Local Residents and Elected Officials Launch Loan Program for Small Businesses in Rhinebeck

NEW YORK – Rhinebeck resident Michael Clark and his friend and business partner Greg Perlman, are joining a new movement in giving to help small business owners in the town of Rhinebeck in Dutchess County, New York. Through their donation to The Change Reaction, Clark and Perlman have set up a Small Business Relief Fund with the Hebrew Free Loan Society and will make up to $200,000 in 0%-interest loans available to Rhinebeck-based small business owners and independent contractors who have been affected by the recent economic shutdown caused by COVID-19. All loan payments will go back into the pool for future loans in Rhinebeck, providing the borrowers with a way to pay it forward. In addition, Clark is making a $25,000 donation to the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley to seed the new fund established by Rhinebeck Responds to provide small grants of up to $5,000 to those in need.

“I became a Rhinebeck resident last year and instantly fell in love with the spirit of the town. In this crisis there is opportunity to help. This is about helping small businesses, entrepreneurs and hard working people that have made our lives so special and are the fabric of our town. Many of us have been blessed and now, more than ever, we need to step up. The Change Reaction is a movement – where people with means can directly help others in their community. Local residents helping their fellow residents, that is what it is all about. Originally we wanted to do this anonymously, but I want people to know that anyone can help. I hope this initial funding will inspire others to join the movement and create their own programs. Together we can all win.” Michael Clark

Rhinebeck Town Supervisor Elizabeth Spinzia, Village Mayor Gary Bassett and Dutchess County Legislator Brennan Kearney shared the following thoughts: “As elected officials, it is always our goal to grow strong relationships to help our community. Rhinebeck’s friendship with Michael Clark has blossomed into a wonderful opportunity at a critical time to support our local businesses. The Change Reaction epitomizes the spirit of Rhinebeck - neighbors helping neighbors. We are so grateful for their interest free loan program and $25,000 donation to seed the Rhinebeck Responds Local Business Grant program. We remain committed to supporting our local businesses. Having this opportunity for our businesses to receive much needed financial assistance so that they remain the heart of Rhinebeck and can continue through and beyond this difficult time is important to us as local officials.”

“This Covid pandemic and economic collapse are threatening the survival of Rhinebeck's small independent businesses, including mine. We are enormously grateful to Mike Clark for so generously stepping up to help. We hope others in Rhinebeck will quickly come forward and contribute to this financial aid program,” said Lila Pague, owner of Winter Sun Summer Moon and Co-Chair of Rhinebeck Responds' Small Business Committee.

The Change Reaction Small Business Relief Fund will offer two types of interest-free loans to local businesses: 1) 0% interest loans up to $25,000 for small businesses that are currently operating and need support to get through this time of reduced revenue, and 2) loans of up to

$7,500 for independent contractors and small business owners who have been required to close or cease operating due to the state’s PAUSE order.

Small businesses owners and independent contractors working in Rhinebeck who have experienced financial hardship attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic will be eligible to apply for the loans. Loans will be repayable in equal installments over the course of 24 to 36 months, after a grace period of three months. Businesses must have normal revenues of $1M or less and 15 or fewer employees to qualify.

For both types of loans, no guarantors or collateral are required. Individuals seeking loans must fill out an application that includes authorization to obtain a credit report. Proof of on-time rent payments for the twelve months up to and including March 2020 is a requisite of eligibility.

Applicants will be contacted within two business days of applying, and decisions on most loans will be made within five business days.

“What we’re trying to do here is provide a simple, streamlined process to continue helping local small businesses in need,” said Greg Perlman, founder of The Change Reaction. “We are partnering with philanthropic people around the nation to give local and give direct. We all have a role to play in supporting the most vulnerable during this crisis. My business partner, Michael Clark, and I have decided to substantially increase our philanthropy during this crisis because if not now, when? I’m glad that in partnership with The Change Reaction and the Hebrew Free Loan Society we can provide some relief.”

The Rhinebeck focused Small Business Relief Fund is part of a bicoastal effort by The Change Reaction to partner with generous local donors and elected officials to support small businesses in communities around the country.

About the Hebrew Free Loan Society

Since its founding in 1892, The Hebrew Free Loan Society has provided more than $375 million in interest-free loans to nearly 900,000 borrowers. Their repayment rate throughout their 128- year history has been over 99%. As their loans are repaid, the capital is lent out again and again, helping more people and multiplying the impact of the same dollars over time.

The online application for the loans is here: https://www.tfaforms.com/4824201