After 11 months of struggle for civic groups that help feed the hungry, aid the homeless, educate our kids, preserve our treasures, share music and art and so much more, it has been a good couple of weeks.

First came the San Manuel $1 Million Small Business Relief Fund, which provided $20,000 apiece to 50 local businesses suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The tribe worked with the Inland Empire Economic Partnership.

Most of those grants were given to businesses hit hardest by the pandemic, including nine in both Redlands and Highland. Paul Granado, CEO of the Economic Partnership, reported that nearly half of Inland Empire businesses have suffered during the pandemic. What San Manuel is doing is giving to comfort to a lot of people, he said.

Clearly, that’s true. It’s hard to imagine where the Inland Empire would be without the economic impact and generosity of the tribe. Thank you.

Last week, San Bernardino County, in partnership with the Inland Empire Community Partnership, distributed $3.4 million in COVID-19 relief aid. The money comes from the $2 trillion CARES Act approved by Congress and signed by President Trump last March. It has been a joy for the 216 recipients to finally see a shining light in these dark times, and to hear their expressions of gratitude.

Anita West, executive director of the Kimberly Shirk Association, said she was extremely grateful to the county for its commitment to the nonprofit community. The association took over the 7-acre estate in Prospect Park in 1981 after philanthropist Mary Kimberly-Shirk donated Kimberly Crest to the people of Redlands in celebration of the successful community campaign to preserve Prospect Park.

This is one of 22 organizations based in Redlands that received the grants. Fourteen received the maximum grants of $20,000.

Another was Redlands Bowl Performing Association, which had a successful virtual season and drive-thru donations in front of Mission Commons. But it’s not the same has passing around the red bowls to a captive audience of 3,000 twice a week for two months.

The Redlands Symphony Orchestra got a $15,000 grant. Some of that money will be used to convert its music education program for Redlands Unified into a virtual program. That’s good. It may be a while before we have another orchestra petting zoo at the Redlands Festival of Arts.

These organizations and businesses are the fabric of the Redlands community. To see them fade away is simply not acceptable.

The Redlands Community News salutes the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, San Bernardino County supervisors, the Inland Empire Community Foundation and the federal government for their support. We need it.