EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)-- Moonrise Aerials Yoga Studio and Giizhig Design Company are the recipients of the fall Red Letter Grant.
“Totally unexpected,” says Michelle Anthony, founder of Moonrise Aerials. “We’re just in shock and awe, and total excitement,” says Rachel Duffenbach, also a grant recipient with Anthony.
“There are a lot of really powerful women out here and I am really thankful to have gotten it. I feel like I’m dreaming,” says Giizhig Design Company grant recipient Brittany Tainter.
Out of 13 applicants, two were chosen, both awarded $2000 plus several hundred more dollars for advertisement purposes.
“What feels best about winning this grant specifically is that our whole business wanted to be women focused. Obviously everyone is welcome but we wanted to cater specifically to women's empowerment through these alternative fitness techniques,” says Anthony.
“My plan is to help with branding and design assets and stuff like that but also I want to really help with social equality and social rights and preservation of culture so I’m really going to focus on a lot of outreach to native communities and non native communities,” says Tainter.
But a lot of work from other companies goes into the decision making process.
“It was a challenge to just narrow it down to two, but everybody is a winner. They've already taken the step to start the process of opening their business so in that itself they've won,” says judge Amy Erickson, of Latitude 44 Yoga.
Funding for the two grants comes partially from Red's Mercantile, individuals from the community, and local businesses, several of which put forward hundreds of dollars in the last week to support the grant.
“In true Eau Claire fashion people are stepping forward to do what they can to help the other business owners and potential business owners and show them that we are a community that we need to support one another and collaborate where we can and help each other out,” says Erickson.
There will be another Red Letter Grant come this spring, where two more female entrepreneurs will be chosen.