On Monday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced a $225 million grant program designed to help small businesses that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligible businesses will be able to use the grants to cover operating expenses during the shutdown and transition to re-opening, as well as for training and guidance for business owners to stabilize and relaunch their businesses.

The grants will be allocated from federal CARES Act funding, and will be divided into three programs:

  • $100 million for the Main Street Business Revitalization Program - For businesses that were required to close due to the governor's March 19, 2020 shutdown order, or that incurred costs to adapt their businesses due to the pandemic.
  • $100 million for the Historically Disadvantaged Business Revitalization Program - For companies with at least 51 percent of interest from business owners who are socially or economically disadvantaged and who also control management and daily business operations.
  • $25 million for the Loan Payment Deferment and Loss Reserve Program - This will allow Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to offer forbearance and payment relief to businesses that are struggling due to COVID-19 impacts.

The programs are intended to help for-profit small businesses, particularly those that had difficultly accessing federal relief programs. The grants will be distributed by the CDFIs with oversight from the PA Department of Community and Economic Development.

Details for how to apply for grants have not yet been made available, although the Wolf administration noted that it intends to move quickly. In a press conference, Governor Wolf stated that, "The goal is to get this out to businesses that need it, that are the most vulnerable, and that have suffered the most during this pandemic."

Given the frantic rush to secure PPP loans, small businesses may naturally be keeping a close watch for news about when the grant program will be up and running so they can secure their place in line. However, there are signs that this program will operate at a less frantic pace. Matt Madia, chief strategy and development officer for Pittsburgh-based CDFI Bridgeway Capital said, "The program is coming together quickly. We are eager to guide small business owners through the application process, but a few more details need to come together. It is important to keep in mind that this initiative is not meant to be a first-come, first-serve program the way PPP was."

We will continue to update you as more information about the grant program becomes available. If you have any questions about these or any other matters, please contact your Kreischer Miller relationship professional or any member of our team. We also continue to update our COVID-19 Resource Center, which you can access here.

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