2020 | Coronavirus

What to know about getting county small business, nonprofit emergency grants

Entities with up to 100 employees are eligible

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It’s been nearly three weeks since Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich announced plans to provide $20 million in emergency grants for small businesses and nonprofits.

Now the wait is almost over. A county website explaining the program went live on Wednesday.
Applications for the emergency grants probably will be accepted starting on Monday or Tuesday, according to Montgomery County Business Liaison Officer Daniel Koroma.

Grants of up to $75,000 will be provided through the program to small businesses and nonprofits with no more than 100 employees. The money can be used to cover employee wages and benefits, taxes, debt, rent, or other operating expenses.

Of the $20 million fund, 25%, or $5 million, will be specifically reserved for restaurants and retail storefronts.

Mini grants of up to $2,500 will be awarded to help cover costs of purchasing technology equipment and software to allow employees to work remotely.

The county has not decided whether the applications will be closed at any point. Koroma said the applications be awarded on a rolling basis.

What are eligibility requirements for businesses and nonprofits?

● 100 full-time-equivalent employees or fewer
● Primary place of business must be in Montgomery County, more than 50% of the employees work in the county, or more than 50% of the gross sales are in the county
● Must be able to demonstrate financial losses of 25% or more
● Must have applied to any applicable state and federal COVID-19 assistance programs
● Must be a registered business and in “good standing” with the state

Sole proprietorships and independent contractors are eligible.

What is required in the application?

The three-page application will require several documents as it’s submitted.

At least two of the following signed documents are required:
● Tax return for 2019 or 990 if available
● Tax return for 2018 or 990
● Tax return for 2017 or 990
● Interim financial statements and any tax return the business filed with the IRS, if operating for less than two years
● 2019 profit-and-loss statement, if operating for less than two years
● For sole proprietors: Schedule C from personal tax returns for 2018
● For sole proprietors: Schedule C from personal tax returns for 2017
In addition, the following documents are required to prove financial loss caused by the pandemic:
● Business financial documents: interim monthly or quarterly financials for 2020, monthly or quarterly sales tax filings for 2020, or 2020 bank statements for businesses with fewer than five employees
● Evidence of applications to any federal or state COVID-19 assistance programs, including award or denial letters
● Articles of incorporation or organization
● Invoice or quote for telework equipment or software for employees, if requesting funds for this purpose

If businesses have not filed taxes for 2019 yet, documentation from 2017 and 2018 will work, Koroma said.

Nonprofits will need to provide the last two years of 990 forms.

Anyone who hasn’t been in business for at least two years can provide any financial tax documentation they have, including quarterly financials or monthly profit-and-loss statements.

Information must be submitted on any money that has been received or applied for from state or federal relief programs. Businesses and nonprofits will need to explain the intended use for the funds and how the public health emergency has affected the business’s operations, revenue and expenses.

Registration with the county’s Central Vendor Registration System is required to receive grants. The registration will require a copy of a W-9 and ACH electronic payment information.

The application cannot be saved and retrieved at a later time. No applications can be submitted without all of the required documents or information.

How will the county determine which businesses receive grants and for what amount?

Koroma said the average of the revenue from the last two years and the first two months of 2020 will be compared to March revenues to demonstrate losses.

Koroma said the county will consider the financial losses with particular attention to those that have lost 75% of their revenue or more, as well as any state or federal assistance that the businesses have received or applied for.

“We wouldn’t reimburse the funding that they have [received],” he said.

What will the grant agreement include?

If a grant is awarded, a business or nonprofit would be required to sign an agreement that allows the county to audit financial records.

The agreement also requires certain reports to be made to the county and that any unused or improperly used funds be returned to the county.

Applicants can be prosecuted for any false statements on the application.

Will there be assistance for filling out the application?

Organizations that have partnered with the county to provide help to businesses or nonprofits applying for the grants will be listed on the website.

The application will be available in other languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Amharic, Korean, Vietnamese and French, Koroma said.
Where’s the application?

The application is expected to be online on Monday or Tuesday. To be notified when the application is available, email peter.fosselman@montgomerycountymd.gov with “PHEG” included in the subject line.

Where can more information be found?

More information on the application process can be found here.

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