The Record-Journal in Meriden, Connecticut, will soon begin working with the Meriden Economic Development Department and the Chamber of Commerce to implement a $300,000 Meriden Business Boost Marketing Grant Program for 150 local businesses. The announcement follows last week's approval of the grant program by the Meriden ARPA (American Rescue Plan ACT) Committee and final approval this week from the Meriden City Council.
Liz White Notarangelo, publisher and executive vice president of the newspaper, said: "We are thrilled to be able to help 150 local businesses in our community recover from the pandemic by providing free marketing grants."
Under this program, White Notarangelo said the city will provide "$300,000 of their ARPA funds to us, we match it dollar for dollar using our Advertising Match Program, and provide a $4,000 free marketing grant per business to 150 Meriden businesses over the next four to five months, providing a total of $600,000 in free marketing to 150 Meriden businesses. To be clear, we receive $300,000 in ARPA funding and we don't pay anything, but we provide marketing."
She said, "It is in line with the intended purposes of the ARPA funding rules under the economic development section to help businesses recover from the pandemic. We successfully implemented a similar program in the summer of 2020 using our Facebook grant by providing free marketing campaigns to 40 local nonprofits in partnership with our local United Way, so we modeled it after that and included testimonials from that in our proposal."
During the ARPA Committee meeting, committee member and Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati described this proposal as "exactly what ARP money is for."
White Notarangelo said the Record-Journal has been working on this for eight months — "since Meriden received its $36 million in ARPA funding, so this is very exciting that it's finally been approved!"
In November, White Notarangelo conducted a webinar for members of America's Newspapers in which she outlined the paper's plan. Other America's Newspapers members also have expressed interest in the concept and have been following up with her for updates on the Meriden proposal.
She expressed hope that other media companies can show their local ARPA committees, ARPA consultants and/or town councils this approval to help with their local approval process for similar marketing grant programs. She added that her company is also in talks with several other local towns in its market about this as well, and this approval will help those discussions.
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