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St. Louis Blues Alumni step up to help local businesses

The St. Louis Blues know something about hard hits – giving them and taking them. They also know a lot about the importance of teamwork and how important it is to lift up a teammate when they’re down.

So it makes sense that the St. Louis Blues Alumni would want to step in and help local businesses that have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and related health and safety regulations.

But the idea for the formation of the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund came from one man.

“We had a gentleman approach us about (helping local businesses) and we just thought what a great way to help our local businesses,” Chase explained in a video on the team website.

The initial goal of the fund is to raise $300,000, which will be matched by an anonymous donor for a total of $600,000 in funds that can be distributed to local businesses.

“Our alumni stepped up with the first $50,000,” Chase said.

To date, the Fund has raised $61,830 toward its $300,000 goal. But there’s still time for the community to bring home the win by making a donation online at stlbluesalumni.com/COVID-19-Assistance-Fund.

“There’s not just a monetary benefit (that comes from donating), there’s the psychological benefit, the social benefit, if you will, of small businesses in the community at large understanding that people really do care about what is happening and they’re trying to help,” explained Mike Doster, a managing member of the Doster, Ullom & Boyle law firm, who Chase tapped to help the Alumni set up the Fund. “So when Kelly Chase contacted me I thought this is something we need to jump in on. We need to help them do it right.”

To make sure that the Fund was established and managed correctly, Doster brought together the St. Louis Blues Alumni and YouthBridge Community Foundation.

“To me, it’s a great example of how St. Louis organizations can collaborate on a really great mission,” Doster said.

He noted that YouthBridge played an invaluable role in establishing and setting up the Fund as did Alec Moen, a principal attorney with Doster, Ullom & Boyle LLC.

“We did a fair amount of work for both organizations, which we did free of charge, and Alec did most of the work,” Doster said. “We’re very pleased that it (the Fund) came to fruition and obviously some businesses and business owners will benefit from it.”

To that end, Chase encourages local businesses to take their shot now. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. on April 23.

“If you’re a small business, a family business, any type that was affected by COVID-19 get on there and see what the rules are,” he urged, referring to stlbluesalumni.com/COVID-19-Assistance-Fund.

Businesses that meet the criteria and are approved by the selection committee may receive up to $15,000 in support from the fund.

“We just want to give back,” Chase said, speaking on behalf of his fellow Blues.

Applicants who are selected to receive a grant will be notified after May 10.

Drawing from almost 48 years of professional experience, Doster said the reason for giving is clear.

“When you work closely with people who are trying to make something happen, who are trying to be successful, support their families, grow their businesses, provide meaningful services and products to the community … you realize how important, how vital small business is not just to the owners and their families and the people that work for them but to the community at large,” he said.

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