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Lady Liberty

Give me your tired, your poor,
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The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Monday, September 12, 2005

A Gift That Will Keep on Giving: The Small Business Disaster Relief Fund
posted by Bathus

A little over a week ago, when the putrid wind of post-Katrina political opportunism had yet to gather hurricane strength, I counseled Adeimantus readers that we all should try to resist the only-too-human proclivity to dissipate our frustration by descending into mutual recriminations at the height of a crisis, that we should all try to find ways to contribute positively to dealing with the challenges at hand, rather than wasting time and energy undermining our leaderships' efforts to do so.

With appropriate modesty, I am happy to report that my advice achieved its intended result--if not on a national scale, at least among faithful Adeimantus readers. Among those who read my recent post on this topic (a readership whose number easily surpasses low double digits), the level of carping dropped substantially as they turned their thoughts and efforts toward doing something positive to help people affected by the disaster.

One especially noteworthy example of a person who has eschewed public carping in favor of doing positive good work is my longtime online friend, Dan Juneau, president of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI). As a native son of the bayou and as a politically astute proponent of Louisiana business interests, Dan has a particularly good insight into the conditions, both recent and long-standing, that contributed to the successes and failures in the preparation for and the response to Hurricane Katrina. If he were inclined to do so, Dan could have used this disaster as a golden opportunity to make political life miserable for quite a number of prominent local, state, and national leaders on either side of the ideological divide. But instead of descending into political opportunism, Dan chose to highlight and to address a need the importance of which cannot be over-emphasized. Under Dan's capable leadership, LABI, in conjunction with the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, quickly established the Small Business Disaster Relief Fund to assist qualified small business owners in getting their operations back up and running.

We all know that meeting the immediate basic human needs of individuals displaced by this disaster has been the matter of most pressing concern. Yet, over the long haul, re-animating the economy that will make it possible for those individuals to lead productive lives independent of government assistance is perhaps even more important. In that process, the re-establishment of small businesses is the vital precondition to the long-term recovery of New Orleans and the region.

This revitalization of small business must be accomplished as rapidly as possible because small businesses provide the majority of jobs, and, as Dan Juneau wisely points out, if there are no jobs to return to, people simply will not return:
The rapid recovery of small businesses is the biggest factor in the preservation of the workforce on the Gulf Coast. If there are no jobs, there is no future-and workers will go where they can work.

It is incumbent upon those handling the public and private relief and reconstruction efforts (which follow closely behind the rescue effort) to do everything in their power to assist small businesses in their efforts to reopen and re-employ their workers.

To assist in that regard, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry-with the assistance of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation-has created a Small Business Disaster Relief Fund. The fund will provide start-up grants to Gulf Coast businesses severely impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Contributions to the fund-dollar for dollar-will be used to help get as many small businesses back into business as possible. The grants will serve as "gap funding" for things not covered by insurance. Beginning September 15, the grant application form and details can be accessed via the LABI Web site. Any business in one of the federally designated disaster parishes or counties with fewer than 100 employees on August 29, 2005 that suffered significant damage or disruption due to the hurricane is eligible to apply. Volunteers recruited from the CPA Society, the local Bar Association, and the Independent Insurance Agents will screen the applications in an anonymous system to ensure fairness.
Many of you have already dug deep into your wallets, your closets, and your cupboards to help meet the immediate essential needs of Hurricane Katrina's victims. But now I'm asking you to please dig a little deeper and to click here to give a gift that will keep on giving, a contribution to the Small Business Disaster Relief Fund.

posted by Bathus | 9/12/2005 03:30:00 PM
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Blogger Guy Barry said...

I hope you collect plenty for Katrina

2:21 PM, November 04, 2006  

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