Fairfax Co. to offer $10M in pandemic relief grants to child-focused businesses

Fairfax County will allocate $10 million in federal pandemic relief aid to small businesses and nonprofits that help children in the Virginia county.

A new grant program called the “Active and Thriving Community Grants Program”  will set aside funds for child care providers, safety net providers, youth athletic, recreational and educational programs and pools.

“It will be launched by the end of the August,” said Sarah Allen, the county’s deputy director of neighborhood and community services. “We will start advertising immediately.”

“As someone who visits a child care center every day, they’re still operating under COVID restrictions that other businesses aren’t,” said Fairfax County Supervisor James Walkinshaw. “They’re still dealing with that.”

In a document submitted during a Tuesday meeting of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, county staff wrote that “the county’s economic recovery and long-term success is contingent on the workforce having access to affordable, quality child care.”

“By providing funding to support child care programs’ sustainability, the county will help to mitigate the ongoing negative impacts of the pandemic on the workforce and the child care infrastructure,” county staff wrote.

While $8 million will go to child care providers as well as youth athletic, recreational and educational programs, the rest of the $10 million will go to community swimming pools and safety net organizations that help people with issues such as financial stability, nutrition and housing.

Grants will range from $2,000 to $18,000 depending on the size of the organization.

To be eligible, recipients need to show that they had a 15% decline in revenue in 2020 compared to 2019 or a 15% increase in expenditures directly related to the pandemic.

“One of the things that people don’t realize is a lot of these organizations survived through the pandemic because the community members involved dipped into their own pockets to keep things going so they didn’t have to go out of business,” said Walkinshaw. “I think it’s going to be a really positive thing to be able to provide them some support.”

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Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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