ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Regional Business Council has organized an immediate business response to support small business owners and schoolchildren who were impacted by chaos that began with Saturday's police shooting of an unarmed man.

The agency said it was wanting to do "something positive and immediate to let the communities know of our concern."

The council has launched a Reinvest North County Fund, the purpose of which is said to be twofold: first, to provide immediate relief to small business hurt by the tragedy and second, to provide school districts with appropriate resources to show their children how important school is, particularly in times of distress. Businesses were vandalized or looting during several nights of public protest. Several schools were closed in the wake of concerns.

"Schools are an integral part of the fabric of every community. We want to support our schools and schoolchildren as they process the violence in the community," said Kathy Osborn, executive director of the Regional Business Council. "And, we know how critical it is to help small business owners repair, rebuild, and stay committed to the community."

Today, the Regional Business Council has stepped up with a $10,000 donation for this effort and has enlisted the following inaugural donors: the Civic Pride Foundation of the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, Clark-Fox Family Foundation, Negwer Materials, Inc., St. Louis Regional Chamber, UMB Bank, the University of Missouri St. Louis and the Kwame Foundation. Those donors were all to be making donations to the fund today.

Further donations are encouraged. Checks can be made payable to the Reinvest North County Fund at the 501(c)3 non-profit North County Regional Development Association (NCI), 350B Village Square Drive, Hazelwood, MO 63042.

An allocation panel comprised of representatives from the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, the RBC's Young Professionals Network, the Kwame Foundation, UMB Bank-Ferguson Branch, University of Missouri-St. Louis, the Clergy Coalition, St. Louis Economic Partnership, Teach for America and North County Inc. will select the projects to be funded.

Those wishing to apply for funding should fill out the very short and simple form on NCI's website at www.NorthStLouisCounty.com. Applications will be accepted beginning Monday, Aug. 18.

"North County Inc. regional development association is pleased to partner with the St. Louis Regional Business Council to help our businesses get back on their feet and help our schools welcome their students back for the year," said Rebecca Zoll, president/CEO. "Our area has a long and strong history of supporting the local business community and it will continue to do so as we move forward and recover from this trauma."

"We all need to be part of the solution," Osborn said.

The Regional Business Council is a consortium of presidents and chief executive officers of mid- to large-sized companies in St. Louis. The mission of the RBC is to unite and engage members to act on high-impact business, civic and philanthropic affairs for the betterment of the St. Louis region. www.stlrbc.org

North County Incorporated was founded in 1977 and serves as "the voice" for the many business, civic and community organizations throughout the region.

For more go to www.NorthStLouisCounty.com.