HOW TO HELP: West Seattle Small Business Relief Fund launched

(Photo courtesy WSJA)

When the coronavirus crisis eases and businesses are allowed to reopen, how many will be able to? That question is doubly important since the closure of the West Seattle Bridge means our community will have to be more self-reliant than ever. To help small local independent businesses hang on, the West Seattle Junction Association soft-launched the Small Business Relief Fund this past week. As explained on the WSJA website:

Love your favorite merchants? You can support yours through the Junction Small Business Relief Fund. Here you can support your favorite by donating to one or many businesses. Enter the name of the small business, then pick the dollar amount. 100% of the funds will be distributed directly to the business; the Junction will pay the credit-card processing fees.

If you want your donation to benefit a non-Junction business, that’s OK too, says WSJA executive director Lora Radford. The fund is off to a promising start and every additional donation helps give another small business a fighting chance. There are four ways to donate – all explained here.

6 Replies to "HOW TO HELP: West Seattle Small Business Relief Fund launched"

  • WS Resident April 13, 2020 (8:07 am)

    Just curious – how is this different/better than directly donating to the merchant or ordering gift cards? I want to donate, just wondering if one way is better than the other.

    • WSB April 13, 2020 (10:51 am)

      First, I’m sure the businesses appreciate any help anyone can give.

      To question #1, it’s tax-deductible this way – money going through WSJA, which is a nonprofit – whereas just giving $ to a for-profit business would not be.

      To #2, I had an interesting exchange about that with an owner of a business that is fully closed. In short, while a gift card means a bit of income now, it means no new income when the service/product is claimed in the future. (But ask your favorite business – they may not all have the same view.)

      • newnative April 13, 2020 (12:02 pm)

        Another issue with buying a gift card from a struggling small business is that if the business fails, you’re out of that money. I have bought a gift card from a local chain that is currently closed-but I’m 95% sure they will reopen once it’s safe. It’s a safe investment considering that I have also lost income and will be able to use that gift card later. 

      • WS Resident April 13, 2020 (12:41 pm)

        Makes sense, thanks!

      • ConcernedCPA April 14, 2020 (10:25 am)

        As an accountant, I’m concerned about WSJA incorrectly treating these as tax-deductible donations to the “donors”. If the “donor” names a specific local (for-profit) business, and WSJA forwards the funds directly to the specified local businesses, that’s not a donation to WSJA. That’s a payment to a local business that is being facilitated by a non-profit. In accountant-speak, this is an agency transaction that should not generate a tax deduction to the giver. I would encourage WSJA to talk to their accountants to be sure they’re not running afoul of IRS rules.

  • WS Lover April 13, 2020 (10:45 am)

    This is awesome, and I hope all Junction businesses survive this storm. I will be donating.

    One really big suggestion though: Rather than only donations, it would be great to enable residents & supporters to buy credit for any business that can be redeemed when life goes back to normal. Have one website to buy credit at any number of businesses all at once (any amount to each). I, for one, can think of several I’d be happy to buy credit at now that I could spend against later. So rather than a small donation, I would spend far more against our positive future together as a neighborhood. And I bet any number of us WS techies would be happy to build such a site at no charge.

    But still, donations are a great start! Good luck to all Junction businesses.

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