Rent & Mortgage Payment Program Set Up by Trio of Leading Organizations in SWM

If you are one of the myriad business entities across Michigan’s Great Southwest worried about rent and mortgage payments coming due in April and May, three leading organizations in the region are teaming up to lend a hand — interest free.

Cornerstone Alliance, Berrien County’s lead economic development agency, has partnered with the Berrien Community Foundation and the Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council to ramp up a zero-interest loan program for Berrien County businesses and nonprofit organizations that have a rent or mortgage payment due in April and May of 2020. Resources provided through the Rent and Mortgage Payment Program (RAMPP) created by the partnership are now available to small business owners and nonprofits upon application.

Business owners and nonprofit organizations who have a physical presence in Berrien County can find full program details, as well as an application, under the “COVID-19 Relief” tab on the Cornerstone Alliance web site,  which is directly linked below:

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You can also find the application on the Berrien Community Foundation web site at this link:

If you are a business that has already completed the Cornerstone Alliance survey, a team member will provide an application to you. RAMPP is available to both for-profit and nonprofit Berrien County businesses.  Additional eligibility requirements can be found on the web sites, and by clicking this link for a one-sheet on the RAMPP program:


Lisa Cripps-Downey, President of the Berrien Community Foundation, says, “The Berrien County community continues to collaborate and find ways to help all those who need it,” and adds, “The Berrien Community Foundation is proud to take part in this partnership that supports our small businesses and nonprofit organizations. This program is a way to help businesses with a very specific need in a time when most of them have seen a steep decline in revenue. Partnerships like this, with multiple community entities, are easy to support in this time of need.”

Millicent Huminsky, Executive Director of the Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council, tells us, “As a community, it’s in all of our best interest to assist businesses in Southwest Michigan in getting back on their feet as soon as possible,” adding, “One of the many great attributes of our community is so many people are willing to lend a hand, and why the Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council is partnering on this program to directly benefit the small business community.  We’re confident in Southwest Michigan’s ability to overcome the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our businesses, our beaches and our community will be ready to welcome all people as soon as this difficult time is behind us.”

John Janick, President of the Cornerstone Alliance Board of Directors, says, “We are looking for ways to provide a significant impact that doesn’t duplicate the programs already in place at a state and federal level,” and notes, “This program will address a need for small businesses in many industries, primarily located in downtown and commercial corridors. Our businesses rely on our residents, and tourists, for survival. This program will provide them with a little more flexibility to be ready to open back up as soon as possible.”

The Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council is a non-profit, member-based, organization whose primary mission is to promote tourism travel and convention business to this region; using tourism to sustain small businesses for tourists and residents to enjoy year round.

The Berrien Community Foundation works to be the center of philanthropy in Berrien County. BCF holds endowment and other funds that help to fund programs and projects throughout Berrien County. Through these funds the Community Foundation is able to support the ever-changing needs of Berrien County now and into the future. The Foundation also provides opportunities for individuals to fulfill their charitable intentions through life-end giving and estate planning.

Cornerstone Alliance is a non-profit, investor-governed, economic development organization primarily focused on increasing employment opportunities, private sector capital investments and the local tax base in Michigan’s Great Southwest; with specialized business services offered in economically distressed areas.

Click the links below for pdf infographics detailing the program and the application process: