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U.S. Rep. Sewell secures CARA Grant to help Jefferson County businesses and communities

On Wednesday, U.S. Representative Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) presented a check for $474,355 in grant funds to the Central Alabama Redevelopment Alliance (CARA) at a public check presentation ceremony. The ceremony was held at the CARA headquarters in Fairfield.

CARA, which is a nonprofit organization that was started at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, works to equip small businesses with the knowledge and tools to successfully grow and scale to create thriving sustainable communities.

Working with a myriad of collaborative partners which includes the University of Alabama, Auburn University, Birmingham Southern College, Regions Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield, they will use this grant to help accelerate small business growth.

Sewell stated, “These investments will uplift underserved areas and foster economic development across our district, and I know they will make a real difference in the lives of so many. I am proud to have fought for this funding which will make our community healthier, safer, stronger, and even more resilient.”

“By ensuring our small businesses have the tools they need to thrive, the Jefferson County Small Business Accelerator is uplifting underserved communities and bringing economic prosperity to our doorstep. I was so proud to secure $474,355 so they can continue this critical work!” she added in a tweet.

Several CARA board members also commented that the additional funds would help to accelerate efforts already in place to assist small and micro-business grow and build resiliency. They credit this as the reason the companies were able to survive the economic impacts of COVID.

Frank Woodson, CEO and president of City Serve Alabama and board chairman of CARA said in a release, “Today, our government partners are empowering us to exponentially multiply our capacity to help small and microbusinesses increase their revenue and job creation ability. This is essential for stabilizing the underserved communities that they serve.”

The grant funds are a part of a 12-bill government funding package voted on by the Senate and signed into law by President Joe Biden in late March. These grants are intended to help middle class families with the cost of living, create jobs, support the vulnerable, and help small businesses and restaurants that are key to American economic futures.