CEO of Security Financial Bank (SFB), is pleased to announce that Angie Bryan has been promoted to lead personal banker. In this newly-created position, Bryan will oversee all personal bankers throughout SFB’s five locations. She will be responsible for staff schedules, training personal bankers and assisting them in providing products and services that meet SFB’s client needs.
Bryan joined SFB in 2008 as a casual teller. Throughout the years, she has served in a variety of roles including full-time teller and universal banker and then was most recently promoted to personal banker in 2015.
A Durand native, Bryan earned a bachelor’s degree in business management/business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She is active in the community serving as a Junior Achievement classroom teacher and a volunteer for Reality Check in Durand and Real Life Academy in Eau Claire.
In addition to her new role, Bryan will continue to serve as a personal banker in SFB’s Durand office.
Stokes|Herzog Matketing + Consulting
Hundreds of Eau Claire Businesses Utilize Free Future Planning Tools
Eau Claire, WI - In just over one week, more than 500 people have visited a website developed by a local advertising agency to help businesses and non-profits in need during the COVID-19 crisis.
"We're so happy that local businesses are finding the information on eauclairestrong.com helpful especially during this time of need. With millions of business owners searching for hope during this crisis, we want to encourage and uplift them even in the smallest of ways. Small businesses are the heart of our economy and we've made a commitment through eauclairestrong.com to support them," said co-owner Chris Herzog.
The new website, eauclairestrong.com, created by STOKES|HERZOG Marketing + Consulting. is designed to give businesses and non-profits a place to find the latest information on marketing and advertising strategies to help their clients and customers continue to buy their products, goods, and services. There is also a donation hub to help non-profits get the word out about their fundraisers to cover their costs during this difficult time.
Since launching the website last week, the website has been visited hundreds of times, and the most popular tools are the donation hub and branding strategies.
Co-owners Sarah Stokes and Chris Herzog are adding new content nearly daily as more information about the pandemic becomes available to keep business informed and offering free advice.
"There are so many efforts to give back during this time, and it's exciting to see that one of our most visited pages is the "giving back" page. This community's heart is so big and that is being felt now more than ever. If we can assist in helping organizations strengthen their strategic planning and marketing messages while also helping people find ways to give back, then we know this is a win, win!" added co-owner Sarah Stokes.
Former news anchors Sarah Stokes and Chris Herzog started the STOKES|HERZOG family of companies back in 2014. The two own the marketing and consulting agency, STOKES|HERZOG Realty which is a Wisconsin based commercial real estate brokerage, and The Juicy Good Life, an online success training company designed for women.
Contact: Ashley Gudis, Scholarship Committee Chair and Director of Dove Healthcare – Rutledge Home and Orchard Hills, 715-577-4036 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Scholarship Winner Announced
Eau Claire – Skilled nursing, rehabilitation, and assisted living provider Dove Healthcare announced Alysia Arel of Eau Claire as one of two recipients of the 3rd Annual Sandy Rasmussen Scholarship.
The $2,500 scholarship was created in honor and appreciation of Sandy Rasmussen, an employee of Dove Healthcare – Rutledge Home for over 47 years. Rasmussen has served the residents in numerous capacities, often concurrently, including lawn care, transportation, recreation, resident assistant, nutritional services aide, cook, and nutritional services director. She has also volunteered countless hours fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Association and American Cancer Society.
Scholarship Committee Chair and Dove Healthcare – Rutledge Home Director Ashley Gudis shared, “We are honored to help Alysia advance her education and career. She demonstrates great compassion and commitment for those entrusted in her care and dedication to her profession.”
A LPN at Dove Healthcare – West Eau Claire since 2009, Arel is pursuing an associate’s degree in nursing from Rasmussen College. The scholarship committee selected Arel based on her letters of reference, an essay, work ethic, and character.
Dove Healthcare – West Eau Claire Director of Nursing Shelby Kolar said, “Alysia is always willing to help wherever and whenever needed. Her positivity and ability to make others smile no matter the situation makes her an excellent mentor for her co-workers. I am thrilled that she is taking the next step in her career and earning a degree that will further enrich the lives of those in her care.”
The Sandy Rasmussen Scholarship is available to Dove Healthcare employees pursuing post-secondary education at an accredited technical college or four-year university.
Wisconsin Public Radio
Emily Moore from Feed My People Food Bank on “Spectrum West” April 23, 2020
Emily Moore of Feed My People in Eau Claire will join host Al Ross on “Spectrum West,” which airs at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 23, 2020 on The Ideas Network stations 88.3 WHWC-FM/ Menomonie-Eau Claire and 88.7 WRFW-FM/ River Falls. The program will also feature interviews with two Eau Claire improvisational actors, the author of a new book about the Great Lakes, and a former Eau Claire Poet Laureate.
Emily Moore, executive director of Feed My People Food Bank, will talk about her organization’s continued efforts to get food to people in need during the current pandemic.
Amber Dernbach is a theater teacher and improv mentor at Memorial High School in Eau Claire. She and Tabitha Tatro, an improv actor with a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire theater degree, will be visiting with Ross to talk about how their routines have changed with no live performances to prepare for.
Correspondent Jim Oliver will be sharing a conversation with Theodore Karamanski, a professor of history at Loyola University in Chicago. Karmanski has written a book entitled “Mastering the Inland Seas: How Lighthouses, Navigational Aids, and Harbors Transformed the Great Lakes and America.”
Bruce Taylor is a UWEC English professor and former Poet Laureate of the City of Eau Claire. He will be joining Ross as part of the show’s celebration of Poetry Month, and to offer his perspective on our unique times and share some of his writing.
“Spectrum West” is a weekly program exploring the music, arts and humanities in western Wisconsin. The show includes in-depth behind-the-scenes interviews and stories about area writers, musicians, theater, visual arts and much more. The show is broadcast at 10 a.m. Thursdays on The Ideas Network stations 88.3 WHWC-FM Menomonie/Eau Claire and 88.7 WRFW-FM River Falls and via an online live stream on 88.7 WRFW-FM University of Wisconsin River Falls via wrfw887.com/listen-live.html. A repeat broadcast plays at 7 p.m. Fridays on 89.7 WUEC-FM Eau Claire and 90.7 WVSS-FM/ Menomonie. Archives of “Spectrum West” are available at wpr.org/programs/spectrum-west-al-ross.
Pandemic Update and its Impact on University of Wisconsin Campuses in Western Wisconsin discussed on “The West Side” on April 24
The economic, academic and outreach implications of the COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, University of Wisconsin-River Falls and University of Wisconsin-Stout will be the primary topic of discussion on “The West Side” at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 24 on The Ideas Network Stations of Wisconsin Public Radio: 88.3 WHWC-FM/ Menomonie-Eau Claire and 88.7 WRFW-FM/ River Falls.
The program will also feature an update on the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to western Wisconsin from WPR reporter Rich Kremer.
Host Dean Kallenbach will be joined by Mike Rindo, the assistant chancellor for university communications and facilities at UWEC; David Travis, provost at UW-River Falls; and Glendali Rodriguez, interim provost at UW-Stout.
“The West Side” is broadcast each Friday at 10 a.m. on The Ideas Network stations 88.3 WHWC-FM Menomonie/Eau Claire and 88.7 WRFW-FM River Falls and via an online live stream on 88.7 WRFW-FM via wrfw887.com/listen-live.html. Listeners may call in with questions and comments during the program at (800) 228-5615. Archives of “The West Side” are available at wpr.org/programs/west-side.
SUBJECT: Merchants Bank Named Community Champion by Minnesota Bankers Association
Winona, Minn. – Merchants Bank is one of 40 banks in the state to be named a Community Champion by the Minnesota Bankers Association in recognition of the Bank’s local community contributions, service and support.
“We are proud to be recognized for our community engagement efforts in 2019, but the current state of the world provides a stark reminder that we have great challenges ahead of us in all of our communities,” said Greg Evans, President & CEO. “As we always have, we will embrace those challenges as opportunities. By working together, we can and will help those in need and support the heroes on the front lines of the pandemic response.”
As a commitment to local community leadership, Merchants Bank employees volunteered more than 15,000 hours to 211 organizations in 2019. In addition to last year’s volunteer efforts, Merchants Bank contributed to more than 500 organizations with total charitable donations of more than $595,000.00, or 2.63% of Merchants Bank’s pre-tax income. Local community commitment and support has been key priority for Merchants since it’s founding in 1875.
The Minnesota Bankers Association Community Champion recognition honors banks based on their community involvement in the past year. Criteria included volunteer hours, number of employees volunteering, charitable contributions, number of organizations supported and how often financial education was provided to the community. 40 banks from across the state were honored for their 2019 community efforts. In total, the 40 banks contributed $3.1 million in charitable donations and 92,500 volunteer hours.
Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 19 bank locations in southeastern Minnesota, two bank locations in west-central Wisconsin and a leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, in Edina. As the parent company for Merchants Bank, Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) also owns the First National Bank of Northfield, with two banking offices in Northfield and a loan production office in Bloomington, MN. Headquartered in Winona, MN, MFGI has more than $2.1 billion in assets. Merchants was founded in 1875. Member FDIC.
LOCAL ADULT CARE PROVIDER FACES BLEAK OUTLOOK IN THE FACE OF ANOTHER RATE CUT
(MONDOVI, WIS. April 17, 2020) Financial realities for those who own and operate group homes has become increasingly dire. Once again, they face draconian cuts to funding. Garlick’s CBRF, Inc., of Mondovi, WI, operates seven facilities that cares for 19 residents with varying degrees and combinations of cognitive, physical and mental health disabilities. Garlick’s has been in business for 35 years and has seen major shifts in the industry and funding levels says owner/operator Mary Jo LaBair.
“Providers have been asking for change for decades, and the last two years have continued to highlight a crumbling family care system,” said LaBair. “Right now, the system works as an inverted funnel where funds seem to be depleted at the Managed Care Organization (MCO’s), or administrative level of the industry, and by the time it gets to the actual caregivers, it is whittled down to nothing. We have attempted to address this, and it seems that each entity - MCO’s, Department of Health Services (DHS), and legislation - points the finger at someone else.”
While the finger pointing goes on high up the food chain, providers continue to experience rate cuts. Direct care staff at Garlick’s have not been given cost of living raises in 8 years and cannot offer benefits to employees. Most staff supplement their wages through food pantries, heating assistance programs, food share, second jobs, etc.
“It appears that the contract between DHS and the MCO’s is catastrophically flawed. While MCO’s may be operating within compliance and legally, they certainly do not appear to operating ethically,” said LaBair.
There is a substantial gap between the wages of front line, direct care workers who actively ensure the health, safety and welfare of facility residents, and MCO employees. On average, a direct care full-time staff earning $12 an hour, grosses $24,960 with no benefits. Using Inclusa as an example, 12 of their CEO’s earn between $127,00 and $394,00 per year and have received 15-30% wage increases in the past three years. According to financial information reported by Inclusa to DHS alongside other Wisconsin MCOs, the company’s validation rate increased, and they continue to show a profit margin. By the third quarter of 2019, Inclusa reported income from operations at $8.5 million—well above all but one other MCO. Inclusa also has the highest administrative cost at 4% while others are around 3%.
In spite of this positive financial status, non-negotiable room and board rate cuts were handed down by Inclusa to Garlick’s on April 1, reducing the reimbursement rate per resident in some cases to just $16 per day. That allows for $500 monthly to cover a bedroom, furniture, utilities and meals. Upon consulting with their accounting firm, Garlick’s determined that actual cost to provide room and board is, on average, three times higher at approximately $1,500 a month.
Supervision rates are, on average, far below the actual cost of doing business as well. Inclusa additionally indicated to Garlick’s that supervision cuts for three facility residents would be implemented over the next four months. The combined result of reduced room and board and supervision cuts will force difficult decisions to be made.
“I’ve done this for 35 years and without livable wages and cost of business, I don’t know that I see a way forward to keep the facilities open. It’s a tough call,” said LaBair.
Hospitals share important message during COVID-19 pandemic: Don’t delay emergency car
EAU CLAIRE AND CHIPPEWA FALLS – Heart attacks, strokes, accidents and injuries: These are just a few examples of medical emergencies that can occur at any time, in any place and to any one – even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals remind all area communities that the emergency departments are open and available to provide all types of emergent medical care, 24/7, regardless of the current public health crisis.
A recent report from the American College of Emergency Physicians states some emergency departments across the country are seeing a reduction in patient volumes, as well as patients delaying seeking medical care for non-COVID-19 related emergencies – potentially due to patients being concerned about contracting COVID-19 during a hospital visit or overwhelming health care workers.
“We urge our community members to never forgo or delay seeking medical care for any type of emergency, even in the midst of a pandemic,” says Dr. Ken Johnson, emergency medicine physician for HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s Hospitals. “We have highly-skilled, compassionate providers ready to care for you, and protocols in place to prevent the spread of all infectious diseases, including COVID-19.”
The following are some examples of symptoms/incidents in which a trip to the emergency department or call to 911 is necessary:
Numbers Show Strong First Quarter for Housing Market Pre-coronavirus
Eau Claire, WI - The Wisconsin existing housing market was on solid ground for the first quarter of 2020 with all indicators pointing towards strong sales in the spring and summer.
March home sales state wide were up 7.9% and year-to-date home sales in Chippewa County were up 34.8% compared to the same time-frame in 2019, and sales in Buffalo County were up 66.7%. Nearly all homes that closed in March had signed contracts four to six weeks earlier, prior to the pandemic placing a foothold in the U.S.
“The first quarter of 2020 started strong with all indicators pointing towards a solid spring and summer sale season. However with the “Safer at Home” Executive order we are beginning to see a slowdown indicating the unease of many buyers and sellers at this time of uncertainty.” said RANWW Executive Vice President Brenda Barnhardt.
While “Safer at Home” may be keeping buyers from viewing homes in person REALTORS® have been able to pivot and make homes available for viewing virtually.
“Our industry has done a great job in utilizing technology to make homes available to buyers while following all the “Safer as Home” guidelines. It is our priority to keep everyone safe during these unprecedented times while making sure the dream of Home Ownership remains available for all.” said Gary Brenizer, RANWW board president.
The REALTORS® Association of Northwestern Wisconsin is the professional trade association that all professional REALTORS® residing within the association jurisdiction belong to. The association provides educational opportunities for its members, is active in local, state and national advocacy efforts, engages in community outreach through charitable giving, operates its own private foundation to help homeowners in need and remains a positive force for the members they serve.
For more information on the REALTORS® Association of Northwestern Wisconsin, log on to www.ranww.org
Join A New Healthcare Worker Research Community
Because you know what it takes to be a HERO, participate in the Healthcare Worker Exposure Response & Outcomes Registry
MARSHFIELD – The Healthcare Worker Exposure Response & Outcomes (HERO) Registry is inviting U.S. healthcare workers to share their clinical and life experiences in order to understand the perspectives and problems faced by workers on the COVID-19 pandemic front lines. After creating a profile on the registry, participants can choose to participate in surveys and receive invitations to future clinical trials.
The HERO Registry is asking hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals to join. This includes nurses, therapists, physicians, emergency responders, food service workers, environmental services workers, interpreters, and transporters – anyone who works in a setting where people receive health care.
“Healthcare workers are on the front lines of trying to combat COVID-19. If they are sick, they cannot care for our patients. We are trying to better understand the risks for our staff,” said Dr. Robert Haws, principal investigator for the study at the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute and director of the Clinical Research Center. “By doing this, we can keep our health care workers safer, which is critically important during a pandemic.”
The first trial, HERO-HCQ, will be available to select registry participants. The trial will test if hydroxychloroquine (HCQ, brand name Plaquenil®) is effective in preventing coronavirus infections in healthcare workers. Participating sites within PCORnet®, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network will use the registry to recruit 15,000 healthcare workers to participate. Marshfield Clinic is the only site from Wisconsin participating in the hydroxychloroquine trial. The registry will also be used for other clinical trials and research studies that address unmet needs for healthcare workers.
There is no cost to enroll in the HERO Registry, which is completely voluntary, and only takes only a few minutes to join. After joining, registry participants will receive surveys and opportunities to participate in future studies. Healthcare workers can participate as much or as little as they like. The registry will follow a protocol developed by the Duke Clinical Research Institute and data guidelines to keep healthcare worker information secure.
“Healthcare workers treat and protect all of us from COVID-19. With the HERO Registry we aim to develop better measures to protect and support them,” said Adrian Hernandez, MD, MHS, principal investigator of the HERO research program, which is led by the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), part of the Duke University School of Medicine. “The registry will leverage PCORnet resources and capacity to help us develop fast knowledge to keep healthcare workers safe and healthy, which ultimately will help protect us all.”
The HERO research program is funded through a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Award (Contract Number: COVID-19-2020-001). The program is coordinated by the Duke Clinical Research Institute and leverages PCORnet®, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network. To learn more about the HERO Registry, visit https://heroesresearch.org.
WESTconsin Credit Union Makes $45,000 Donation to Food Bank
WESTERN WI— Soon food banks across western Wisconsin will be receiving funds totaling $45,000 from WESTconsin Credit Union to help support their mission of ending hunger. In light of unprecedented economic hardships facing individuals and families, leaders at the credit union determined one of the fundamental building blocks for wellness is having food and nutrition. Area food banks have been identified as the ideal community resource in helping make the biggest impact to help fight hunger.
“At WESTconsin, we made a promise to be there for the communities we serve over 80 years ago,” Stephanie Rasmussen, Chief Experience Officer, shares. “Today, we are honored to stand up and support our neighbors and communities in hopes this helps those in need and provide inspiration to others in reminding everyone that Kindness Counts.” People Helping People is the founding philosophy of credit unions and has withstood the test of time for over 150 years. WESTconsin will be dispersing payments in the next few days in an effort to quickly provide support.
Food banks have seen an increase of more than 60% in many communities due to unemployment and schools being closed. Many are offering curb side pickups as well as organizing pop up food pantries in rural areas. Now more than ever support is needed with no amount of giving too small. Monetary donations are especially valuable because for every $1 in cash, food pantries can purchase up to $10 worth of food. Those seeking food assistance should contact their local food bank or pantry for hours of operation and methods of distribution. Visit https://www.feedingwi.org/ or https://www.foodpantries.org/ to search for places nearest where you are located.
WESTconsin Credit Union has been serving members since 1939, and membership is open to anyone who lives or works in the Wisconsin counties of Barron, Buffalo, Burnett, Chippewa, Clark, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Rusk, St. Croix, Sawyer, Taylor, Trempealeau, and Washburn, or the Minnesota counties of Anoka, Chisago, Dakota, Goodhue, Isanti, Pine, Ramsey, Wabasha, and Washington, with a $5 minimum deposit in a Membership Savings Account. Credit unions are financial institutions owned by their accountholders, and member funds are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) up to at least $250,000.
Private Security During COVID-19 Pandemic Plays Essential Public Safety Role
DAVENPORT, Iowa – Per Mar Security Services is proud to be a longtime member of the National Association of Security Companies (NASCO), the nation's largest contract security association whose member companies employ over 450,000 highly-trained security officers across the United States. In an April 15 press release, NASCO recognizes the essential public safety role private security officers are playing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. With current strains on our first responders, private security officers are stepping up to protect the citizens of the communities we live in and the critical infrastructure needed to provide medical care and sustain economic demand.
Brad Duffy, President of Security Officer Services, said, “We are grateful for our front line employees providing security and public safety during this pandemic. They, along with many other essential employees in the country, are making great sacrifices to help others during this time.”
View NASCO’s full press release below.
Recognizing the Essential Public Safety Role of Private Security During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Private Security Officers are on the Front Line Everywhere in Maintaining Public Order and Security in the Current Crisis
Washington, D.C., April 15, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – NASCO salutes security officers across the United States who are playing a crucial role in public safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic. There are over 1,000,000 private security officers in the United States, outnumbering public law enforcement personnel by a margin of more than two to one. As the current crisis severely strains law enforcement resources, private security companies and their dedicated, hardworking security officers increasingly are being relied upon to provide vital security and support, including maintaining social distancing and other health and safety requirements, at hospitals, government facilities, and essential businesses. They are also safeguarding non-essential businesses and other venues such as schools that have been closed but still require security. While such public-facing roles come with increased public exposure, security officers throughout the U.S. are showing up for duty every day.
Recognizing the essential nature of private security and private security officers during this crisis, the Department of Homeland Security/Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency includes “personnel (front line and management)” in “private security” in the category of essential critical workers related to “Law Enforcement, Public Safety and Other First Responders”. Also, included in that important category is “Security staff to maintain building access control and physical security measures.”
In the United States, the vast majority of security officers are employed by contract private security companies. This means the security officers currently providing security and public safety services on-site at medical centers, critical infrastructure and manufacturing facilities, nursing homes, grocery and hardware stores – practically everywhere – are not employees of those essential businesses. Nonetheless, it is those contract private security officers and their companies who are ensuring the safe, continued operation of those essential businesses. Their contributions are often overlooked by politicians and the media.
Accordingly, as Congress, the Federal government and state and local governments look to provide accommodations or premium compensation to essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the essential service role played by security officers and the essential business role played by private security companies cannot be overstated, nor overlooked.
It is also important that with law enforcement, first responders, and private security officers being sidelined by the coronavirus – as security needs are increasing – that governmental entities maintain and facilitate the licensing and hiring of new security officers, and not impede them from going to work.
ECPSF ANNOUNCES INTERNET ACCESS SUPPORT FOR EAU CLAIRE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT
A local retiree recently donated $10,000 to the Eau Claire Public Schools Foundation with an eye on supporting internet access and connectivity costs for Eau Claire Area School District (ECASD) students and teachers who are managing education from home.
Given the governor’s stay-at-home extension, school buildings will remain closed for the duration of the 2019-20 school year, leaving students and teachers to continue navigating online learning and teaching.
The shift to online education has been especially difficult for families in rural areas who may not have adequate internet access and for those who cannot afford the cost of connectivity.
Katie Dewitz, who is also a first-generation college graduate, saw the change in the educational model and wanted to help.
“I am motivated to help kids from lower-income families because I know that a good education is vital, not just in one's career but also in one's being an informed citizen,” Dewitz said. “Concerned that the distance learning required by the pandemic may not be available to students in have-not families, I decided to try to do something about it.”
Ms. Dewitz’ gift will support internet access and connectivity costs for ECASD students, families, and teachers. To learn more, or to make a gift to the Districtwide Greatest Needs Fund, visit www.ecpsfound.org. Donations can also be mailed to ECPSF, PO Box 511, Eau Claire, WI 54702. For information about making a gift through an IRA rollover or gift of from of stock, please contact Executive Director Sarah French at 715-852-3015 or email@example.com.
THE EAU CLAIRE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION & UNITED WAY OF THE GREATER CHIPPEWA VALLEY ANNOUNCE $223,850 AWARDED TO AREA NONPROFITS SO FAR!
[EAU CLAIRE, WI] Through the generosity of many donors, community partners, and Pablo Foundation Inc., $223,850 has been awarded to more than 30 area nonprofits in just three weeks of granting from the Quick Response Community Fund.
The Quick Response Community Fund, established by the Eau Claire Community Foundation (ECCF) and United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley (UWGCV) rapidly deploys financial resources to Eau Claire area nonprofits that serve community members disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak and its economic consequences. It also supports urgent operational needs.
Over $50,000 was awarded to eleven area nonprofits in the third week of granting. For a complete list of grantees, visit the ECCF website’s News Tab.
While the amount granted so far is impressive, local nonprofits still have many urgent needs. That’s why the Quick Response Community Fund will continue to issue new grants each week. Interested organizations can apply online at the Eau Claire Community Foundation website. By issuing grants on a rolling basis, the Fund aims to move resources quickly and adapt to evolving community needs.
Gifts to the Fund play a vital role in continuing this much-needed support. To encourage donations from the community, Royal Credit Union, the Dick and Marlene Cable Family Fund, the Larson Family Fund, and two anonymous donors are challenging our community to raise $50,000, which they will match. This challenge will generate another $100,000 for area nonprofits!
Because ECCF is covering administrative fees, 100% of donations will support local nonprofits. If you would like to make a gift, please visit www.eccfwi.org.
"We appreciate the vital collaboration with the Eau Claire Community Foundation in service to our community members and nonprofit partners. United Way has always existed for the common good - adding value to individual effort with leadership, wisdom and focus. The Foundation and United Way share fundamental values. These values drive our work and offer the community a trustworthy path to giving," explained Karen Hebert, Interim Director of UWGCV.
“Our thoughts are with those individuals, families, organizations and businesses most affected,” said Sue Bornick, Executive Director of ECCF. “Despite the uncertainly we are all facing, we embrace the fact that we live in a caring and compassionate community where good continually grows. We will continue to navigate this unprecedented time together and be stronger for all we have endured.”
CVTC Gala Sponsors Donate Funds to Help Students
Would Your Business Like to Accept Chamber Buy Local Bucks?
Send us an email and we can get you added to the list along with over 600 other Chamber member businesses that accept Chamber Buy Local Bucks. They are easy to use, can be deposited like a personal check & help keep money in Eau Claire! This is also a great way to support your fellow Chamber members!
How can my business use Chamber Bucks?
The survey is distributed the week of March 16, due back by May 15, and is published in mid-July. We are proud to be covering employers from nine chambers of commerce including Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, La Crosse, Marshfield, Menomonie, Portage County, Rice Lake, Wausau, and Wisconsin Rapids. Also involved are the local chapters of Society of Human Resource Management in the Chippewa Valley, La Crosse, Wausau and Winona. We need area employers to contribute their data in order to keep the wage survey viable and relevant; data is kept confidential. We have made it easy to participate, so please review the instructions and complete the forms. All documents for survey participation is on the Eau Claire Chamber's website.
There is a minimal cost to receive the report when it is available in mid-July, and chamber, CVSHRM, and Wipfli HR Forum membership qualifies businesses for discounted pricing.
If you have any questions, please contact Danielle Kummer at (715) 858-0618.
Chamber Job Board
Workforce News and Resources
Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce
“Wisconsin’s Registered Apprenticeship program has been a successful way to provide individuals with necessary training in a variety of industries since it started in 1911,” said Chris Reader, Senior Director of Workforce & Employment Policy at Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC). “The final DOL rule establishing an industry-recognized program will offer employers yet another option to fill the significant number of job openings we have in the state.”
Working From Home
How to WFH (Work from Home)
Passionate Technologist, Entrepreneur & Crypto Enthusiast
As someone that has worked from a home office for almost 3 years in Montreal, serving customers around the world, I've had a lot of experience with the WFH model. Below are some of my thoughts on how to leverage technology to enhance your productivity as you consider WFH for yourself or your employees.
As more and more companies look to adjust their current work models to enable work from home scenarios as a result of the spread of Covid 19, there are three key elements that they need to consider in order to retain the effectiveness and efficiencies of their workforce as they leave the office and work from home.
Successful work from home models requires the right mix of Communication, Collaboration, and Security. Luckily, as a result of ever-growing popularity of cloud technologies, it has never been easier to recreate them in-office or on-premise experience while working from home. Below are some of the ways companies can leverage SaaS and cloud technologies to run their businesses remotely.
3 tips to help you work from home
I grow High Tech Companies, especially Cyber Security ones
So now that we have a pandemic on our hands we are going to see more employers asking employees to work from home. I am someone who from time to time has spent periods working from home and have picked up some best practices. For the record I am NOT a big fan of working from home, either personally or for my staff. That is not to say that I cannot do it as I can, nor that I have not had team members who excel at it as I have. It is something which is hard to do well and requires levels of disciplines and personal sacrifice that seem unreasonable in your own home. There are however three things I think you can do to make it work better.
- Keep your normal hours
- Dress to impress
COVID-19 Critical Business Updates
The Chamber is posting all live updates, webinars and resources to the website regarding COVID-19. Please use this resource for the most up to date information.
Recorded on Thursday, March 26
An online opportunity to hear about business resources available to deal with COVID-19 and ask questions. Guests include Luke Hanson, Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corp.; Heather Smith, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., and Aaron White, Economic Development Director, City of Eau Claire.
This event was recorded. Click here to see the video (about 1 hour).
Click here to download the Resource Guide referenced in the video
Click here to download the text of the chat box from the video
CARES Act signed by the President; Includes forgivable loans to small businesses to keep workers employed
The bill allocates $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the “Paycheck Protection Program,” the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses who maintain their payroll during this emergency. Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward.
The US Chamber of Commerce has developed a Guide and Checklist to help small businesses understand and use this program. Click below to access it:
The CARES Act also includes direct payments of $1200 to individuals, a corporate relief fund, an extension and increase in unemployment benefits (including help for self-employed individuals), tax incentives for businesses to keep people on the payroll, aid to the health care system, and funding for state and local governments.
US Chamber: Comprehensive analysis of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
Federal “CARES” Act Summary (Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce)
Small Business Owner's Guide to the CARES Act (US Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship)
Immediate help for Organizations who are laying off workers or closing
"The West Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board is here to help. We can help those affected immediately!"
- Jon Menz – Chief Executive Officer
Rapid Response Services for employers with employees being layed-off
Contact: Dave Paulson - Director of Business Development
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development – Employee Layoffs, Company Closures, WARN Notices: State of Wisconsin
Workforce Resource, Inc. – Eligibility for Dislocated Workers or Inquiries for Services
Dislocated Worker Hotline: 855-792-5439
Also includes W2 Emergency Assistance, Food Share, and other services. Click on the link below to find out if you are eligible (once you are at the website splash page click on ‘WRI Application’
- Preparing Workplaces for Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact
- Responding to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact
- Layoff/Furlough/Closing Plans
- Sample Workplace Policies
- CDC, DOL, OSHA, EEOC Resource Information
Images and Infographics for use
Eau Claire Chamber Workforce Initiatives
Workforce Policy Advocacy
* Inspire Connections
* Momentum West Regional Talent Initiative
* Chippewa Valley Housing Task Force
Awards & Recognitions
Business Of The Week
COVID 19 Information
Leadership Eau Claire™
Ribbon Cuttings & Groundbreakings
Small Street Journal
Young Professionals Of The Chippewa Valley
Youth Leadership Eau Claire
Eau Claire Chamber
The Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce has more than 1,200 members.