Nearly a week and a half after launching, Round Rock Cares has received more than 140 applications and approximately $900,000 in financial assistance requests, as confirmed April 3 by Jason Ball, Round Rock Chamber of Commerce president and CEO. The rise in assistance requests comes as local businesses revisit operations during the coronavirus pandemic.

Round Rock Cares was formally established as a charitable fund March 25 through the combined efforts of the Round Rock chamber, the city of Round Rock, the Greater Round Rock Area Community Foundation and Dell Technologies. Each of the four entities contributed $25,000, for an initial fund start of $100,000.

As of noon April 3, the fund had raised an additional $50,000 in contributions. The chamber voted to provide an additional $15,000 donation, bringing the fund's grand total to $165,000.

While the recipient application window is set to close at 5 p.m. April 3, Ball said fundraising efforts will continue.

“The chamber is proud to be part of this effort,” Ball said. “After seeing the initial requests come through and recognizing that more resources were going to be needed, we wanted to move as quickly as possible to inject some more resource[s] into the fund so that we could provide more support to our small local business community.”

In a phone call with Community Impact Newspaper, Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan said the city will continue to encourage residents and area stakeholders to consider contributing to the fund. Any dollar amount, Morgan said, will make a difference in the greater business community.

“When we did the initial funding of $100,000, we knew that was not going to meet the entire need of our small business community. We are finding out there is a great need,” he said. “Small business is the backbone of our community. We’re really seeing that at a time like this.”

Of the more than 140 applications submitted to the Greater Round Rock Area Community Foundation, Ball said, more than 80 local businesses have been selected to receive financial support. During the review process, the names of the business and the business owner as well as any other identifying information are being withheld, allowing for applicants to be judged on a needs basis only, he said.

While the possibility of opening a second round for applications has not yet been confirmed, Ball said that all options remain on the table. The funding committee will continue to meet and allocate resources, he added, so long as there are resources available to provide to applicants.

“Where our focus is rapidly turning is to continue fundraising efforts,” Ball said. “This is still an opportunity for those in Round Rock who have not had an opportunity to make a contribution to do that.”

Morgan said that while the financial need is great, a communitywide effort has the ability to meet it. If half of the city’s population donated $30, he said, the fund could raise an additional $1.5 million.

Even as small businesses are in need of funding resources during this time, Morgan said that these businesses are also stepping up to support the greater Round Rock community. Morgan cited The Mercantile on Main as an example, where 50% of every Round Rock Water Tower t-shirt purchased is being donated to Round Rock Cares.

“That’s Round Rock,” Morgan said. “We help our neighbors.”

For more information on Round Rock Cares and how to donate, click here.

Taylor Jackson Buchanan contributed reporting to this story.