GREENSBORO — In recognition of the challenges small businesses continue to face during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce is launching a Pay It Forward Fund.

Eligible businesses will have their membership dues covered for one year, allowing them to continue accessing the resources, connections, education and legislative advocacy provided by the Chamber.

The fund will be supported by community contributions. Novant Health has stepped up to be the first donor. At the Ally level, Novant’s gift will cover membership for two businesses.

“Novant Health is proud to contribute to this initiative,” said Kirsten Royster, president and COO for Novant Health Kernersville Medical Center and the chief patient experience officer for Novant Health. “Through the pandemic, the community came together in many ways to support each other and this program with the Greensboro Chamber will have a meaningful impact on strengthening small businesses.”

Businesses, organizations and individuals can donate any amount starting at $25. The levels of support are:

- Contributor - $25 or more

- Advocate - $450 - Covers one membership

- Ally - $900 - Covers two memberships

- Leader - $1,350 - Covers three memberships

All donors will be recognized on the Chamber’s website. Additional recognition opportunities are available for higher-level contributors.

Stephanie Phillips, a member engagement retention specialist at the Chamber, led the creation of the Pay It Forward Fund. She said it has been difficult to see formerly thriving local businesses struggle during the pandemic.

“We’ve noticed while having conversations with our small business members that sadly some of them have had a harder time recovering from the financial impact of COVID-19, despite the ease on restrictions,” she said.

“These small businesses were going to have to cancel their Chamber membership, even though they use it to make connections, promote their business and gain access to resources. The Pay It Forward Fund creates a way for these businesses to continue to receive the benefits of being a Chamber member.”

To learn more and donate, visit greensboro.org/payitforward.

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