PRESS RELEASE: DowntownDC BID Awards 124 Local Businesses With Grants From $1 Million Pandemic Assistance Grant Program


February 24, 2021

Washington, D.C. – The DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) will award 124 small businesses grants ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 beginning this week. The BID’s grant program, which launched on January 14, was designed to supplement federal and DC government grant programs by providing grants to those DowntownDC BID small businesses and organizations that have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Four non-profit organizations, nine theaters/performance spaces and 111 businesses (over 75% of which are restaurants or other food service businesses) make up the grant program’s award recipient list.

“We remain committed to supporting our small businesses and other organizations that have been impacted most by the pandemic,” said President and CEO of the DowntownDC BID, Neil Albert. “The grants will provide much-needed financial support during this unprecedented crisis, and we look forward to working more with local businesses and community leaders to ensure a strong, equitable recovery from COVID-19.”

Awarded funds can be used for payroll, rent, mortgage payments and other overhead.

“The funding we received from the DowntownDC BID Pandemic Assistance Grant Program will be used primarily to pay our awesome employees, thus enabling us to stay open despite very low customer traffic during this extraordinary time in history,” said Founder of Potomac River Running Store, Ray Pugsley.

Applicants were required to meet several eligibility criteria including being located in the DowntownDC BID, having fewer than ten locations outside of the D.C. region, being presently open, demonstrating a revenue decline, and identifying as food service and/or non-restaurant retail.

“Zeke’s Coffee is committed to staying open and serving the downtown community during the pandemic,” said Owner-Operator of Zeke’s Coffee, John Kepner. “To adequately protect customers and workers, we had to adjust our policies and staffing levels. The grant has helped cover increased staffing costs relative to the current amount of downtown business.”

The BID hopes that these grants will help DowntownDC retail businesses continue to serve the community as we all navigate the uncertainties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To learn more about the DowntownDC BID’s $1 Million Pandemic Assistance Grant Program, click here.


About the DowntownDC Business Improvement District
The DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) was founded in 1997 and is a private non-profit organization that provides capital improvements, resources and research that keep the BID area clean, safe, economically and environmentally strong and accessible. The DowntownDC BID is a catalyst, facilitator and thought leader in diversifying the economy, promoting public/private partnerships and enhancing the DowntownDC experience for all. This special district, where property owners have agreed to tax themselves to fund services, encompasses a 138-block area of approximately 520 properties from Massachusetts Avenue on the north to Constitution Avenue on the south, and from Louisiana Avenue on the east to 16th Street on the west. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter @downtowndcbid.