Former U.S. Senator John Danforth joined Senator Blunt in Joplin today to announce a new non-profit that will provide no-interest loans to businesses looking to locate to the area.
Danforth says he came to Joplin after the tornado hit, not knowing exactly how to help. He says he started meeting with people to figure that out, and they told him they were very focused on the long-term goals of the city, not just the immediate demands for food and shelter.
The “Joplin Tomorrow Foundation” has received a 25 thousand dollar grant from the Missouri Chamber, and a grant from the Danforth Foundation worth half a million.
At the Joplin Chamber of Commerce, it was announced that the organization plans to raise $10 million from individuals, companies, and foundations to assist businesses that want to build in Joplin for the first time or expand or modify the operations they had prior to the devastating tornado.
“I applaud Senator Danforth’s efforts to help rebuild Joplin in the aftermath of this disaster. Joplin Tomorrow represents what Missourians do so well: helping one another in times of need,” Blunt says. “I’ve said many times that in Joplin, neighbors were each other’s first responders, and they will be the last responders too. Southwest Missourians are resilient, and I’m confident Joplin Tomorrow will help restore the business community and attract new private sector job creators as we work to rebuild.”
Danforth says, “Joplin Tomorrow will seek not only to restore many of the businesses that were destroyed, but also to attract new ones — and thereby help the city rise to a new level of industrial and commercial prosperity. Just as New Orleans is now beginning to thrive, so can Joplin. Joplin Tomorrow is a critical tool for securing that future.”
Notably, the Joplin Tomorrow fund is different from existing federal aid programs to businesses, such as those administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA), because it will assist companies that want to build in the community for the first time or expand or modify the operations they had there previously.
The new fund will also be more flexible in providing working capital as well as funds for capital expenditures, and it will finance planning efforts that will help shape the strategy for the entire reconstruction initiative.
The Joplin Tomorrow organization will be administered by a board of five Joplin citizens from the private sector. They will make the decisions as to what applicants qualify for assistance, how much they will receive, and the terms.