How to Access CARES Relief Funding

The following was received April 6, 2020 from the Arts Education Partnership and has the latest information on federal relief funding:

How to Apply for CARES Relief

Good morning AEP partners,

Our colleagues at the Hewlett Foundation shared the following information on a funding opportunity. I wanted to forward this to you ASAP, as the application opened Friday and funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

I hope you are all staying healthy and persevering through these challenging times. If I can support you in any way please let me know.

Below, please find details on a time-sensitive resource available to the arts sector—both for-profit and nonprofit organizations and independent contractors.

Applications now open for the Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Paycheck Protection Program for nonprofits and small businesses (those organizations with fewer than 499 employees).

The program will also be available to sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed individuals starting next Friday, April 10.

The Paycheck Protection Program loans will be completely forgiven (turned into grants) so long as 75% of the borrowed amount is used for payroll, and the recipient does not lower salaries or lay off staff (or rehires staff within a prescribed timeframe if those individuals have already been laid off).

Importantly, the program is first-come, first-served, so it is important to get your application in as soon as possible. The SBA estimates the application, including information gathering, will take less than 10 minutes to complete.

The SBA has posted a sample application and instructions on its website.

These loans can be used for payroll costs, costs associated with vacation, sick leave, and healthcare benefits, as well as things like mortgage and utility payments, with at least 75% of the forgiven amount of the loan used for payroll.

Loan amounts for each applying organization are based on 250% of average monthly payroll from February to June 2019 and capped at $10 million.

Organizations will apply through existing SBA Lenders or participating financial institutions. You should start by consulting with your organization’s current bank to see if it is participating in the program, but you can also apply at any SBA-approved bank even if your organization doesn’t have an account there. Already there is news that today’s rollout of the program has been rocky, so you may need to be both patient and persistent as the bumps get smoothed out.

To apply, organizations should:

1. Review the additional resources provided below.
2. Check to see if the bank your organization currently works with is participating in the program, or identify a lending institution on this approved list.
3. Refer to the sample calculation document to calculate your organization’s payroll costs, which will help you estimate your total loan request.
4. Gather internal decision-makers (executive director, board members, finance team, etc.) to review governance processes and reach consensus on the decision to apply for a loan.
5. Complete the sample application for submission to the lender as soon as possible; ideally today.

The SBA also has a second program available to nonprofits now: the Emergency Economic Injury Grants & Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. This program is administered directly by the SBA, offers low-interest (below 4%) loans of up to $2 million, but importantly these loans must be repaid (except for an initial advance of $10,000, payable within three days of the application date, which does not have to be repaid). Applicants to this program may also apply for the Paycheck Protection Program described above.

Additional Resources:
Paycheck Protection Program overview, fact sheets, and application form on the SBA website.
Independent Sector Toolkit:: help for individuals and nonprofits to understand how to access the benefits available to them in the CARES Act.
– Americans for the Arts webinar on April 8: How the CARES Act Supports the Arts Sector, with a guest speaker from the SBA.
A guide to helping small businesses navigate and recover from the COVID-19 crisis published by the Kaufman Foundation.
AEP COVID-19 Resource Page

Thanks to Erika Hawthorne
Engagement Specialist
Arts Education Partnership
Education Commission of the States


Mollie Quinlan-Hayes



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