The clock is running out for Spokane Valley businesses and nonprofits to apply for grants from the city to help them get through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Applications for the program opened on Aug. 24. The deadline is Friday.
As of Tuesday, 202 small businesses and 30 nonprofits had applied. An additional 107 small businesses have started the application, but have left their applications in draft form.
The City Council created the $1.2 million grant program last month using its allocation from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act and contracted with the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce to run the program. If an applicant is selected, it could receive up to $7,158.
Lance Beck, president and CEO of the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce, said grantees would be chosen through a lottery process, as long as applications are submitted by 5 p.m. on Friday.
“Just because there’s already 200 submissions, doesn’t mean it’s too late to apply,” he said. “Everybody goes into it with a fair chance as long as they’re eligible.”
According to city documents, the grant program should be able to fund a maximum of 173 nonprofits and businesses.
Business must have 18 or fewer employees to qualify and must be located in city limits. Nonprofits aren’t required to be based in Spokane Valley, but must provide 18.65% of their services to Valley residents.
Nonprofits that received funding from a similar county program are eligible to participate in Spokane Valley’s nonprofit grant program, but businesses that were granted CARES Act funding by the county are not eligible to receive funds from the city of Spokane Valley.
The city has about $829,500 available for businesses and $411,640 for nonprofits.
Spokane Valley Mayor Ben Wick said he was hoping more nonprofits would apply, but was willing to work with the rest of the City Council to roll any leftover nonprofit grant funds into the small business grant program if not enough nonprofits apply.
“We’re trying to reach as many people as we can,” he said.
Wick is also hopeful the city of Spokane Valley will be included in a second disbursement of CARES funding through the state, which could be used to boost the grant program.
When Congress passed the CARES Act, some funding went to large counties and cities and some went to states, which distributed the money to smaller governments. Spokane Valley received a $2.9 million allotment of CARES Act funding through the Washington State Department of Commerce.
In an announcement Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee said he planned to distribute a second round of the federal funding, with cities receiving a minimum of $30,000. The announcement did not specify which cities would receive more than the minimum amount.
The application and more information can be found at spokanevalleychamber.org/svgrants. Translation services are also available. Applicants with questions can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (509) 924-4994.
Beck urged applicants to complete their application before 4 p.m. Friday, saying Chamber of Commerce or Innovia Foundation staff, which is assisting with the nonprofit applications, will unlikely be able to troubleshoot any application issues or answer many questions in the last hour before the deadline.
Spokane County’s grant deadline was extended several days after a deluge of last-minute applications and questions flooded in, but Spokane Valley’s deadline will likely not be extended, city spokesman Jeff Kleingartner said.
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