The Pascale Sykes Foundation and New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC) announced the expansion of the THRIVE South Jersey Initiative (THRIVE) to meet the immediate needs of small businesses and nonprofits critically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through THRIVE South Jersey, an initiative developed to address economic hardship in the targeted four-county region of Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem, and Western Atlantic Counties, small businesses in South Jersey can apply for zero-based interest rate loans and receive approval and funding within 10-14 days of application — delivering immediate relief in unprecedented times. NJCC used its experience helping small businesses recover after Hurricane Sandy to form this innovative approach to providing emergency assistance through THRIVE.

“We know that small businesses are the heart of our communities and in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are encountering unexpected challenges in a rapidly changing market,” said Wayne Meyer, president of NJCC. “Consistent with our mission, this expansion of THRIVE ensures that small businesses and nonprofits are provided with equitable and inclusive opportunities for relief, stability, and growth. We believe that small businesses are the lifeline of the New Jersey economy.”

“Our cross-sector approach is critical to driving this work forward and getting small businesses what they need quickly to stay open and operational during this crisis that we’re all facing,” said Frances Sykes, president and CEO of the Pascale Sykes Foundation, a champion of the Whole Family Approach. “Furthermore, we recognize that the economic fallout that this pandemic has caused is greatly impacting working families, many which rely on small businesses for access to essential items and for employment. Keeping small businesses afloat is a way to also help families and communities stay afloat. We’re proud to expand our partnership with NJCC and hope to provide some relief to local residents and businesses.”

Applying lessons learned from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Foundation and NJCC recognized that small businesses required access to immediate funding with low interest rates in order to survive the economic setbacks resulting from COVID-19. Small businesses and nonprofits often lack access to traditional sources of capital. Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) like NJCC are uniquely positioned to provide accessible and affordable financing to communities that are disproportionately affected during a crisis.

Some small businesses have already benefited in South Jersey. Owners Bob and Carey Hettmannsperger of Essl’s Dugout, a restaurant located in Egg Harbor Township, shared how the loan is helping them keep their business afloat during this challenging time: “We are very grateful for the opportunity to be supported by our local community. Funding secured through THRIVE South Jersey will help us to continue serving many of our patrons and keep the legacy of this staple institution alive during this time of uncertainty. It’s good to see New Jersey working together. This is a win for small businesses.”

NJCC partnered with the Pascale Sykes Foundation in 2014 to launch THRIVE South Jersey, as part of Pascale Sykes’s South Jersey Strengthening Families Initiative. Over the years, THRIVE has offered flexible, affordable capital and capacity building assistance to generate quality jobs and improve economic opportunity across the four-county area. Its funding model, which provides cross-sector financial support, can be replicated in other states facing similar challenges.

To those businesses located in areas outside of the THRIVE market, a 3% interest rate loan is available for eligible applicants through the Garden State Relief Fund, a $20 million statewide program managed by NJCC. This funding leverages and complements state- and federal-level relief programs to ensure that resources reach the small businesses and nonprofits in communities with the greatest needs.

To Apply

Eligible small businesses must have three to 50 full-time employees and be located in Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem, and Western Atlantic Counties to meet the criteria for the no-cost loan. There are roughly 50 small businesses that have applied to date. To submit an application, complete this form and return via email to further information regarding this initiative and the Garden State Relief Fund, please contact New Jersey Community Capital at 732.640.2061, ext. 143 or by email at