IKEA Announces Plans to Donate $2.3 Million to Support New Jersey’s COVID-19 Relief Efforts
TRENTON, N.J. (August 21, 2020) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) today announced that IKEA Retail U.S. intends to donate $2.3 million to support the Authority’s Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program for businesses impacted by COVID-19. The donation is part of a global initiative IKEA has voluntarily undertaken to reimburse governments worldwide for the costs of supporting employees who were furloughed from the company in the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on our economy and the workers that fuel it,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “We were proud to support IKEA workers when they needed us, and now we appreciate the company’s generous donation to support small businesses that continue to struggle to make ends meet. This is a difficult time, but generous efforts like this will make it possible for all of us to get through the challenges we face today and build a stronger, fairer, and healthier New Jersey.”
In line with New Jersey’s public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, IKEA closed its retail locations in the state and furloughed the company’s in-store employees during the month of April 2020. Now that restrictions on retail businesses are loosening and the company is able to return those employees safely to work, IKEA intends to repay the roughly $2.3 million in costs New Jersey incurred to provide unemployment insurance and other social support programs for the company’s employees during the month they were furloughed.
“We are appreciative of the ongoing support from the state of New Jersey, including the unemployment funds paid to our co-workers who were furloughed in the early weeks of the pandemic,” said Javier Quiñones, IKEA Retail U.S. president. “People are the heart of our business, and the state unemployment benefits helped IKEA U.S. co-workers during a difficult time. We now have a better understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on our business, and we’ve decided to “pay it forward” to support small businesses in our local communities.”
The $2.3 million donation will bolster the NJEDA’s Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. Initially launched in April and expanded for Phase 2 in June, the Program provides grant funding for small businesses struggling with COVID-19-related challenges. To ensure equitable distribution of funds, one-third of the funding for the Grant Program is set aside for qualified businesses located in one of the 715 census tracts that were eligible to be selected as a New Jersey Opportunity Zone.
To date, more than 14,000 businesses have been approved for grants totaling more than $36 million. The NJEDA will use the donation from IKEA to fund businesses whose applications are currently waitlisted. Funds will be distributed in the order applications were submitted.
“The NJEDA greatly appreciates the generous donation from IKEA. The funding they provide will allow us to distribute grants to hundreds of businesses who may not have received funding otherwise,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “By supporting the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program, IKEA will help businesses keep their employees on the payroll and make the changes they need to stay open while keeping customers and staff members safe. This is crucial not only to ensuring we weather the immediate health and economic crises COVID-19 has caused, but also to paving the way for a smooth and successful recovery.”
Additional information about the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program and other New Jersey programs providing relief for businesses impacted by COVID-19 is available at http://cv.business.nj.gov.
To read Governor Murphy's full economic plan, please visit: https://nj.gov/economicplan
About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.
To learn more about NJEDA resources for businesses call NJEDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit https://www.njeda.gov and follow @NewJerseyEDA on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.