September 8, 2005

As the relief effort continues for the areas affected by the devastation of hurricane katrina, we first want to applaud the tremendous efforts by corporate Florida in it's giving through various channels to those that are in need.  

We know that many corporations are continuing to look for areas that need assistance.  Through our partnership with the Council of State Manufacturing Associations (COSMA), we believe we have found such a worthy need that all of the business community in Florida can feel good about contributing to.

We have heard from our good friends over at the Louisiana Association of Business & Industry (LABI) that they are participating in an effort to assist small businesses that have been affected.  Below you can read a notice that we recently received from them on what is being set-up to assist the small business community there:

From: Dan Juneau, President - Louisiana Association of Business & Industry 
Date: Sept. 8, 2005 
Re: Small Business Disaster Relief Fund

As you can fully understand, we have many challenges here in Louisiana, as do our friends in Mississippi and Alabama. In 24 hours, we lost about a third of our economy here, and I am sure my colleagues in the other two states were seriously affected as well.

Our first priority is to try to get as many of our small businesses as possible up and running. They provide most of the jobs and keep our population in place. If they are not in business, large companies are not going to be either.

In order to help small businesses recover, we have set up a Small Business Disaster Relief Fund. It will provide gap funding to cover things that insurance will not cover that are vital for our small businesses to begin operating again. We have partnered with the very reputable Baton Rouge Area Foundation to get this up and running as quickly as possible. With their help, we are now operational.

All small business in the entire affected region of the Central Gulf Coast can apply for assistance through the fund. Businesses must have had less than 100 employees on August 29, 2005; must be a private sector, for-profit entity; and must be in one of the federally designated disaster parishes or counties.

We will begin accepting grant applications on September 15 through our web site. We have a very transparent and objective process for handling the applications. It will be done by volunteers from the CPA Society, the Independent Insurance Agency, and the local Bar Association. Applications will be assigned an anonymous application number so the screeners will not know the company or the region the application is coming from. We are doing that to insure total fairness in the process.

We encourage you to not only contribute, but to also get the word out. We can really help a lot of small business get back into business with this fund and save jobs for their workers.

Donations via credit card can be done by accessing the LABI web site at www.labi.org

Checks can be made out to:

Small Business Disaster Relief Fund/BRAF
402 N. 4th St.
Baton Rouge, La 70802

Anything you can do to help make this a success will be greatly appreciated by hundreds of small businesses down here that are hanging on by a thread.