Northam expands recovery fund; more Va. small businesses, nonprofits eligible for grants

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam answers a question during a news briefing in the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. (Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)(AP/Bob Brown)
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is expanding the eligibility criteria for the state’s $70 million coronavirus recovery fund Rebuild VA, paving the way for more struggling small businesses and nonprofits to receive grant money.

Under the new criteria, small businesses and nonprofits already receiving federal funds through the CARES Act, and supply chain partners affected by coronavirus-related closures, are eligible for additional grants of up to $10,000 from Rebuild VA.

In order to take advantage, businesses receiving federal money must certify they will only use the Rebuild VA grant for recurring expenses, and that it will not be used to cover the same expenses as other CARES Act funds.

The Rebuild VA fund still requires businesses and nonprofit organizations to be in good standing, have annual gross revenues of no more than $1.5 million, and have no more than 25 employees.

Northam’s revision extends Rebuild VA benefits to the small hotel industry, including bed-and-breakfasts and lodging facilities, along with film companies supporting production in the state.

“When we initially launched Rebuild VA, we focused on reaching the small businesses and nonprofit organizations most in need,” Northam said. “I am deeply grateful for the work of our state agencies to swiftly adjust the parameters of this program so we can assist more Virginia businesses as they weather this health crisis and build back stronger.”

Rebuild VA, administered by the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, and its program partners, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, made the decision to expand eligibility criteria after looking at the number of eligible and ineligible applications received within the first 30 days of the launch.

Eligible businesses and nonprofits must demonstrate that their normal operations were limited by Northam’s executive orders imposing restrictions on restaurants, bars, nonessential brick and mortar retail, exercise and fitness, entertainment and public amusement, personal care and personal grooming and private campground and overnight summer camps at the beginning of the pandemic.

Rebuild VA funding may be used for the following expenses:

  • Payroll support, including paid sick, medical, or family leave, and costs related to the continuation of group health care benefits during those periods of leave;
  • Employee salaries;
  • Mortgage payments, rent, and utilities;
  • Principal and interest payments for any business loans from national or state-chartered banking, savings and loan institutions, or credit unions, that were incurred before or during the emergency;
  • Eligible personal protective equipment, cleaning and disinfecting materials, or other working capital needed to address COVID-19 response.

For additional information about Rebuild VA, expanded eligibility criteria, covered expenses and how to submit an application, visit the fund’s website.

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Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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