MORRIS COUNTY — Casa Puerto Rico, the Dover-based civic organization created in 1965, is the latest to benefit from a grant under the Morris County Small Business Grant program, which is offering pandemic related aid to nonprofits as well as businesses.
Morris County Commissioner Deborah Smith presented a $15,000 check to Ruben Cortes, president of the organization, at a gathering at its Blackwell Street, Dover headquarters early Sunday evening. Joining her were Dover Mayor Carolyn Blackman, Morris County Economic Development Vice President Craig Schlosser and EDC Director of Business Resources and Professional Development Ed Ramirez.
“Casa Puerto Rico has been a fixture in this community and Morris County for more than 55 years, and I am delighted to see that the organization not only survived the pandemic, but also remains vital and active here in Dover,” Commissioner Smith said during the presentation. “I am also delighted that my Morris County Board of County Commissioners was able to offer support to your organization through our Morris County Small Business Grant Program, which has assisted many nonprofits this year.”
Casa Puerto Rico’s mission has been to bring together local communities, businesses and area leaders to provide community service, foster civic engagement and leadership, drive economic growth and strengthen the fabric of local communities. Beyond being forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic, local and state restrictions severely limited the organization’s sales and revenue income while overhead costs continued to increase.
The Morris County Small Business Grant Program has been a unique use of federal funds issued to the county through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which the Morris County Board of County Commissioners designed to offer pandemic-related aid. The Commissioners dedicated $10 million to the program, which opened on Valentine’s Day, to assist small businesses and nonprofits with pandemic related expenses incurred after March 3, 2021, including rent and mortgages payments.
Offering grants of up to $15,000 per entity, the Commissioners will have approved 723 applications by the deadline for submissions this Friday, September 30.