First Impressions Grant applications available now

By Choctaw County Chamber of Commerce

The Choctaw County Chamber of Commerce will be administering the First Impressions Grant Program with the support of the Choctaw County Economic Development District. Grant applications can be requested by contacting the Chamber of Commerce and must be returned to the Chamber office by Tuesday, May 31, 2016 by 4 p.m.

The First Impressions Grants are provided to support community improvement projects within Choctaw County. Qualified applicants must clearly demonstrate a community improvement mission or goal. Eligible applicants may include, but are not limited to, 501(c)3 organizations, school organizations religious organizations, sub-division of the government of the State of Mississippi and civic and veteran groups.

The following types of projects are eligible for funding assistance, but are not limited to the following: community beautification and enhancement projects; building repair/renovation and landscaping enhancements of facilities serving the community; community garden, park and playground projects; and community clean up initiatives. Please review the application package to find items ineligible for funding.

Applicants should be able to demonstrate the ability to execute their project without depending on financial assistance from this grant program. This grant program is strictly an expense reimbursement program and should not be viewed as a loan program. The maximum single grant to be awarded is $3,300. Applicants must provide matching funds and receipts for the project at a minimum of 30% of the total cost of the project.

If an application is submitted for a project costing $4,000 the applicant would be responsible for 30% of the total cost of the project. The applicant would need to provide a $1,200 match and the First Impressions Grant would award the additional $2,800 for the project. The $2,800 from the First Impressions Grant will be reimbursed to the applicant once the project is completed and a final report is submitted.

A grant review committee designated by the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development District will make any and all decisions regarding awarding and not awarding grants. Grants are made at the sole discretion of the Choctaw County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. The grant review committee will determine if applicants have properly carried out the terms of the grant before providing reimbursement on a project.

Greater consideration and higher priority will be given to the projects that demonstrate the highest potential for stimulating community improvement and having a broader appeal to the community as a whole. Limited funding may not allow for all qualified projects to receive assistance.

Below is the timeline for administering the First Impressions Grants: May 31 – Applications due to the Chamber of Commerce office by 4 p.m. July 20 – Qualified applicants receiving grant funds will be notified. January 6, 2017 – All projects must be completed by January 6, with request for reimbursement submitted to the Chamber of Commerce office by 4 p.m.

For in-depth details of the First Impressions Grant Program or to request an application, please call the Chamber of Commerce at 662-285-3778 or email d.mckay@choctawcountyms.com or a.mcbride@choctawcountyms.com.

You may also stop by the office located at 55 East Quinn Street in Ackerman, Monday – Friday from 8 a.m.– 4 p.m. to pick up an application.