Economic Resources and Programs

Economic Support

Milwaukee Downtown gathered resources to assist the businesses, both large and small, in our community that are impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. This resource will be updated regularly. To request that a resource be added to the list, email with the name and URL.

Financial Support Programs

Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advance

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, small business owners are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can support small businesses overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Click here for more information and to apply for assistance.

Wisconsin Economic Development Corp (WEDC) Small Business 20/20

The Small Business 20/20 program provides funds to Wisconsin-based Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to make grants to existing loan clients to mitigate short-term cash flow issues and protect jobs and public health in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Click here for more info. 


Kiva has expanded lending terms and eligibility to help small businesses impacted by the pandemic. Downtown businesses in our communities that are women-, minority- and/or veteran-owned are also eligible for a 50% match from WEDC to expedite their loan. Encourage your businesses to apply, and/or sign up to be a lender yourself here.

The Ethnic & Diverse Business Coalition (EDBC)

The Ethnic & Diverse Business Coalition (EDBC) created a grant program to assist small ethnic and diverse businesses of any industry that are a business member in of one of their coalition members during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligibility criteria and grant applications are found here.

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

Unemployment COVID-19 Public Information for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. Click here for more info or apply for benefits online here.

For those that are temporary unemployed because of the coronavirus, consider applying to the following positions: 

Bank Resources 

American Bankers Association (ABA)

American Bankers Association is compiling a list of publicly announced steps banks of all sizes have taken to respond to the crisis. Click here for more info. 

Associated Bank 

For both consumers and small business owner members, they have created a COVID-19 Relief Program, designed to alleviate some of the financial hardships you may face as a result of illness or workplace changes. Click here for more info. 

UW Credit Union Emergency Personal Loan

For those members who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, they are offering a low-rate personal loan to help with budgeting concerns. Click here for more info.

Restaurant, Bar and Service Staff Support 

USBG National Charitable Foundation's Bartender Emergency Assistance Program

Emergency funding for bar industry staff who need financial support, can apply to the USBG National Charitable Foundation’s Bartender Emergency Assistance Program. USBG membership is not required to receive funds. Click here for grant eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and the applications.

Restaurant Workers Community Foundation 

The Restaurant Workers Community Foundation is planning to launch a relief fund that will be available to anyone in the United States. The site currently features other resources for restaurant workers.

One Fair Wage

One Fair Wage is providing cash assistance to restaurant workers, car service drivers, delivery workers, personal service workers and more who need the money they are currently not receiving due to COVID-19. 

Restaurant Opportunities Centers United 

The nonprofit Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United has set a target of $500,000 for its emergency relief fund, which seeks to help documented and undocumented restaurant workers who lose their jobs during the pandemic.

For a list of relief funds for restaurant, bar and food service workers, visit Eater's comprehensive list

Other Resources 

Temporary Restaurant Carryout Program 

To assist restaurants that currently do not have a loading zone adjacent to their business, the City of Milwaukee has implemented a temporary program to provide "Restaurant Carryout Zones". Click here to view program information and complete the online form. 

All Class B and Class C establishments are currently allowed to sell sealed containers of alcohol to go. The hours are the same as those allowed under a Class A establishment (liquor/grocery store), which are 8am – 9pm, as long as the individual license for that business allows those hours. Beer and wine can be sold in unlimited quantities, while there is a 4 liter restriction per customer for liquor. Curbside service is allowed for those establishments that already hold a Sidewalk Dining Facility Permit that extends to the area where alcohol will be given to the customer. Businesses without a sidewalk café would be required to obtain a Temporary Change to the Plan of Operation permit

Facebook Small Business Grants 

Facebook understands that your business may be experiencing disruptions resulting from the global outbreak of COVID-19. Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time. Click here for more info. 


Small businesses, in the form of independent restaurants and bars, are eligible for in-kind advertising assistance. Click here for more info. 

Freelance/Artist Resources