Berkeley Relief Fund reactivated, Berkeley Holidays campaign launched to support small businesses

Koja Kitchen
Emma Drake/File
Berkeley Holidays is a local digital gift guide that features promotions and items from more than 100 artisans and small businesses, according to a press release from the city of Berkeley.

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On Friday, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín announced the reactivation of the Berkeley Relief Fund and the launch of the Berkeley Holidays campaign, both of which aim to support small businesses.

The city hopes to raise $1.7 million from community members in the new round of the Berkeley Relief Fund after raising $1.3 million in the first round, according to Arreguín’s spokesperson Stefan Elgstrand. The reactivated fund also includes $3 million from the city of Berkeley. To further support local businesses, the Berkeley Holidays campaign aims to encourage Berkeley residents and visitors to shop locally.

“Giving back to the community has always been a hallmark of the holiday season, and the adversity we faced in 2020 highlights the urgent need to support our at-risk businesses and residents,” Arreguín said in the press release. “It has been over eight months since COVID-19 transformed the world we live in, and with a new surge in cases, it is more important than ever to assist those who risk losing everything.”

According to the Berkeley Relief Fund website, the city will be administering grant guidelines, requirements and applications to local businesses.

As a “core partner” of the relief fund, the Telegraph Business Improvement District, or TBID, has been helping organize and establish the fund, according to Executive Director Alex Knox.

“We’re very pleased that the city put forward the funding to really have an impact early on in the pandemic and now,” Knox said.

Berkeley Holidays is a local digital gift guide that features promotions and items from more than 100 artisans and small businesses, according to a press release from the city of Berkeley. TBID has also contributed to the Berkeley Holidays campaign, Knox added.

According to its website, Berkeley Holidays is working in close partnership with local organizations, the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce and Visit Berkeley, as well as the city. Berkeley Chamber interim CEO Beth Roessner said they have received “wonderful feedback” following the site’s launch.

“Shoppers are happy to have over 100 shopping options in one location and feel good knowing that they can support the local economy while staying safe,” Roessner said in an email.

Berkeley Chamber and Visit Berkeley will continue to support the campaign by promoting events and giveaways on social media, according to Roessner and Jeffrey Church, Visit Berkeley’s visitor and partner services manager.

TBID is currently enrolling more merchants in the campaign and continues to increase outreach to Berkeley shoppers, Knox said. Knox added that TBID is “really glad” to be supporting Berkeley Holidays.

“It’s the first time that all the business districts in the entire business community have come together to singularly work on one holiday campaign to support small businesses,” Knox said.

Contact Zoe Chen at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @zoe_chen820.