as released by the Gesher Small Business Relief Fund on Wednesday 6 May 2020.
Today, Philanthropists from the Jewish community in South Africa announce the establishment of the Gesher Small Business Relief Fund (“the Fund”) to offer interest free loans to small businesses in the South African Jewish community adversely affected by the impacts of COVID-19.
The Fund is a new, independent entity that will draw on the operational and administrative infrastructure and expertise of the Chevrah Kadisha, in order to quickly and effectively assist qualifying businesses across South Africa. “We are so pleased to provide the Chevrah Kadisha’s expertise to support this important project” said Lawrie Brozin, board member of the Fund and the Chevrah Kadisha.
The Fund is mandated to lend to majority Jewish-owned small businesses that were intrinsically healthy prior to the crisis and now face financial hardship. Interest-free loans of between R50 000 and R750 000 will be issued for 12 to 30 months to fund short-term working and operating capital requirements, including staff salaries and wages. Loans may not be used for other purposes, including repayment of legacy borrowings or funding of new initiatives.
“There is deep concern that without the establishment of a dedicated bridge fund, many financially sound and previously viable small businesses may collapse due to the financial strain brought about by the effects of COVID-19,” said Ronnie Stein, board member of the Fund and the United Communal Fund in Cape Town.
“By safeguarding businesses during this period, we can preserve jobs for all South Africans and further our long-term mission of supporting the broader Jewish community,” said Martin Sacks, Chairperson of the Fund and board member of the Chevrah Kadisha.
The Fund has been established with generous commitments from the Donald Gordon Foundation and other founding donors. Additional funding from like-minded philanthropists and foundations is actively being sourced.
Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein has also lent considerable efforts to support and establish this vital initiative.
“One of the most heartwarming and hopeful projects I have worked on since this crisis hit is a drive to secure interest-free loans to small businesses in our community. Let us recognise that however hard things may be, we need to reach out, strengthen and support each other however we can” said Chief Rabbi Goldstein.
For more info visit www.gesher.org.za or email firstname.lastname@example.org