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LVEDC, Guardian Life Provide Grants to Companies Impacted by COVID-19

By Colin McEvoy on August 21, 2020

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) and The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian Life) are working together to assist Lehigh Valley women- and minority-owned businesses who have faced economic difficulties due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The two organizations have partnered on the release of COVID-19 business assistance grants to eight businesses in the region, each of which will receive $2,000. The grants were distributed this month.

“We are proud to provide these grants in collaboration with Guardian Life to support Lehigh Valley small businesses,” said Jaime Whalen, LVEDC Vice President of Administration and Investor Relations and Chief of Staff. “LVEDC is dedicated to assisting the business community, particularly during these uncertain economic times, by collaborating with our stakeholders and building partnerships that support regional companies and the Lehigh Valley.”

Guardian Life provided the funds to LVEDC, which assisted in identifying the companies and handled the distribution of the grants. The funds do not need to be repaid, and the recipients were not required to sign any contracts or agreements.

“Small business are the foundation of our community and economy, so we are proud to partner with LVEDC in hopes our investment provides additional relief to women and minority small business owners in the Lehigh Valley,” said Kimberly Delaney, Vice President, Strategic Transformation at Guardian Life.

The companies that each received a $2,000 grant are:

  • A1 Electric, Plumbing & Heating, LLC
  • Applause Plumbing and Heating LLC
  • Forever Friends Child Care LLC
  • Fresh Hills Market Ltd.
  • gym tiME, LLC
  • Homeway Real Estate, LLC
  • Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • Sahl Communications

Kim I. Plyler, CEO of Sahl Communications, a female veteran-owned communications firm, expressed gratitude for the grant, and for LVEDC’s and Guardian Life’s “outstanding work in helping small business through this ever-changing business landscape.”

“It is through the generosity and kindness of grants like these that small businesses can continue to have a major impact here in the Lehigh Valley,” Plyler said. “We are honored to be a recipient and will put the grant to good use in maintaining our staff.”

It is particularly important to provide assistance to women- and minority-owned businesses, which on a national level have “traditionally been discriminated against and disadvantaged when seeking financial services,” according to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

There are 2,092 women-owned businesses in Lehigh Valley, 86% of which employer fewer than 10 people. The region has 290 minority-owned businesses, 70 of which are in the professional, scientific, and technical services sector.

Guardian Life has also worked with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Save Small Business Fund to secure $80,000 in grants for small businesses that had applied for that Fund and were women- or minority-owned or focused on healthcare. To date, the Save Small Business Fund has distributed 720 financial impact grants around the country.

Visit here for more information about how Guardian Life is helping employers adapt and learn for the future during the COVID-19 crisis. Guardian Life is a Fortune 250 mutual company with more than 9,000 employees globally and a network of more than 2,500 financial representatives.

Throughout the pandemic, LVEDC has been providing regional companies and stakeholders with information about emergency financing programs, in part through the organization’s dedicated COVID-19 resources page and financing page.

The organization has also submitted 26 loan applications totaling $2.3 million in financing for companies in Lehigh and Northampton counties through the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority’s COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program.

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