The Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce and its Board of Directors have activated the OTR Chamber's Small Business Fund to provide recovery support for OTR's small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The goal is to raise $500,000 to provide grants up to $20,000 to help cover reopening costs for OTR and Pendleton small businesses. 


Three organizations are leading the launch of the OTR Chamber’s Small Business Fund: Main Street Ventures and Urban Sites (and Urban Sites related family foundations) are each contributing $100,000; Sycamore Capital is committing $50,000. Together, this group has raised half of the recovery funds.


“Urban Sites and our family foundation have been revitalizing historic OTR spaces since the early 1990s and this is our legacy, said Greg Olson, CEO of Urban Sites. “The OTR neighborhood catalyzed the rebirth of our great city and our contribution today reinforces the gravity in maintaining what was built.”


According to Kelly Adamson, OTR Chamber Executive Director, OTR’s small businesses are the backbone of Cincinnati’s urban core and the time is critical to help set them on the path to recovery. “We created this fund to not only provide financial support for the reopening process, but to strengthen our small business district as a whole by tying in access to technical assistance and educational services” she said.


The Main Street Ventures commitment is a $100,000 matching grant, which the OTR Chamber is leveraging to kick-off a crowdfunding campaign: “OTR Back on the Rise”. The Back on the Rise campaign goal is to match 100% of Main Street Venture’s funds, with donations of $1,000 from 100 individuals, who will be recognized as “OTR Backers”. The OTR Chamber in partnership with 3CDC, will recognize each individual or company who contributes $1,000 through a future community project within OTR's small business district. 


“Main Street Ventures has been helping build the small business ecosystem in OTR for 20 years. From the “Digital Rhine” on Main Street in the early 2000s, The Brandery startup accelerator, and countless grants and investments over the years, we have been there to help OTR flourish into the neighborhood we all love today,” said Tony Alexander, Executive Director, Main Street Ventures. “We will assist in any way we can to make sure the hard-fought progress we have made is not lost.” 


According to Adamson, The OTR Chamber created the crowdfunding opportunity as an avenue for everyone in the Cincinnati community to help rebuild OTR’s future and have their name be a part of this historic moment in time. 


“We see this as an opportunity to uniquely acknowledge the people who stood up and said to our small businesses, ‘I’ve got your back’,” Adamson said. 


About the OTR Chamber’s Small Business Relief Fund

The goal of the OTR Chamber's Small Business Relief Fund is to help stabilize and strengthen OTR’s most vulnerable local businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by removing challenges and barriers to re-opening their doors under new guidelines. In addition to providing financial support, grantees will receive a one-year membership to the Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI), a certified Community Development Corporation (CDC) who provides access to critical technical assistance and small business development services through their SBA-funded Women’s Business Center operating out of OTR’s own Union Hall. The OTR Chamber is also partnering with the OTR-based Cincinnati Development Fund to administer the program.

Companies and individuals interested in donating to the fund should send an email to [email protected]

Additional funders include P&G, P&G Brands Olay & Ivory, Ed & Joann Hubert Family Foundation, George & Margaret McLane Foundation, Western & Southern Financial Fund, Jens Rosenkrantz Jr., Cavalier Distributing, The Johnson Foundation, Cincinnati Lofts, Empower, Snow Commerce, Brian & Candice Matthews Brackeen, GBBN Architects, Graydon, Stough Development Corporation, Taft Law, and Cincinnati Development Fund.




How to Donate to the “OTR Back on the Rise” Campaign:

Visit the website: https://www.otrchamber.com/backontherise or mail a check to the Over-the-Rhine Revitalization Corporation c/o to the OTR Chamber of Commerce, 1307 Walnut Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. The OTR Revitalization Corporation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization created in 2000. Tax ID: 06-1663070 


How OTR Businesses can Apply for Funds:

This program is specifically for small businesses located in Over-the-Rhine and Pendleton boundaries, as stated in the OTR Chamber of Commerce bylaws. For more information on the grant and eligibility requirements, visit: https://www.otrchamber.com/smallbusinessfund 



The OTR Chamber of Commerce has provided support to OTR's small business district since the very beginning, being a guide and resource for small businesses to create the OTR we know and love today. Since 1985, the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce has represented its members and the community with a mission to be the driving force for creating a strong economy while also promoting inclusivity, embracing diversity and celebrating originality. Our vision is for Over-the-Rhine to be a model neighborhood for inclusive urban revitalization. 


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