Port of South Whidbey offering grants

The Port of South Whidbey has created an emergency grants program, with the hope that more small businesses and nonprofits will apply for the remaining funds.

Executive Director Stan Reeves said the funds, which total $30,000, were diverted from tourism development grants, which they were originally budgeted for. Many events that the funds would have otherwise supported were canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, nonprofits and businesses with under 20 full-time employees can apply to receive up to $1,000 in reimbursement for operational expenses incurred since the beginning of the pandemic by providing receipts as far back as March 16.

“It’s pretty simple because these are businesses that have been trying to stay open for the most part, and they’ve already incurred these expenses and most of them already have the receipts sitting on their desks,” Reeves said.

As of Thursday afternoon, there has been around $18,000 requested by 21 businesses and nonprofits. About half, $9,000, of this will be paid out this month, and the rest in June. This means that there is nearly $12,000 remaining for other organizations to apply for.

“Right now, not as many are applying as we thought,” Reeves said.

Applicants must be located within the Port of South Whidbey’s district, which has the same bounds as the South Whidbey School District and the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District.

The deadline to apply has been extended to May 31, or until the funds have been exhausted. Reeves said it is possible that if the demand is present, the Port commissioners may choose to divert more funds into the emergency grants program.

The grant application can be accessed on the website, portofsouthwhidbey.com, and emailed to execdir@portofsouthwhidbey.com or mailed to Port of South Whidbey, PO Box 872, Freeland, WA 98249.