Together we will bounce back.


In May 2020, Cornerstone West CDC and Wilmington Alliance formed The Wilmington Strong Fund to support small businesses during the COVID- 19 pandemic.


During the first phase of the grant, the fund provided $1000 grants to 98 small businesses to cover expenses such as rent payments, mortgage payments, utility and supplier bills.


During Phase II, the Fund disbursed an additional 52 grants to small businesses, as well as piloted free marketing services to 15 awardees in partnership with 4Youth Productions.


The Fund began with the leadership from over ten private-public partnerships with expertise in community economic development. With a $100,000 matching grant commitment from Barclays Bank, the Fund expanded to serve small businesses throughout the City of Wilmington with the goal of disbursing $200,000 by December 2020.


During Phase I the Fund successfully disbursed $1000 grants to 98 small businesses. With the addition of the West Side Emergency Relief Fund, Cornerstone West CDC collectively disbursed $108,500 in small business grants to a total of 119 businesses in 2020.


Phase II was implemented in December 2020 to April 2021, with the support of Comenity Capital Bank. Currently, the Fund has distributed in total $151,000 in emergency grants to Wilmington small businesses.



The Wilmington Strong Fund has become crucial in supporting Wilmington businesses of color, in low to moderate income commercial corridors, and reducing commercial vacancies. Wilmington Strong Fund during Phase III will implement the following programmatic efforts (listed below) to support small businesses as our community works towards recovery, and ensures our neighborhood commercial corridors grow and thrive.


Emergency Grants – continue to disburse $1000 grants to first time applicants.

Storefront Improvements – Provide up to $5,000 to awardees from Phase I & II for facade improvements. 

Equipment & Interior Repairs – Provide up to $5,000 to awardees from Phase I & II for interior repairs and equipment upgrades.

Education - Awardees will receive priority status in an executive education program for established small business owners, in partnership with Interise & DE Black Chamber of Commerce

Free Marketing Services - In partnership with WilmingtonMADE, a shop local campaign powered by Wilmington Alliance, provide high quality marketing photography and other advertising resources to all awardees. To apply for free marketing services, see link here. 



In order to be eligible to receive a grant from the Wilmington Strong Fund, all applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • If your business is an Air BnB, corporate or franchised businesses, insurance company, property management company, nonprofits or check cashing businesses you are NOT permitted to apply.

  • Your business must be located within the administrative boundaries of the City of Wilmington. Please see the map > to determine if your location is eligible.

  • One Business Owner can not apply for funding for more than 2 separate business locations.

    Businesses cannot make more than 1 million in annual revenue.

If you are applying to the fund for the first time:

  • You must complete an application including providing your current business license and documentation regarding your proposed bill payment.

    • Eligible uses of funds for first time applicants are; rent payment, mortgage payment, inventory, business loan payment, or utility/supplier bill. 


If you are re-applying to the fund and have already received a $1,000 grant:

  • You must complete an application including providing your current business license and documentation regarding your proposed use of funds.

    • Eligible uses of funds for re-applying business are ONLY Storefront Improvements, Interior & Exterior Repairs, and/or New Equipment. All other requests will not be accepted.

All applicants will be evaluated by our Review Team, following a rubric point system. View > 





True Access Capital offers free assistance to small businesses with their loan application package, business planning process, and follow-up services. This assistance helps prepare potential borrowers for the application/underwriting process and it helps existing borrowers remain sustainable, once the loan has been made. To learn more about True Access Capital’s Technical Assistance services, email ctymes@firststateloan.org or complete a request for counseling:


The focus of the Delaware Small Business Development Center (DSBDC), is to develop and support entrepreneurship throughout the State of Delaware by free one-on-one counseling to understand their needs and assist them in a path forward. They offer free assistance to small businesses with business planning, financial services, marketing, and technology. To request a free session with a consultant from their Newark location,

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If you have specific questions about your application, or issues uploading documents, please email Gabrielle Lantieri at glantieri@westsidegrows.org. Se habla Español. 

First time applicants are eligible to apply for a $1000 emergency grant. If your business already received a $1000 grant between June 2020 - May 2021 you are eligible to reapply for up to $5,000 for storefront improvements, equipment, and interior repairs. Applications for both first time applicants and re-submissions are accepted on a rolling basis every two weeks on Mondays. Please see below for a list of dates by rounds
Round 21: 7/6/2021
Round 22: 7/19/2021
Round 23: 8/2/2021
Round 24: 8/16/2021
Round 25: 8/30/2021
Round 26: 9/13/2021
Round 27: 9/27/2021
Round 28: 10/11/2021
Round 29: 10/25/2021
Round 30: 11/8/2021

As part of the application process, you will need to supply a copy of your business license and a copy of a bill that would be paid with is your funding is granted. Please be prepared to have documents ready for upload during application.




Anchor Supporters:


Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking and wealth management. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for 48 million customers and clients worldwide.


Comenity Bank is one of the private-label and co-branded credit card banking subsidiaries of Alliance Data’s card services business. Comenity Bank was formed as World Financial Network National Bank in 1989 to provide private label credit card services to the various retail establishments owned by Limited Brands and its subsidiaries, and their customers. Comenity Bank underwrites credit programs on behalf of many of America’s best-known brands. For more information about Comenity, visit Comenity.net. 

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West Side Grows Together is a coalition of residents, businesses, churches, and local leadership working together to transform & strengthen the West Side community in Wilmington, DE. In June of 2011, more than 650 residents and over 100 other stakeholders worked together to develop the ten year community strategy known as the West Side Revitalization Plan. WSGT is led by our Steering Committee, representing a broad range of community stakeholders including West Side residents, civic associations, neighborhood planning councils, institutions, and businesses. The committee is responsible for prioritizing projects, tracking implementation of the revitalization plan, and coordinating our partners.

Wilmington Alliance was formed in July of 2019 out of the merger of Wilmington Renaissance Corporation (WRC) and Wilmington Leaders Alliance (WLA), to advance the city of Wilmington through intentional strategic collaborations with a culture that is inclusive and innovative. The Alliance focuses on targeted projects for greater impact and brings coordinating support to see these efforts through to completion. Our three areas of focus are: creative placemaking, community-based violence intervention and economic development & inclusion which includes workforce development, entrepreneurship and support of local small businesses.

The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development is committed to ensuring a diversified local economy for the City by promoting and developing all varieties of industry and by initiating programs to increase job opportunities for residents of the City of Wilmington. They facilitate the development of retail, commercial, cultural, entertainment, and educational attractions as a means to attract new businesses and residents to the City. They also assist small, minority, and women owned businesses through training and technical assistance programs designed to facilitate greater access to the public/private marketplace.


True Access Capital is a not-for-profit, federally certified, Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that supports small businesses and community development projects. The mission of True Access Capital is to educate, empower, and elevate business owners, and entrepreneurs, by augmenting technical expertise, increasing access to capital and stimulating business growth throughout Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania.

 Through our lending and investing programs and range of services, Cinnaire improves lives, creates jobs and contributes to vibrant, strong communities. They help community development organizations, lending partners and socially motivated investors accomplish goals in underserved communities. They aim to  fill gaps in community development funding by leveraging capital from public and private sector organizations and bringing expertise to communities that need it most.

The Division of Small Business is a service-focused agency committed to helping businesses start and grow in Delaware. They aim to support the small business community in Delaware by navigating government processes, connecting with resource organizations, and accessing capital.

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The WIN Factory is the premier educational, networking and wealth building resources for new and existing wealth builders. We are a group of like-minded new and experienced wealth builders committed to learning and creating wealth through entrepreneurship, real estate and investing. We train ourselves from within AND learn from outside resources through a growing network of industry professionals and newbies, networking events, virtual learning materials and much more.

The mission of Collaborate Northeast is to coordinate and facilitate place-based redevelopment in Northeast Wilmington in a sustainable, creative and community-driven manner to ensure that economic and environmental resiliency is incorporated into every aspect of revitalization so that every resident can enjoy the highest quality of life.

Central Baptist Community Development Corporation’s Eastside Rising Career Development Center comprehensively addresses barriers of the hardest to serve populations while taking them through a rigorous workforce training program designed to increase the social and human capital of the communities we serve.

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LACC aims to  empower the Latino Community through education, advocacy, partnerships and exceptional services in order to achieve a thriving Latino community. Our core values are built on the premise that they are fully applicable to the manner in which we engage with our clients, our fellow employees, and all our stakeholders as we work to create the greatest good possible.

The Wilmington Community Advisory Council, a diverse group of state and local stakeholders, was created in 2016 to address youth gun violence based on the 2015 CDC Report. The Council serves as a convener, broker and advocate for addressing the root causes of gun violence, e.g. toxic stress and trauma, behavioral health, unemployment, and neighborhood safety. It does this by bringing together community organizations and coalitions and connecting them to needed expertise and resources.


Together we will bounce back.




Find out more—Frequently Asked Questions: 

“Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.

No merchant or tradesman would set himself to work if he did not hope to reap benefit thereby.”

Martin Luther

Contact the Wilmington Strong Fund with comments or questions:

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