Community Impact

CareSource Foundation Contributes $1 Million to Local Economies during COVID-19

July 1st, 2020 | 8 min read

A black woman stands at the door of a business wearing a mask and holding a sign saying they're open.

Over the past two months, the CareSource Foundation has made strategic gifts to help local communities survive the health and economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The nationally-recognized health plan’s foundation recently pivoted its charitable resources to support front line health care providers, to meet the variable community needs around social determinants of health and, most recently, to support small businesses in its local markets.

“CareSource is fortunate to be in a position where our members, employees and partners benefit from the services local businesses provide in our communities," said Erhardt Preitauer, president and CEO of CareSource. "We are proud to help continue the momentum we see across the country of reopening businesses while protecting public health.”

The REOPEN Downtown Dayton Grant Program in Ohio

The Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Dayton Partnership announced May 15th the opening of REOPEN Downtown Dayton, a grant program designed to provide immediate relief to downtown Dayton businesses harmed by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CareSource Foundation kick-started the REOPEN Downtown Dayton Grant Program with a donation of $500,000.

“Dayton is CareSource’s hometown and it’s difficult to see our local businesses hurting right now. Many of our members are employed in the service industry and we see this investment in the community as an extension of our mission to provide a safety net for our members and for those in need,” said Erhardt Preitauer, president and CEO. “Dayton is an ecosystem and we need to work together to help businesses get back on their feet. Dayton has always been there for CareSource, and as we grow, we will continue to be there for Dayton.”

REOPEN Downtown Dayton Grant applications were considered by a panel of Dayton area business leaders and grants awarded based on the merit of the applicant. The program issued individual awards between $1,000 and $10,000 to downtown Dayton businesses as a form of gap funding. Of the small businesses receiving grant funding, 29.5% are minority-owned and 49.1% are woman-owned.

“Many of the businesses in the core of our region have been forced to close their doors to customers as we take the steps necessary to combat the COVID-19 health crisis. It’s vital that we do what we can to help them reopen responsibly and bring vibrancy back to our city. That’s what this grant program aims to do,” said Chris Kershner, executive vice president, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Downtown’s $1.55 billion revitalization is thanks, in part, to the success of our community of small businesses,” said Sandra Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership. “Our service industry businesses alone represent thousands of jobs, not to mention the fact that having such a unique collection of locally owned businesses makes downtown Dayton a desirable place to live and work. These small businesses are crucial to the long-term success of our city.”

Ready to Restart Program with the Indy Chamber’s Business Ownership Initiative in Indiana

On June 11th, the Indy Chamber announced the Ready to Restart program to help entrepreneurs and small business owners purchase necessary PPE and other health and safety-related items or services. The CareSource Foundation initiated the program with a donation of $180,000.

“The only way we can continue to help small businesses in the midst of this turbulent time is through the support of organizations like CareSource,” notes Michael Huber, Indy Chamber president and CEO. “This investment will help hundreds of small businesses reopen and recover from the impact of COVID-19. We appreciate CareSource for valuing the health and vitality of our community.”

“As a leading insurer for small businesses through Marketplace, CareSource understands the financial impact COVID-19 has had on their livelihoods,” said Steve Smitherman, Indiana Market President at CareSource. “Partnering with the Indy Chamber for the Ready to Restart Program is a clear way we can help our fellow Hoosiers.”

The RESTORE ATL Fund with the Metro Atlanta Chamber in Georgia

The Metro Atlanta Chamber announced on June 22nd the CareSource Foundation donated $180,000 for the RESTORE ATL Fund. The fund supports Black-owned small and medium-sized businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“CareSource’s donation to the RESTORE ATL Fund will make a holistic impact on our communities and in turn to our members,” said Bobby Jones, Georgia Market President at CareSource. “We are proud to support our fellow Georgians through the COVID-19 pandemic as a partner of the Metro Atlanta Chamber.”

The RESTORE ATL Fund will provide immediate gap assistance to affected businesses in metro Atlanta through the distribution of grants in the amounts of $5,000-$10,000. The funds can be used for operating expenses including rent, utilities, payroll and other business-related needs. The Fund builds on the work of MAC’s RESTORE task force, a diverse group of business leaders aiming to provide a blueprint for how metro Atlanta and Georgia might accelerate economic recovery. 

“While we recognize that this fund will be a small step to restoring our region’s economy, we are proud to build on the work of RESTORE, as well as our understanding of the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on our region’s Black community,” said Metro Atlanta Chamber president and CEO Katie Kirkpatrick. “Atlanta has long been known as a place where Black entrepreneurs have had success. We want to honor this important part of our legacy and support Black-owned businesses. We appreciate the CareSource Foundation for its generous donation as we position our region for the future.”

Frankfort First Foundation for the REOPEN Frankfort Grant Fund in Kentucky

The CareSource Foundation donated $90,000 to the Frankfort First Foundation for the REOPEN Frankfort Grant Fund that supports small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic on June 3rd. Funds will help businesses pay rent, employee salaries and operating costs as a stop-gap relief pending the release and distribution of anticipated federal and state aid with grants available as contributions allow.

“CareSource’s history of supporting both the health of our members and the surrounding communities made our choice to support the REOPEN Frankfort Grant Fund quite clear,” shared Mike Taylor, Kentucky Market President at CareSource. “We are proud to help our local Kentuckians through these unprecedented times as a partner of the Frankfort Area Chamber of Commerce.”​

“The REOPEN Frankfort Grant Program is an example of open-hearted community investment that will enhance what is currently available to our local businesses in need, and hopefully bring immediate support to our Frankfort business community,” said Carmen Inman, president/CEO of the Frankfort Area Chamber of Commerce. “The Frankfort Area Chamber and Frankfort First Foundation Board of Directors are excited and so honored with the CareSource Foundation Grant.”

The Back to Business Kanawha Valley Grant Program in West Virginia

CareSource donated $50,000 to the Charleston Area Alliance to help support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The donation was m​ade for the Back to Business Kanawha Valley Grant Program. The money can be used to help businesses pay rent, employee salaries and operating costs as a stop-gap relief pending the release of anticipated federal and state aid with grants available as contributions allow. 

“It’s very important that we help open up some of the cities we do business in, Charleston being one,” shared Mike Taylor, West Virginia and Kentucky Market President. “The more we can get those businesses open and help do that, the more people are going to feel better about the situation and get out and about, and help support those businesses. We are proud to help our local West Virginians through these unprecedented times as a partner to the Charleston Area Alliance.”

Matt Ballard, President and CEO of the Charleston Area Alliance said, "“These Back to Business Kanawha Valley grants aim to provide a bit of relief as we navigate a new normal in the age of COVID-19. The Alliance commends CareSource for their leadership and vision to fund these efforts.”​​