“What can we do to help?”

This is a question I have been hearing over and again the past weeks during this time of worldwide challenge with the novel coronavirus. I hear it from leaders in the communities. I hear it from readers who want to do something positive for small businesses in the area, including us.

I hear it from staff members who are ready to kick in with hard work to keep things going for our partners in business, subscribers and advertisers.

Leadership with Woodward Community Media also asked the question of ourselves from the get-go. We pulled together our creativity, put together ideas, challenged each other and created scenarios. Then we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

One million dollars. Could we put one million dollars out there for our local businesses who were going to be feeling the pain of this time of crisis? Could we match dollars, to spur on local business?

We know that in this time of what could be devastating impact, we need, as a small business that supports small business, to take unprecedented and bold action. “What is something only we can do?” we asked.

I introduce to you our answer: a new Local Community Advertising Grant program, providing up to $1 million dollars in matching advertising funds across the entire Woodward Community Media division. This includes the Eastern Iowa Media Group, of which this publication is a part.

These matching fund grants are open to all locally-owned small businesses in the community, ranging in value from $250 to $10,000. They can be applied to any Woodward Community Media publication during the months of April, May or June.

It’s easy to apply. Simply to go https://woodwardcommunitymedia.com/grant — enter a few pieces of information, and you’ll be contacted within one to two business days with a response.

So, this is one way we can help. As a business deemed essential with our communication abilities, we’ve put urgent COVID-19 pandemic information relating to public health, safety and security on our websites for free. (As “free” is not a good long-term business model nor is it reflective of the value, we only do this in critical situations.)

We have provided other items – some free, some with partner assistance — each week to help you stay updated, to understand things from a local viewpoint and if we can, bring a smile to your face. We appreciate the notes, calls of appreciation and even treats for our on-going coverage — thank you for that support.

We sure hope you keep supporting us; please encourage your family and friends to do the same, with subscriptions, marketing partnerships and overall engagement with what we do. We truly appreciate that you help us keep all our workers so we can do the work needed to help keep our communities strong.

I would be remiss to not bring up a reminder to salute those who also are answering the question I started with — we know those on the front lines: our first responders and medical folks, grocery and essential workers, delivery personnel, those working in production environments and others.

They are our heroes during this challenging time. We know how to thank them best, with simple things like washing hands, wearing a facemask, keeping distance and not tempting fate in gathering with others in any way. We are “Iowa-Strong,” and we can kick in with self-discipline and care.

We’re in this together. We will deal with this challenge together. We will celebrate when we can put this in our rear-view mirror together. We know that with supporting each other, we will come out on the other side of this stronger, and more resilient, than ever before.

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