The Pflugerville Chamber of Commerce's Pflugerville Pfund has raised $103,000 to support small businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak, chamber President and CEO Shontel Mays said. Thirty small businesses had received funding as of May 15 with 21 donations from individuals and businesses to the fund.

The fund was launched in mid-April as a means of providing financial assistance to businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic, Mays said at an April 9 Pflugerville Community Development Corp. meeting. Eligible businesses within city limits or Pflugerville's extraterritorial jurisdiction must employ 50 or fewer full-time personnel, can request up to $5,000 in funding and must be able to show a negative effect on business operations.

The selection process does not take into consideration the business's name, address, owner or other identifiable traits to help ensure funding is distributed based on need, Mays said. She added applications are continually being reviewed, with more funding expected to be awarded the week of May 18.

"With many businesses, they’ve been thrown into this crisis without all the resources needed to survive," Mays said. "We’re doing all we can to help them navigate the chaos of this pandemic."

On April 29, the PCDC announced that the Mellenbruch and Meigs families—descendants of Pflugerville's founder, Henry Pfluger—would match funds up to $10,000. Mays said the Pflugerville Pfund met the $10,000 matching grant, and the Timmerman and Hagan families are now matching up to $15,000 in donations.

"These donations directly benefit our small businesses, and we are grateful for these generous matching grants," Mays said.

For residents who are unable to utilize dine-in services and shopping during the pandemic, Mays said online and curbside pickups, as well as gift cards, are all forms of patronage that can keep local businesses afloat. Mays added social media outreach and positive reviews on websites such as Yelp can help direct more business traffic.

While business opening guidelines are fluid, Mays said she has seen community members rally around local businesses and nonprofit organizations in high volumes. That has kept her hopeful for the longevity of area businesses, she said.

"So many of the businesses receiving funding were at a place that they were having to make tough decisions between laying off employees or shutting down. By being able to award these grants, we’ve been able to give the businesses an opportunity to stay open and keep their employees on staff," Mays said. "It’s humbling to be a part of something so special."