Businesses and non-profits in Columbus can apply for second round of Covid relief funds

”This is another tool or resource that can help businesses stay stronger for longer,” says CEO of Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Jerald Mitchell.
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 5:16 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2022 at 5:18 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Columbus is continuing to use American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to help businesses and organizations in the community and if your small business or non-profit struggled during the pandemic you may be eligible for some of that money.

”This is another tool or resource that can help businesses stay stronger for longer,” said CEO of Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Jerald Mitchell, “It’s a very important program that can help small businesses remain resilient, especially as we are still evaluating whether or not there is going to be a recession that impacts our community.”

Through a partnership between the city of Columbus and the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, there are millions of dollars to distribute to eligible local non-profits and businesses as part of small business relief grant program and a non-profit grant program.

“The basis of what we do is to help the community, so when you become the organization that needs help in the community, it becomes a balancing act. They made the process seem like, ‘hey we want to give you guys this money’, so it feels very helpful, ” said executive director for Chattahoochee Valley Episcopal Ministry, Malinda Shamburger.

Shamburger is talking about the workshops the Chamber of Commerce and the city are holding to help eligible organizations and businesses apply for the grants.

“It’s a great opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the ARP Small Business and Non-Profit Grant,” said Meghan Richardson, Senior Director of Economic Development for the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

At the workshop, a presentation and overview of the requirements for the grants are given.

“We have an opportunity to provide one on one assistance and technical assistance to small businesses and non-profits to start an application or scan documents that they need in their application,” said Richardson.

Community reinvestment director Robert Scott says, “This is just our way to be able to allow them [businesses] to retain jobs and to grow their businesses in a way that will continue to add value to the economic world of Columbus.”

Between both of ARP small business and non profit grant programs, there is about $4 million of government funding to give away. This is a reimbursement of money spent between July 1 of 2020 and June of this year based on a Columbus Business License.

A few basics to know about the small business grant program:

  • businesses with 100 employees or less are eligible.
  • MUST have been in operation during July 1, 2020 or before .
  • Publicly traded or corporate franchises are not eligible.
  • Up to $40,000 in reimbursable expenses.

For the non-profit grant program:

  • MUST have been in operation during July 1, 2020 or before.
  • Must have active 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS.
  • Must have a Board of Directors with community representation.
  • Up to $25,000 in reimbursable expenses.

Richardson explains what “eligible expenses” are:

“Your rent or mortgage and the general liability for the property and business. As well as, utility cost: the power, gas, internet, and phone service that is associated with the business. As well as, operational retro fitting or building modifications to the building during the pandemic.”

Since this is government funding, the application process is quite extensive in order to avoid missing documentation.

“If there is anything missing we will reach out to that business to help them complete that application in order to finish the initial review and provide recommendation to the city,” said Richardson.

The next workshop is November 29 at 9:30 a.m. in the Chamber of Commerce Board Room located on 118 W 11th Street.

Applications that are accepted will be rewarded on a first come first serve basis until all available funds are gone.

For more information on the grant programs, who to contact and to apply, click here.