2020 | Coronavirus

County starts awarding business, nonprofit grants from $25 million emergency fund

Nearly 6,900 applications came in before Saturday cutoff

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Small businesses and nonprofits began receiving emergency grants from Montgomery County on Monday.

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After nearly 6,900 small businesses and nonprofits applied for help from Montgomery County’s $25 million relief fund, a first small group of them has been approved for grants.

The deadline for applications was Saturday at 5 p.m. Applications were accepted for almost two weeks, starting April 15.

County officials have said that 1,000 recipients will start with a base grant of up to $10,000. Some of those applications will be revisited later for a possible increase of up to $75,000, the maximum award in the grant program.

Included in the county’s Public Health Emergency Grant Program are mini grants of up to $2,500 to help cover technology costs associated with having employees work remotely.

Applicants for the program were required to have 100 employees or fewer and be able to demonstrate a revenue loss as a result of the pandemic.

The County Council approved the grant fund as an expedited measure on March 31 as a way to help businesses suffering during the economic downturn related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Of the $25 million now in the fund, $10 million was specifically set aside for restaurants and retail shops, including $5 million that the County Council added on April 21.

Jerome Fletcher, an assistant chief administrative officer for the county, wrote in a Monday text message that email notifications were sent to awardees on Wednesday to let them know that it will take two business days to get the first payment.

By the end of business on Monday, around 60 businesses were expected to have received base grants of up to $10,000, he wrote.

Fletcher wrote there was no new information available on whether the county would reopen the applications.

According to Fletcher, 84% of the applicants have fewer than 10 full-time employees.

The largest group of applicants are corporations, at 40%. The rest are limited liability companies, at 37%; sole proprietorships, at 5%, and an “other” category, at 1%.

Nonprofits make up 17% of the applicants.

The largest percentage of applicants — 21% — are in Rockville. Of the rest, 20% are in Silver Spring, 15% are in Gaithersburg, 11% are in Bethesda, and 6% are in Germantown. The remaining 27% came from various parts of the county.

Fletcher said a list of awardees will be published around the end of the week.

“Our goal was to create a program that would help the community in need and we were able to do that,” he wrote.

Briana Adhikusuma can be reached at briana.adhikusuma@bethesdamagazine.com.

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