Raising hope

Hoboken to raise $2 million for Hoboken Relief Fund; virtual concert May 16

The Hoboken Relief Fund seeks to help businesses and individuals financially hurting from COVID-19.
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The Hoboken Relief Fund seeks to help businesses and individuals financially hurting from COVID-19.

The Hoboken community will come together on Saturday May 16 to raise money for the Hoboken Relief Fund, with an inaugural virtual concert.

Council President Jen Giattino, Councilman Phil Cohen, and Mayor Ravi Bhalla announced the fund to support independently-owned Hoboken businesses and Hoboken residents who have been negatively impacted economically due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a Nixle alert form the city, the fund will invest in Hoboken’s local economy, helping small businesses get back on their feet, as well as helping Hoboken’s vulnerable residents, families, and seniors.

Hoboken hopes to raise at least $2 million.

“I’m thrilled that this relief fund is launching in Hoboken to help provide a helping hand to those in need,” Bhalla said. “This fund is an ideal way to give back to our community to help Hoboken recover from this crisis, and I encourage anyone who can afford to donate to please do so. I thank Council members Jen Giattino and Phil Cohen and the entire board for helping make this critical relief effort possible for our mile square.”

The inaugural event for the Hoboken Relief Fund will be a concert featuring Hoboken artists performing songs to benefit the fund on Saturday, May 16, which will be broadcast on the City of Hoboken’s Facebook page.

The event will be co-hosted by Bhalla and famous Hoboken businessman, Buddy “the Cake Boss” Valastro.

“Without our small businesses there would be a gaping hole in the heart and soul of our community,” said Giattino, the fund’s co-chair. “I am very excited to have the opportunity to ensure that our small businesses will be supported, and I am hopeful that they will be able to receive funding that will help secure their future.”

Fund Co-Chair Phil Cohen added, “It is amazing to see Hoboken’s musicians and Hoboken’s celebrity chef, Buddy Valastro, come together and support our local businesses and families who are hurting right now.  Our benefit concert will be an exciting kickoff to our Fund’s goal of raising $2 million. The Fund’s hardworking Board of Trustees and Interfaith advisors reflect the best of Hoboken — community leaders and business leaders pulling together to persevere in the face of an unprecedented crisis.”

Hoboken Relief Fund’s Board of Trustees will comprise local leaders and business professionals, including developer Joe Barry, David Bistany of the Hoboboken Rotary Club, council members Giattino and Cohen, Donna Garban of the Hoboken Business Alliance, Irene Perello, Grant Sahag, and Lavon Smith.

The funds interfaith advisers include Rabbi Robert Scheinberg and Rev. Elaine Ellis Thomas.

Hoboken’s Administrator of Cultural Affairs, Geri Fallo, will be the city/ arts community liaison.

How to apply

Residents and business owners can apply for the funds online before June 5 at www.HobokenReliefFund.com.

For individuals, the application asks for information on finances before the COVID‐19 crisis as of March 16, during the crisis, and plans are for recovery after the crisis.

It also asks what the individual’s unmet needs are and how the Hoboken Relief Fund can assist with survival.

To be considered for the funds, the applicant must be a Hoboken resident who has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Eligible individuals are those with less than $75,000 in adjusted gross income.

Individuals who received federal and state relief may be given less under the program.

For businesses, the application gathers information on how the business operated before the COVID‐19 crisis as of March 16, during the crisis, the businesses’ plans for recovery after the crisis, what its unmet needs are, and how the Hoboken Relief Fund can assist in survival.

Applicant must be a business owner who operates an independent business from a physical retail address in Hoboken, who has been negatively impacted by the restrictions placed on commerce starting in March.

Eligible businesses are those with less than $2.5 million in annual revenues and less than 20 full time employees. Businesses that received federal and state grants and loans may be given less funding.

Nonprofit organizations are not eligible for the program. At this point, neither are professional services.

Companies and individuals who would like to donate or apply to the Hoboken Relief Fund can visit www.HobokenReliefFund.com.

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.