San Manuel awards $20,000 grants to four mountain businesses

Feb 4, 2021 | Uncategorized


By Douglas W. Motley
Senior Writer

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians on Jan. 29 surprised 50 businesses located on areas that used to be their tribal lands with grants of $20,000 from San Manuel Cares.

San Manuel supported four local mountain businesses – Blue Jay Cinema, Mountain Arts Network and Gallery, Mountain Counseling & Training and Refresh, A Retreat on the Mountain – during the virtual meeting. The businesses were not aware before the meeting that they had been selected for this donation.

“We know such a grant could mean the difference between losing the business and keeping the business open,” Ken Ramirez, chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, told the businesses during the virtual meeting. The businesses were reportedly chosen because they were not considered essential businesses, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security’s list of essential industries.

“Since ancient times, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has expressed itself through a culture of giving,” Ramirez said. “Today, San Manuel is able to answer the call of Yawa’ (Serrano word meaning ‘to act on one’s beliefs’) through partnerships with those in need. This last year, small businesses, including restaurants, salons and retail shops are more in need than ever.”

The Blue Jay Cinema was chosen because “it has been entertaining mountain residents for over 31 years and loves giving them a one-of a-kind cinema experience. Customers love the theater for its location and for always having the biggest blockbusters.” It has been closed at times this last year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Mountain Arts Network and Gallery is located in Lake Arrowhead. “It has both a gallery and an art shop and keeping the community engaged in the arts is its goal.” Its public lessons have been put on hold this last year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Mountain Counseling & Training serves the mountain communities by offering therapy, parenting classes and mentoring, as well as assistance and treatment programs. Some of its programs have had to go virtual this last year to maintain social distancing.

Refresh, A Retreat on the Mountain, located in the Lake Gregory part of Crestline, is a wellness center that offers yoga, Pilates and also hosts events. “At Refresh, you’ll be able to reset and find your center.” They have also been closed at times since last due to government restrictions.

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians created this $1,000,000 Small Business Relief Fund to bring financial assistance to these 50 small businesses during this difficult time and maybe more in the future. It is hoped the small businesses that receive this $20,000 lifeline will not only survive but thrive.

The fund is being managed and distributed through the Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP), working in collaboration with San Manuel’s Strategic Philanthropy Team. The relief funding is intended to provide a hand-up to businesses by providing financial support in the following areas: paycheck protection to fund their current workforce, cash flow assistance to cover operational expenses, debt relief and business improvements.

For more information on these programs or to see the names of the other 46 businesses that received the grants, visit the San Manuel website:



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