Columbia County Chamber Chamber Foundation Creates COVID 19 Fund To Purchase Gift Cards from Local Dining Establishments

The Columbia County Chamber of Commerce announced this morning that it is establishing a new program to purchase gift cards and certificates through its Chamber Foundation from local restaurants and dining establishments, and distribute them at no cost to frontline workers and first responders. Anyone interested can contribute to the fund by contacting the Chamber.

Universal Basic Income Coming to Hudson, Courtesy of Partnership Between Spark of Hudson, Andrew Yang’s Humanity Forward, and the Mayor’s Office

HudsonUP UBI Pilot
HudsonUP UBI Pilot

A Universal Basic Income (UBI) initiative for Hudson has been announced: the HudsonUP initiative is a partnership between the Spark of Hudson, Andrew Yang’s Humanity Forward non-profit, and the Hudson Mayor’s Office, under which twenty Hudson residents will receive $500 per-month for five years.

The Spark of Hudson and Humanity Forward contributed $300,000 each to the initiative. The press releases notes that “Hudson has an estimated population of approximately 6,000 residents, with a median household income of $35,439 and poverty rate of 19.2%…[making] Hudson an ideal host city for a UBI pilot program.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, a fierce advocate of UBI, took to Twitter to share the announcement:

The announcement was also covered by New York Daily News online.

The Spark of Hudson is a learning and training center set to launch in Hudson, NY dedicated to reinventing education. In addition to The Spark of Hudson and HudsonUP, Wenger and Danziger have launched and funded a variety of other projects to better the greater Hudson community and beyond.

Humanity Forward is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization founded by former presidential candidate Andrew Yang. The organization is dedicated to continuing the movement inspired by Yang’s 2020 presidential campaign and to making its core ideas a reality, one of which includes UBI.

Hudson Business Coalition Releases Results of its Covid-19 Business Questionnaire

Today, the Hudson Business Coalition (HBCi) is releasing the results of its Covid-19 Business Questionnaire. The questionnaire was conducted online from April 10 to May 1, and had a total of 64 respondents, 90% of whom are Hudson-based business owners (the remainder own businesses elsewhere in Columbia county).

The full results can be found online at (best viewed on a computer or tablet) or downloaded as a PDF from the Visit Hudson NY website.

Some top-line results include the following:

  • 90% of respondents are ‘on pause’— effectively ceasing operations, or operating with ’significant modifications’
  • 59% report having difficulty making rent or mortgage payments, and and 55% report difficulty paying for their operating expenses
  • 36% of respondents aren’t sure how many months they’ll be able to make rent payments, or won’t be able to pay rent for even one more month going forward
  • 20% of respondents say they are not optimistic about their prospects of returning to business after the pandemic, while 44% are optimistic about returning (36% are unsure about their prospects of returning)
  • Many respondents provided free-form responses to questions about how the pandemic has affected their businesses and the ways in which they could use assistance, both now, and as they get ready to re-open.

The Hudson Business Coalition thanks all those who responded to the questionnaire. The HBCi will use the insights gained from these results as we continue to work with elected officials and other leaders in our community to find new ways to support Hudson’s business owners and their employees during this crisis.

Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region Offers Emergency Grants to Area Small Businesses

The Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region has a COVID-19 Small Business Continuity Grant Program that’s designed to help businesses keep their employees and stay afloat during a time of economic hardship due to the impacts of COVID-19. Businesses are encouraged to apply for this funding to help make payroll, to pay bills and to keep their operations going.

The grants are available to small businesses with a physical commercial storefront located or independent contractors or gig workers based in Albany County and the surrounding Capital Region. Under this program, small businesses are defined as retail, service provider, restaurant, independent contractor/gig and wholesale businesses with 50 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) or less. Additional eligibility factors include the following:

  • Eligible small businesses must have been in stable operation since January 1, 2020.
  • Eligible applicants cannot have any outstanding tax liabilities, tax liens, or legal judgements.
  • All applicants must show proof of seeking available Federal resources and provide evidence of all private and public assistance received.
  • National chains or independent contractors working for national chains are not eligible under this program.

Visit their website to learn more and apply.

CEDC Offering Rapid Recovery Loans to Columbia County-based Businesses

Columbia Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) has established a $300,000 CEDC and SBA Microloan Program to support small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Loans are available up to $15,000 at 3.75% interest. Applicants must be in business for at least 2 years, have 25 or fewer full-time employees, and have a minimum credit score of 625.

To learn more about the process, criteria, and to apply, view their website.

First Columbia Comeback Committee Meeting Set for Monday 5/11

The first meeting of of the recently-announced Columbia Comeback Committee is scheduled for Monday 5/11 at 1pm, according to the CEDC. The meeting will be streamed live on YouTube.

From the announcement:

The Columbia County Comeback Committee was formed last week by the Columbia County Board of Supervisors to assist Columbia County businesses as the county looks ahead to the re-start of business activities. The Committee has been tasked to serve as a resource for county businesses to navigate the new normal and develop initiatives to help business owners adapt and respond once the State allows businesses to re-open.

Hospitality Task Force Releases Consumer Sentiment Survey

Wm Farmer & Sons, Hudson, NY
The dining room at Wm. Farmer & Sons, Hudson, NY

The Reimagine Hudson Hospitality Task Force has released a consumer sentiment survey that’s designed to evaluate the health and safety concerns and considerations of local visitors to Hudson’s dining and lodging establishments, and those who run them.

The survey’s goal is to gather information from residents of Hudson and surrounding communities, gauging the economic impact of Covid-19 on local households, changes in spending habits, and attitudes towards patronizing local businesses after the PAUSE order is lifted.

The Task Force will provide a $100 gift card to Wm. Farmer & Sons to one respondent, drawn at random, who completes the survey.

Hudson Arts Emergency Program Provides $500 Stipends to Four First-Round Artists

Following last week’s announcement regarding the creation of the Hudson Arts Emergency Program, Cultural Task Force lead Seth Rogovoy announced today that five local artists are receiving $500 each as part of the program’s first round of funding.

Cat Tyc, Spencer Bambrick, Sam Meyerson and Timothy McDowell are the first creative workers to receive funding in the form of $500 stipends from the Hudson Arts Emergency Program, a community-funded, WPA-style project, supporting individual artists for projects that speak to life in Hudson during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

  • Cat Tyc will work on a chapbook of “quarantine poems” about life during lockdown in Hudson.
  • Spencer Bambrick will create an interactive audiovisual installation, incorporating community participation, “highlighting and documenting both the sadness and loss of connection during these times, as well as the strength and solidarity present in Hudson during this crisis.”
  • Timothy McDowell will document life throughout Hudson during the shutdown through still photography and video.
  • Sam Meyerson will paint a wall mural approximately 83 feet long and about 7 feet high on the side of the Time & Space Limited (TSL) building facing Long Alley. TSL will contribute an additional $500 to Meyerson’s project as a matching grant. Meyerson’s mural will speak to the life and diversity of Hudson during the crisis.

As of today, nine applications for funding have been received. All remain eligible for funding, pending further research and review. Artists and creative workers are encouraged to download and complete the simple application form available at Proposals will be reviewed as quickly as they come in and funding will begin immediately and continue on a rolling basis.

To-date, contributors have provided $10,000 in funding for the program.

A project developed by the Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) Emergency Cultural Task Force, the program seeks to create a means to assist creative workers in Hudson by supporting projects that would benefit both them and the greater community via meaningful employment during this time when their earning potential has been greatly impacted if not totally eliminated. Creative artists are often ineligible for government aid programs that are based on job losses rather than loss of income and opportunity.

Learn more about the program, and download the guidelines and application, on our website.

Columbia Comeback Committee Forms, to Assist with Reopening of Columbia County Businesses

CEDC, in conjunction with Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell, have announced the formation of the Columbia Comeback committee, designed to assist Columbia County-based businesses with reopening in a safe and responsible manner.

Named by Chairman Murell to serve as committee co-chairs are Jeff Hunt, President of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, and Columbia Economic Development Corporation President & CEO Michael Tucker. The committee is also comprised of local business representatives, elected officials, and county department representatives.

From the release:

Chairman Murell expects that increased testing and tracing, with business participation, will play a large role, and that businesses should prepare to operate at lower capacities as they keep employees and customers six feet apart. Businesses should plan to implement enhanced sanitation practices and utilize protective equipment such as masks and gloves, while ensuring employees do not go to work if ill, and should continue to encourage telework where possible. […] [He] envisions a number of potential Columbia Comeback activities, which include – but are not limited to — developing an online portal for businesses to stay up-to-date with key industry training, resource materials and other best practices in limiting community spread; providing guidance and resources to individual businesses to help them develop strategies to remain profitable; and providing business resources or hosting training sessions for future planning.

The full press release is available to read on the CEDC website.

Announcing the Hudson Arts Emergency Program

Contribute to the Hudson Arts Emergency Fund

Please consider making a contribution to the Hudson Arts Emergency Fund, which supports individual artists with stipends for WPA-like projects focused on life in Hudson during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

On behalf of the Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) Emergency Cultural Task Force, we ask for your help in funding the Hudson Arts Emergency Program, a WPA-style project that will support artists during this critical time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the Hudson Arts Emergency Program we seek to create a means to assist creative workers in Hudson by supporting projects that would benefit both them and the greater community via meaningful employment during this time when their earning potential has been greatly impacted if not totally eliminated. Also, creative artists are often not eligible for government aid programs that are based on job losses rather than loss of income.

In the mid-1930s, the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a New Deal agency established in the wake of the Great Depression, employed musicians, artists, writers, dancers, choreographers, photographers, actors, and directors in large arts, drama, media, performance, and literacy projects. People like John Steinbeck, Alice Neel, Jackson Pollock, Arthur Miller, Elia Kazan, and Ralph Ellison received such WPA grants years before they became household names.

Similarly, the Hudson Arts Emergency Program will grant emergency relief by offering direct stipends to artists and creative workers for projects that speak to this crisis moment.

Some examples of potential projects:

  • an artist or group of (appropriately social-distanced) artists could paint a mural or series of murals around Hudson
  • a musician or composer could create a song cycle, opera, rap, or instrumental work addressing the emotional impact of the pandemic, culminating in a recording, video, and/or public performance once the quarantine is lifted
  • a historian could record residents discussing life in Hudson during the pandemic shutdown, culminating in a radio broadcast, podcast, and an historical artifact
  • a filmmaker could create a series of portraits for broadcast on the local cable-TV channel or for streaming on YouTube, Facebook, or other online media platform
  • a painter could be commissioned to paint images of life in Hudson during the pandemic shutdown that will culminate in a public exhibition
  • a dancer/choreographer could be commissioned to create a piece about life in Hudson during the pandemic shutdown that will culminate in a video or public viewing
  • a photographer could document the streets and scenes of Hudson during the pandemic shutdown that would culminate in an online and/or gallery exhibition
  • a writer or poet could create texts reflecting life in Hudson during the pandemic shutdown that could culminate in a chapbook, a slam-poetry session, and/or a collection of other writers works

The Hudson Arts Emergency Program will create these employment opportunities for artists and creative people in the form of stipends that will support projects with a four-week deadline. Stipends will be awarded in increments of $500, $1,000, and $2,000, depending upon the scope of the project. If we raise $100,000, we could help approximately 100 people. Please consider helping us reach that goal today.

Potential grantees will complete a simple application form including a project plan, as per our specifications. We will review the proposals as quickly as they come in and begin funding immediately and continue on a rolling basis.

The program will be administered through the HDC, which is a 501C3 and therefore equipped to collect tax-deductible contributions and to distribute funds for such a program. All funds raised will go directly to individual artists, with a very small amount set aside for administrative costs.

Contributions can be made via PayPal at the top of this page or by sending a check made out to Hudson Development Corp. with Arts Fund in the memo line, mailed to:

Hudson Development Corporation
ATTN: Hudson Arts Emergency Program
1 North Front St.
Hudson, NY 12534

Questions? Please contact one or all of us listed below.

Seth Rogovoy, Linda Mussmann, and Jonah Bokaer
HDC Emergency Task Force – Culture

Seth Rogovoy is a longtime cultural critic and a concert and festival producer. He sits on the board of the Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) and is an eight-year resident of Hudson, N.Y.

Linda Mussmann is founder and co-director of Time & Space Limited (TSL). An artist, writer, theatre director and activist, Linda has lived and worked in Columbia County for over three decades.

Jonah Bokaer enjoys an international career as an exhibiting museum artist; leads a touring multi-ethnic dance company; and oversees a nonprofit foundation that has succeeded in delivering three permanent arts facilities for younger artists, including Space 428 in Hudson. The Jonah Bokaer Arts Foundation presents The Hudson Eye, an annual 10-day artist-driven public program and urban showcase with a focus on dance, music, performance, visual art, video art, film, and media.