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Biz in Brief
Business news from around South Jersey.

by Julie Shannon
To recognize the front-line staff's bravery and unwavering commitment to protect the local community, Inspira Health launched the “Blue Hearts for Health Care Heroes” initiative, asking the community to engage in acts of gratitude in support of Inspira’s fight against COVID-19. Inspired by the #BlueHeartsForHeroes initiative, Inspira Health Foundation and its board of trustees are contributing $1 million to the Inspira COVID-19 emergency response fund.

The emergency response fund gives Inspira Health the necessary ability to respond rapidly during the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. The funds can support the costs of increasing bed capacity, purchasing of personal protective equipment, assisting employees who face financial hardships and completing infrastructure projects to accommodate the impending surge of patients.
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has extended the annual reporting deadlines for businesses that received tax credits through the Grow New Jersey, Economic Redevelopment and Growth, and Urban Transit Hub programs in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in New Jersey. Annual reports will be due 90 days after the NJEDA notifies businesses that restrictions imposed by Gov. Phil Murphy’s statewide stay-at-home order are no longer in effect.
Wakefern Food Corp. is donating $1 million to regional food banks to help meet the increase in demand for food and essentials during the COVID-19 pandemic. The donation will be divided among 30 food banks across the nine-state trading area of cooperative members ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace and The Fresh Grocer, which includes New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
Simultaneously, the United Health Foundation has committed $1 million to provide assistance to New Jersey residents experiencing food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The partnership with the Food Bank of South Jersey is part of UnitedHealth Group’s previously announced initial $50 million commitment to fight COVID-19 and support those most directly impacted, including health care workers, hard-hit communities, seniors and people experiencing homelessness and food insecurity.
The $1 million grant to the Food Bank of South Jersey will provide support for additional staff to prepare emergency food bags and boxes to deliver in underserved communities, provide two weeks’ worth of food supplies for seniors and deliver them to senior housing facilities, and supply additional resources and support to local food banks in South Jersey.
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey has donated $2 million to The New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund. This contribution follows Horizon’s $2.5 million purchase of 500,000 N95 masks and 81,000 face shields for donation to the state’s coordinated response effort.
The Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders has collaborated with the Gloucester County Office of Emergency Management and Department of Economic Development to launch Gloucester County is Open for Business. The online dashboard allows residents to search for services in the area after the COVID-19 pandemic caused many local businesses in Gloucester County to close or update their services. 
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority allocated $2 million in grant funding to be used exclusively for small-business recovery in Atlantic County. The board also allocated more than $60,000 for food assistance and homeless outreach in Atlantic City and reached an agreement with the Department of Health and Spectra Venue Management for the operation of a federally run field hospital at the Atlantic City Convention Center for non-COVID-19 patients.
Gov. Murphy has moved New Jersey’s primary election from June 2 to July 7 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker recently announced that $1.2 million will be awarded to the New Jersey Hospital Association from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The money will be used to help hospitals throughout the state to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, where the state has the second-most positive cases in the nation.
Wegmans Food Markets is hiring more than 500 part- and full-time employees throughout all nine New Jersey stores, at warehouses and at replenishment centers.
Camden County College’s Gloucester Township campus is being used as a drive-up testing site for COVID-19. Jefferson Health New Jersey, the Camden County Freeholder Board and Camden County Health Department collaborated to set up the testing site.
An experiment designed by Stockton University freshman Sophia Bradach will be launched into space later this year as part of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. Bradach’s experiment tests if snow peas can self-fertilize through nitrogen fixation in a microgravity environment.
Salem County schools will receive Chemours Vibrant Communities Grants totaling $275,000 from the Chemours Company. The five-year grants will help Salem County schools achieve Next Generation Science Standards and enrich STEM education.
New Jersey American Water announced it will invest $1.1 million to replace about 2,800 feet of aging water main in Camden by upgrading aging 6-inch water lines with 12-inch ductile iron main along 27th Street from Marlton Avenue to Federal Street. The company announced it will also be replacing four fire hydrants and 160 utility-owned service lines along the pipeline route.

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Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 10, Issue 4 (April 2020).

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