St. Paul will provide emergency cash help to more families and small businesses than expected after an influx of nearly $750,000 in donations to the city’s Bridge Fund.

More than 5,200 families and 2,100 businesses applied for Bridge Fund grants between April 8 and April 19. Mayor Melvin Carter told council members Wednesday that applications came from across the city, but most were from areas of poverty.

The council on April 1 approved allocating $3.3 million from the Housing and Redevelopment Authority budget to the Bridge Fund. With an initial $600,000 in donations, the fund had enough money to provide $1,000 grants to 1,000 families and $7,500 grants to 300 small businesses selected at random.

On Wednesday, the council voted to accept an additional $747,980 contributed or committed as of April 15. That money will provide grants to another 230 families and 69 small businesses.

City staff from five departments are reviewing Bridge Fund applications for eligibility and getting checks out the door. As of noon Wednesday, Carter said, 16 checks had been mailed and another 38 were being processed.

Donations to the Bridge Fund are still being accepted at