The Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce (GVCC) is collaborating with the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) to administer a new grant that will provide additional funds of up to $30,000 for eligible businesses or nonprofits to support COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.
Using CARES Act dollars, Clark County has funded the additional round of $8.1 million in grants to support Clark County businesses and nonprofits with up to 100 employees.
The applications for the grants are now open and will be accepted on a rolling basis until Nov. 1 or until funds are exhausted, whichever one comes first. Upon meeting eligibility requirements, funds of up to $30,000 will be distributed to local businesses and nonprofits located in Clark County. These entities must have a public-facing facility, with up to 100 employees currently with the company or nonprofit.
“This is one of the largest available grants coming to local businesses and has the broadest range of acceptable expenses which can be reimbursed,” said John McDonagh, President/CEO of the GVCC. “That should be a huge shot in the arm for the local business community. The county was also very concerned about our local restaurants, so they have required we give priority to restaurants as well as childcare businesses.”
McDonagh said the other nice thing about this particular grant is that there’s one point of application. Regardless of whether an applicant finds it through the CREDC or GVCC, everything will point to the same application and they will sort out which agency follows up with the applicant on the back end. He said they are hoping this is less confusing and that as a result more businesses will apply.
“This additional funding is a significant amount of money for more businesses in Clark County,” said McDonagh and CREDC President Jennifer Baker, in a joint statement. “The grants not only expand eligibility to nonprofits but will also cover a wider scope of expenses than previous grants allowed. We’re already seeing a great response in the number of applications submitted in the first (several) hours, which only underscores the level of need among our business community.”
The GVCC and CREDC are strongly encouraging businesses that previously applied for the Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant (WWSBEG) or the Clark County Main Street Support Program (CCMSSP) through CREDC to apply for this additional round of funding – whether the business received an award or not as this grant increases the amount of funding a business can receive to a total of $30,000.
In addition, the GVCC is providing a program designed to support businesses affected by the pandemic while providing discounts to consumers. Through the Keep It Local – Clark County initiative, companies can receive funding to cover twice the monetary value of a 50% discount offered to customers. The funding will be allocated before the promotions. Applicants should note that funds received as part of this grant or the Keep It Local – Clark County initiative may not exceed $30,000 in total funding received. Applicants wishing to take part in the Keep It Local – Clark County initiative program should check the appropriate box when applying.
Grant funds can be used to cover expenses connected to the COVID-19 emergency and necessary to continue/re-open business operations. Eligible expenses can include, but are not limited to, payroll, consulting, marketing and training, rent, supplies utility bills and office equipment. Expenses must have been incurred from March 1 through Nov. 30, 2020.
Applications are only being accepted through either CREDC.org/COVID19Grants or VancouverUSA.com/COVID19Grants. CREDC and GVCC are individual granting entities collaborating to administer this grant through separate agreements with partners at Clark County. Eligibility requirements, disqualifiers and approved grant expenditures are all also listed on the grant application sites.
Applicants will receive a confirmation email within 48 business hours of submission. Due to the volume of requests, specific information about individual applications will not be included. If selected as a finalist, businesses and nonprofits can expect to hear back from CREDC or GVCC by the week of Nov.9, 2020, with next steps on how to accept the grant.