MARYVILLE - Community Navigator ProgramState Senators Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) and Rachelle Aud Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) congratulate three local organizations chosen to receive funding to help small businesses apply to receive financial assistance.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our communities,” Belt said. “This investment will support the businesses who were affected most by the pandemic. It’s essential that businesses know the funding available through the economic recovery programs, so that we can continue to build back what was lost for our businesses.”

A total of $9 million will be invested to expand the community navigator outreach program. The program will provide support for small businesses that need help navigating financial assistance available from the state and the U.S. Small Business Administration as a result of the American Rescue Plan Act.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity trained 13 new regional partners to give assistance to small businesses. Metro East organizations that have served diverse businesses across the state, include Greater Egypt Regional Planning and Development Commission, Illinois Public Health Association and National Main Street Inc. These groups will facilitate technical assistance on a common level to small businesses.

“With this critical investment, our state is working to ensure businesses can operate safely, support opportunities for employees and boost our economy as we rebuild,” Crowe said. “I strongly urge members of the Metro East business community to connect with our community partners to stay informed on available grants and resources.”

To ensure the smallest and most vulnerable businesses are prioritized, navigator partners will provide small businesses with direct assistance on applications, language assistance, on-the-ground outreach, webinars, technical assistance sessions and more.

An expansion of the community navigator program builds on the success of this approach first piloted during the state’s Business Interruption Grants program – which led to a record amount of funding deployed, including over 40 percent of grants to minority-owned businesses. During the BIG program, more than 30,000 unique businesses statewide received outreach from a community navigator.

Businesses are encouraged to visit the DCEO website or call 1-800-252-2923 for more information on recovery programs and support.

Category: Press Releases

052520210407MARYVILLE – A longtime advocate for making mental health resources more available and affordable, State Senator Rachelle Aud Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) applauded recent expansions of Illinois’ Medicaid program.

“As our communities recover from pandemic-related hardships, the availability of quality mental health and addiction services is more critical than ever,” Crowe said. “This Medicaid expansion gives veterans and residents more reliable access to enhanced care that fits their unique health needs.”

The omnibus legislation makes several updates to the Illinois Medicaid system, including providing additional support for veterans in need of specialized care and creating a new requirement to allow in-patient status to be granted for anyone experiencing an overdose induced by opioids.

“Mental health is equally as important as physical health,” Crowe said. “With additional resources for veterans and residents suffering from mental strain and addiction, our state is giving communities the tools to support vulnerable populations in times of crisis.”

Senate Bill 2294 was signed into law Tuesday and took effect immediately.

Category: Press Releases

icf logo handMARYVILLE – Felicity Guttmann, a recent graduate of Edwardsville High School, was one of just five students statewide selected by the Illinois Conservation Foundation to receive the Conservation Achievement Scholarship, State Senator Rachelle Aud Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) announced Tuesday.

Guttmann was chosen for the scholarship because of her work to reduce pollution in farming.

“It’s encouraging to see our state recognize students who make an effort to preserve and protect our natural resources,” Crowe said. “The Metro East community is fortunate to have Felicity promoting sustainable practices in the agriculture industry and representing local environmental interests.”

Last year, Guttmann began raising chickens and found a creative way to reduce waste: she composted chicken manure to use as fertilizer in her garden beds.

Guttmann is also passionate about keeping her neighborhood clean and always carries a bag on walks to pick up trash along the way.

According to ICF, awardees must be Illinois high school seniors who demonstrate efforts to enhance and promote Illinois' natural resources. All five scholarship recipients will receive $2,000 to use for college expenses.

Guttman plans to study crop and soil science while pursuing a degree in agronomy at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

“Caring for the environment should be inherent in us,” Crowe said. “I applaud the scholarship recipients for taking an active role in promoting sustainable practices, as well as all other young people working to care for our planet.”

More information on the scholarship program and a list of other recipients can be found on ICF’s website.

Category: Press Releases

Illinois Back On Track 2 FBMARYVILLE - Moody’s Investor Services has upgraded Illinois’ General Obligation Bonds for the first time in more than 20 years, and State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) and State Senator Rachelle Aud Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) are praising the General Assembly’s work to get the state to this point.

“This is another example that shows our state is working diligently to restore what has been broken in the past,” Belt said. ”I want to thank our state’s leaders and my colleagues as we have set Illinois on the path to a brighter future.”
Moody’s Investors Services, one of the primary credit rating agencies, recently upgraded Illinois’ General Obligation Bonds a step closer to the top rating.
The upgrade shows a stable outlook for Illinois’ economy, meaning state borrowing will cost less, which will in turn save taxpayers money. The analysis highlighted the Fiscal Year 2022 budget for the upgrade.
Moody’s stated the increased pension contribution, repayment of emergency Federal Reserve borrowings, and constrained use of federal aid from the American Rescue Plan Act are to thank for the increased rating.
“A win for Illinois taxpayers, Moody’s upgrade signals our state is making responsible budgetary decisions,” Crowe said. “By enacting balanced budgets and prioritizing fiscal stability over recent years, Illinois is on a path toward financial recovery.”
This is the second positive rating action for Illinois in a week, following an outlook improvement from Fitch.
Category: Press Releases

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