Former Sen. John Danforth (R-MO) and the Missouri Chamber of Commerce have launched the Joplin Tomorrow Foundation to provide low- or no-interest loans to businesses willing to relocate to neighborhoods leveled by a deadly tornado that struck the city last month, the St. Louis Business Journal reports.
The organization aims to raise $10 million from individuals, companies, and foundations to help businesses looking to set up shop in Joplin or expand or modify the operations they had before the May 22 tornado. To date, Joplin Tomorrow has received $500,000 from the Danforth Foundation and $25,000 from the chamber. According to the Kansas City Star, the new fund will be flexible in providing working capital as well as funds for capital expenditures and will also finance planning efforts to help shape the strategy for the entire reconstruction initiative.
The tornado that tore through the city and surrounding southwest Missouri counties damaged more than four hundred and fifty businesses and left nearly five thousand people out of work. The federal government has declared the region a disaster area and has approved more than $13 million in aid.
"Just as New Orleans is now beginning to thrive, so can Joplin," Danforth told the Star. "Joplin Tomorrow is a critical tool for securing that future."