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AAEDC - Customer and Employee Protection Grant Application

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Vitamin® Helps Fund $29.5 Million, Fuels Maryland’s Small Business Pandemic Comeback in Anne Arundel County through Critical Online Portals

Vitamin

New Nonprofit Portal now live offering $4 Million In Funds

Baltimore, Md. – In collaboration with the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation (AAEDC), the digital-first integrated marketing agency Vitamin® has designed, developed, managed, and launched five CARES Act grant application portals in partnership with AAEDC, one of Maryland’s largest counties. The five portals designed and deployed to date include:

  • Customer & Employee Protection Grant Program – Grants up to $10,000
  • Childcare Working Capital Grant Program – Grants up to $50,000
  • Restaurant + Food Service Grant Program – Grants offered in three rounds of funding
  • Hotel Relief Grant Program – Grants up to $25,000
  • Nonprofit Economic Development Recovery Grant Application – Grants up to $10,000

The Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation (AAEDC) once again turned to Vitamin® for the critical launch of a new small business grant application portal. The Baltimore-based digital-first integrated marketing agency has designed, developed, and managed the deployment of a new online application portal to help nonprofits, called the Non-Profit Economic Development Recovery Grant Program. With the addition of this new grant application system, Vitamin has provided a total of five such CARES Act grant applications for AAEDC since the pandemic began. All told, the portals have helped deliver nearly $29.5 million in grants to local businesses.

“When the pandemic began, many county residents leaned on our local nonprofits for support. And now those same groups can lean on AAEDC,” says Rosa Cruz, AAEDC’s vice president of communications. “Because of the platform that we created in partnership with Vitamin, we are able to deploy online application systems quickly and efficiently, with confidence that candidates will be able to reliably submit their applications via a streamlined process and user experience.”

Nonprofits have been hit especially hard by the pandemic, spurring AAEDC officials to create an easily-accessible avenue for the social service community to apply for emergency funds. According to County Executive Steuart Pittman, the program “ensures that these organizations continue to have the staffing and bandwidth to carry out their important missions.” Supported by nearly $1.9 million from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the Vitamin-designed application portals makes the process seamless and most importantly reliable in their ability to process applications so money can be quickly and accurately deployed.

In addition to the launch of the new grant portal for nonprofits, in partnership with Vitamin, AAEDC re-opened its successful RFS grant for restaurants and food services, with an additional $2.1 million in funds. After its original debut in October 2020, the RFS program saw a significant response, granting up to $10,000 to individual eat-in and non drive-thru restaurants, bed and breakfasts, caterers, wineries, and breweries, with $5,000 available for food trucks. Funds can be used to overcome revenue shortfalls from the pandemic, make capital or safety improvements, and support staffing.

In June 2020, Vitamin designed, developed, managed and launched AAEDC’s first grant application site for the county’s Small Business Customer and Employee Protection Grant Program (CEP), which was a resounding success. The CEP allowed qualified small business owners to apply for up to $10,000, using the money for the reimbursement or purchase of products and services that would allow them to incorporate new safety measures and propel successful reopenings during the pandemic. The online application’s reliability and ease of use proved to be instrumental to its success and as a result, helped hundreds of business owners. One applicant and portal user summed up the simplicity and ease of use by saying, “This experience is by far the most efficient and streamlined I have experienced through this entire COVID19 debacle.” Vitamin then followed up the CEP grant portal with two more CARES Act grant application platforms, one to support local childcare providers and another for the hotel industry.

“It’s been extremely rewarding and fulfilling to be a part of these projects for AAEDC,” says Vitamin President and CEO Amanda Karfakis. “Each grant application represents a business, nonprofit, or organization that is a part of the community and in many cases, supporting the community as a provider, employer, or neighbor. We’re honored by the trust that AAEDC has put in our team to develop and launch these platforms that, in some cases, have meant the difference between having an open sign in a store window, versus a sign that reads ‘store closing’.”

Vitamin’s relationship with AAEDC began in 2016 with a digital project for the organization’s new website. Since then, the agency has provided several additional technology solutions, website maintenance, public relations support, and press tour orchestration, while continuing to provide expert counsel whenever needed.

About Vitamin®
Vitamin® is the “Cure for the Common Brand®,” a full-service, digital-first agency providing clients with high-quality, process-driven deliverables within the disciplines of branding, website design and development, SEO/SEM, media & advertising, print, public relations, and social media. Founded in 2002, the Baltimore-based agency specializes in integrated, deeply branded experiences that define clients and bring their unique differences to life with a focus on inbound lead generation and lead nurturing. Vertical expertise includes banking, built environment, commercial real estate, financial services, healthcare & human services, manufacturing, and non-profit market sectors. Vitamin is a certified MBE/DBE/SBE by the Maryland DOT.

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