FAQ

I have a question about:

Section 1. The COVID-19 Relief Statewide Business Assistance

Section 2. The Funding Rounds

a. Verifying Business Information

b. Being Considered for Round 2

Section 3. Applying in the 2nd Application Window

Section 4. Grant Awards

a. Receiving a grant

b. Being denied a grant


SECTION 1. COVID-19 RELIEF STATEWIDE BUSINESS ASSISTANCE

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OVERVIEW

What is the Covid-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance?

The COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance program will provide grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to small businesses that have been economically impacted by COVID-19.

The funding was developed in partnership with state lawmakers and allocated through the state budget, which included $2.6 billion in federal stimulus funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, of which $225 million was earmarked for relief for small businesses.

The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) distributed the funds to the Pennsylvania Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) Network, which is administering the grants.

The program is financed by a grant from the federal Department of the U.S. Treasury, under the administration of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania CDFI Network.

 

What is the PA CDFI Network?

The Pennsylvania Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Network is a group of 17 PA-based community development institutions that primarily provide financing options for small businesses.

If interested in submitting a COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance application, please contact a CDFI that services the county your business is located in.

Visit the PA Department of Community and Economic Development’s website and click on the Pennsylvania County to find your designated CDFI.

 

Who is Lendistry?

Lendistry is a technology partner that hosts and manages the portal for the grant application. Lendistry can assist applicants with application guidance and technical support. Lendistry is also the entity that will make grant payments to approved applicants. Applicants will receive notifications from Lendistry on the status of their application and requests for business information and supporting documents, including their business bank account information.

Visit www.lendistry.com to learn more about Lendistry.

 

What are the key dates for the application windows and funding rounds of the grant program?

Round 1

  • Application Open                                                     June 30, 2020
  • Application Close                                                     July 14, 2020
  • Approval Notifications on a rolling basis starting July 31, 2020

We anticipate approvals on a rolling basis. Applicants who submitted their application and completed the document uploads in the first application window do not need to reapply; qualified applications will be automatically rolled over into the next funding round for consideration.

 

Round 2

  • Application Open                                                     August 10, 2020
  • Application Close                                                     August 28, 2020
  • Approval Notifications on a rolling basis starting September 24, 2020

We anticipate approvals on a rolling basis. Round 2 is the final application window for the grant program. The grant awards for businesses in the second application window will be made in two decision rounds for funding.


SECTION 2. FUNDING ROUNDS

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OVERVIEW

How many rounds are there?

There will be two application rounds, with three subsequent decision rounds with approval notifications and grant funds disbursed on a rolling basis.

 

Do I need to reapply for each round?

No. If you submitted a complete application during an application window and are not awarded a grant in the first funding round, your application will automatically be moved to the next funding rounds for consideration until all funding rounds are complete.

 

How is it decided who will receive the grant?

All applications will first be determined to meet all of the eligibility requirements. Then eligible businesses will be scored based on the program criteria. Priority will be given to businesses owned and operated by low and moderate-income business owners; businesses located in low-income and rural communities and disadvantaged areas; certain industry sectors most impacted by economic shutdown; and businesses impacted the most financially based on gross revenue losses.

At least 50% of grants will go to historically disadvantaged businesses that have traditionally experienced discrimination when seeking financial services and financial products. These businesses are at least 51% owned by persons who are Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American, or Pacific Islander.

Additional priority will be given to women-owned businesses; and businesses operating in communities participating in one of the designated revitalization programs, including active DCED designated Main Street and Elm Street communities, a community in the Trail Town Program, communities located in the PA Wilds, commercial corridors in Philadelphia, or Neighborhood Business Districts in Pittsburgh.

 

How will applications be geographically dispersed?

The CDFI Network will assure geographic dispersion of the grant recipients by county using two indexes to help select which businesses receive the grants.  For the Main Street funds, the number of small businesses with less than 20 employees is the index that will guide the selection.  The percentage of grant approvals in each county will be roughly equivalent to the number of small businesses in the county as a percentage of the statewide total. 

For example, if a county has 3% of all small businesses, the county will have 3% of all Main Street grant approvals.  A similar approach will be used for the Historically Disadvantaged funds, but the index will be the minority population in each county.  If a county has 5% of the minority population, that county will have 5% of the Historically Disadvantaged grant approvals.

 

When will I find out the decision?

Decisions will be made on a rolling basis following each application period.

  • The first application window closed on July 14th.
  • The second application window will close on August 28th.

The PA CDFI Network is reviewing submitted applications for Round 1 after the close of the first application window on July 14th. They will begin reviewing applications for Round 2 after the close of the second application window on August 28th.

The grant selection process will take a few weeks. Notice about approvals will occur on a rolling basis. You will be notified by email if your application is approved for an award, moved to the next funding round for consideration, or declined. Lendistry will send approval notifications approximately four weeks after the close of the application window.

Please add Lendistry to your safe-sender list in your email and check your spam for email messages from Lendistry. Once notified of approval, your application will be subject to verification requirements before grant funds will be disbursed.

 

Will everyone who applies receive a grant?

No. There are more than 1 million businesses in Pennsylvania who are eligible to apply, and we anticipate an overwhelming need for these grants. Eligible businesses will be scored based on the program criteria. Priority will be given to businesses owned and operated by low and moderate-income business owners; businesses located in rural communities and disadvantaged areas; certain industry sectors most impacted by economic shutdown; and businesses impacted the most financially based on gross revenue losses.

At least 50% of grants will go to historically disadvantaged businesses that have traditionally experienced discrimination when seeking financial services and financial products. These businesses are at least 51% owned by persons who are Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American, or Pacific Islander. Additional priority will be given to women-owned businesses; and businesses operating in communities participating in one of the designated revitalization programs, or designated commercial corridors in Philadelphia, or Neighborhood Business Districts in Pittsburgh

 

Why was I not picked in the first round, my business needs the money?

There is a strong demand for the grant program and considerable need from small businesses that have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and related statewide business closure. If you were not selected in the first round and your business meets all of the eligibility requirements you will be considered for future rounds of funding.

 

If I received a grant in one round, can I apply again?

No. Businesses who are awarded a grant are not eligible to apply again.

Businesses that are awarded in a funding round or not awarded and have submitted complete applications should not apply again in subsequent application windows.

 

VERIFYING BUSINESS INFORMATION

I received notice that I was recommended for funding, what do I need to do?

Lendistry will send an email notification about the verification steps needed validate your business information. This could include:

  • Verifying and connecting bank account information
  • Completing and submitting the certification document
  • Providing supporting documentation as needed
  • Verifying tax status with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue
  • Signing a grant agreement

 

What do I do if I am having trouble connecting my bank account?

For applicants that move to the verification step during the review process of the grant, Lendistry will send you a link to validate your bank account information online through a secure digital platform. In lieu of validating your bank account information online, applicants can obtain stamped bank statements from their bank or a certified letter from their bank. Contact Lendistry about the options available to connect your bank account. Lendistry can work with you on how to submit this information and documents.

 

What information are you pulling from my bank?

To ensure that the bank account you provided is valid and to prevent fraud, Lendistry is verifying that the name on your bank account aligns with the business information you provided in your application. Including that the business bank account is active with transactions from the last 90-120 days.

Lendistry and the PA CDFI Network do not have access to your bank login credentials, including username or password. Security is our utmost priority. The technology used to verify your bank account is owned and operated by VISA and applies its banking standards and security protocol.

 

BEING CONSIDERED FOR FUNDING IN ROUND 2

I received notification that my application was not recommended for funding in Round 1 and is being considered in the next funding round, what do I need to do?

Applicants who didn’t receive grants in the first funding round are automatically considered for the next funding rounds. Eligible businesses that submitted complete applications during the first application window should not reapply.

If you started an application during the first application window and your application is incomplete, you will need to submit a completed application during the second application window by 11:59 PM on August 28th. To access your application, please return to the CDFI page you applied through to access the application portal and use the login credentials you established when you started the application.

The second application window will close and not allow new submissions after 11:59 PM on August 28th. The application portal will only allow for uploading of required documents. The deadline to submit all required documents will be September 4 at 11:59 PM.


SECTION 3. SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION IN THE 2ND APPLICATION WINDOW

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APPLICATION GUIDANCE 

How long will I have to complete my application?

The second application window will be open for 15 business days from August 10th – August 28th. In order to get funds to businesses in need as quickly as possible, the second application window will be the final opportunity to apply for the program.

 

My application was started, but unfinished before the first application window closed at 11:59 PM on July, 14th. Do I need to restart my application?

If you started an application during the first application window and your application is incomplete, please complete your application by the close of the second application window. Return to the CDFI page you applied through to access the application portal and use the login credentials you established when you started the application.

The second application window will close and not allow new submissions after 11:59 PM on August 28th. The application portal will only allow for uploading of required documents. The deadline to submit all required documents will be September 4 at 11:59 PM.

 

How will I know you have all my information to be considered?

You will receive a confirmation email from NoReply@lendistry.com to confirm your application has been received. If more information or documents are needed, Lendistry will contact you by email and work with you to complete your application or verify the information you submitted. Lendistry is available to assist you in understanding what business information is needed and how to upload documents.

Confirmation emails come from Lendistry at NoReply@lendistry.com. If you did not receive a confirmation email after submitting your application, please check your Spam folder for emails from Lendistry and add the email address to your email account’s safe sender list.

 

Is there a difference in which CDFI organization services a grant application in my area?

You may select any CDFI that serves your area. Each county will have at least two CDFIs from which businesses can choose to apply. Some counties will have several more options. You can research CDFIs that serve your county at pabusinessgrants.com. Pick the one that you think best fits your needs, as they can also provide other financing assistance for you, like working capital loans, equipment loans, and technical assistance to help you and your business.

 

I’m examining the list of financial institutions and looking for the one that would fit me best. There are several groups listed in my county. Can I apply to various organizations?

No. Submitting multiple applications will only delay your application from being processed. Pick the one that you think best fits your needs, as they can also provide other financing assistance for you, like working capital loans, equipment loans, and technical assistance to help you and your business.

 

Which grant do I apply for, the Disadvantaged grant or the Main Street grant?

You do not need to worry about this. You will submit one application, and the process will place you in consideration for the correct pool of funds.

 

What can funds be used for?

The grants have to be used for COVID-19 related losses or expenses. These include:

  • Payroll costs, costs related to the continuation of group health care benefits during periods of paid sick, medical, or family leave, and insurance premiums.
  • Mortgage interest payments (but not mortgage prepayments or principal payments); interest payments on any other debt obligations that were incurred before February 15, 2020.
  • Rent payments, utility payments.
  • Working capital for the purpose of covering the costs of re-opening business operations after being fully or partially closed due to the state-mandated business closure period commencing March 2020, as long as the expense was incurred due to COVID-19.
  • Any expenses related to the expense of implementing COVID-19, including but not limited to specialized equipment, barriers, PDE’s, and employee training expenses to ensure compliance with state and federal CDC guidelines for reopening.

Grant funds cannot be used for expenses or losses that were already covered by the Payroll Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), or other emergency funding.

 

What are COVID related expenses?

COVID-related expenses are additional costs to re-open; costs to adhere to COVID-19 distancing or sanitation requirements; or normal operating expenses that could not be covered due to reduced revenues due to COVID-19. These include:

  • Payroll costs, costs related to the continuation of group health care benefits during periods of paid sick, medical, or family leave, and insurance premiums.
  • Mortgage interest payments (but not mortgage prepayments or principal payments); interest payments on any other debt obligations that were incurred before February 15, 2020.
  • Rent payments, utility payments.
  • Working capital for the purpose of covering the costs of re-opening business operations after being fully or partially closed due to the state-mandated business closure period commencing March 2020, as long as the expense was incurred due to COVID-19.
  • Any expenses related to the expense of implementing COVID-19, including but not limited to specialized equipment, barriers, PDE’s, and employee training expenses to ensure compliance with state and federal CDC guidelines for reopening.

 

What documents will I need to submit as part of my application?

Businesses will need the following items at different stages of the application process. For step-by-step instruction of all information that will need to be submitted in the application, please refer to the Application Instructions. Application Instructions can be found at www.pabusinessgrants.com.

  • Government Issued Photo ID such as a Driver’s License or Passport
  • Business financial information:
    • Revenue from March 1st to May 31st for 2019 and 2020
    • Most recently submitted Federal Tax Return. 2018 or 2019 business and personal tax returns, including Schedule C.
    • If startup between January 1-February 15, 2020, Internal Profit & Loss Statement
    • Proof of Business Registration with the PA Department of State in the form of a copy of official filing with the Department of State or local municipality for your business. One of the following); must be provided in electronic format for upload, such as PDF.
      • Articles of Incorporation
      • Certificate of Organization
      • Fictitious Name registration
      • Government-issued Business License
      • Any form of acceptable government-issued photo ID; must be in an electronic format for online uploads, such as PDF.
    • Bank Account Information (via an online application or bank-stamped statements)

 

When do I have to have my application and documents submitted to be considered in the second round of funding?

The second application window will close and not allow new submissions after 11:59 PM on August 28th. The application portal will only allow for uploading of required documents. The deadline to submit all required documents will be September 4 at 11:59 PM.

 

Are the application questions posted on the website so that I can prepare to answer the questions before beginning the actual application?

You can refer to the Application Instructions, which takes you step-by-step through the application process. Application Instructions can be found at www.pabusinessgrants.com.

 

How much can a business apply for?

Grant amounts will range from $5,000 to $50,000. The grant amount for which a business is eligible is based on its annual revenues, as documented in its most recent tax return.

Owners of multiple businesses will be considered for only one grant and will need to select one business and submit only one application.

Eligible Business Annual Revenue Grant Amount Available per business
Up to $50,000 $5,000
$50,001 – $75,000 $10,000
$75,001 – $100,000 $15,000
$100,001 – $250,000 $20,000
$250,001 – $500,000 $25,000
$500,001 – $750,000 $35,000
$750,001 – $850,000 $40,000
$850,001 – $1,000,000 $50,000

 

Are the revenue thresholds for the grant amounts based on GROSS revenue?

Revenues are based on the IRS tax form definition: Gross Sales (less any returns and allowances) as reported on Line 1.c. on both the 1120 (corporate return) and 1120S (S-Corp return) and on IRS Schedule C for single-member LLC’s and sole proprietorships it is Line 3.

 

I own multiple businesses. Can I apply for each business?

Owners of multiple businesses will be considered for only one grant. Owners of multiple businesses are encouraged to apply with the business that best fits the program priorities.

 

If my business is a partnership or has multiple owners, and some are low-income, and others are not. What is the % of ownership that must be low income?

51% of ownership to determine eligibility for Low-Income status and also to determine minority- or women- ownership status.

 

Are the 25 employees or fewer count prior to COVID-19 or post COVID-19 impact? Are only W2 employees counted?

To be eligible, a business must have 25 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees prior to February 15, 2020. To count FTE employees, apply one for a 1 FTE for a full-time person and 1/2 FTE for any part-time employee no matter how many hours the employee works. Then sum to determine total employment for this requirement.

 

If I owe taxes to the federal government, am I able to apply for these grant dollars?

Business owners must be current on federal and state taxes, or current on a formal payment plan to be eligible to receive a grant from this program.

You can contact the IRS or the PA Department of Revenue to pay any past due taxes or develop an acceptable payment plan. The business owner/taxpayer must contact the agency.

 

Am I eligible for the program if my revenue for this year is less than $1 million, but last year and the years before, it was more than $1 million?      

Grants are available only for businesses with annual revenues (prior to March 1, 2020) of $1 million or less and have 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTEs). Revenues are based on the IRS tax form definition: Gross Sales (less any returns and allowances) as reported on Line 1.c. on both the 1120 (corporate return) and 1120S (S-Corp return); and, on IRS Schedule C for single-member LLC’s. For sole proprietorships, it is Line 3.

 

My business is incorporated outside of PA, but I generate the majority of my business revenue in PA. Am I eligible to apply?

Eligible businesses must operate primarily in Pennsylvania and must file a Pennsylvania tax return and must have 51% or more of business revenue generated from PA operations.

 

Are real estate companies/brokers/sales agents eligible grantees?

Real estate professionals who practice real estate as their operating business and file a Schedule C on their personal tax returns are eligible. Passive real estate companies and investors who file a Schedule E on their personal tax returns are not eligible. Real estate businesses in which the majority (>51%) of their income is rental income are also not eligible.

 

A driver’s license is a required document. Is a state ID allowed instead of a driver’s license? Or would other forms of picture identification be allowed?

Yes, any government issued Photo ID will be accepted. State ID or a passport would be other forms that could be accepted.

 

Do I have to submit documentation to verify ownership? Do multi-owner companies have to submit for one owner or all?

We will need information from only the owner that is filing the application. Only one business owner can apply.

 

Are PA COVID-19 Working Capital Access (CWCA) recipients eligible, and, if yes, can the grant be used to pay off the CWCA debt (or at least a portion of it)?

Yes, CWCA recipients may apply. However, funds from this grant cannot be used to cover the same expenses that were covered by CWCA. Grant funds cannot be used to repay CWCA loans. Grant can only be used for payment on debts incurred before February 15, 2020.  

 

Are recipients of county/city business relief funds eligible to apply, and will that be considered in any way in the process?

Yes, county/city relief recipients may apply. However, funds from this grant cannot be used to cover the same expenses that the county/city relief funds covered.

 

Are Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)/ or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) recipients eligible to apply, and will that be considered in any way in the process?

Yes, PPP and EIDL recipients may apply. However, funds cannot be used to cover the same expenses that the PPP/EIDL funds covered.

 

I have a criminal history, am I eligible to apply?

Yes, you are eligible to apply. The COVID-19 Statewide Small Business Assistance program follows the certification and program eligibility requirements for the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA recently revised requirements, folder and we have updated the grant program criteria to include:

The business will only be excluded if the 20% owner is facing felony charges. The parole/probation exclusion is now limited to 20% owners whose probation or parole commenced within the last five years for any felony involving fraud, bribery, embezzlement, or a false statement in a loan application or an application for federal financial assistance, or within the last year for other felonies.

Certification documents are updated with this new information. If you previously signed a certification document, you do not need to sign an updated certification at this time. Lendistry will work with you on updating certifications during the review process.

 

I have a loan outstanding with one of the participating CDFIs. How do I participate in the loan forbearance and payment relief benefit?

You need to reach out to your CDFI lender and discuss any forbearance or adjustment of repayment terms directly with them.

 

I have a franchise business with multiple locations. Can I apply for assistance for each location?

No. Businesses with common ownership can only apply once. If you own multiple franchises or multiple locations for your business, you may only apply one time.


SECTION 4. Grant Awards

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RECIEVING A GRANT

How will I receive the grant funds?

The grant funds will be sent in one full installment by Automated Clearing House (ACH) payment to the bank account designated by Grantee in their application. The payment is anticipated to occur no more than 30 days after full execution of the grant agreement.

Will I be asked to report on how I used the funds?

The grant funds for the COVID-19 Relief PA Statewide Small Business Assistance program are being provided by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, under the administration of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. Information about your eligibility for the grant, receipt and expenditure may be requested to conduct a compliance review of the program.

What records do I need to keep for how I used the funds?

As part of the grant agreement, Grantees agree to maintain for a period of at least four (4) years after the grant funds have been expended, records relating to your eligibility for the grant, receipt and expenditure of the grant funds If a compliance review is requested, you will need to make all records available for review and inspection by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, or the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, or by a third party designated to conduct the compliance review.

The grant can only be used to cover economic damages related to COVID-19 and related costs for expenses and costs for the period from March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. Please keep records or receipts for any of the following eligible use of funds:

  • Payroll costs, costs related to the continuation of group health care benefits during periods of paid sick, medical, or family leave, and insurance premiums.
  • Working capital for the purpose of paying mortgage principal and interest payments (but not mortgage prepayments); and principal and interest payments on any other debt obligations that were incurred before February 15, 2020.
  • Rent payments, utility payments.
  • Working capital for the purpose of covering the costs of re-opening business operations after being fully or partially closed due to the state-mandated business closure period commencing March 2020, as long as the expense was incurred due to COVID-19.
  • Any expenses (costs) incurred related to the expense of implementing COVID-19, including but not limited to specialized equipment, barriers, PDE’s, and employee training expense to ensure compliance with state and federal CDC guidelines for reopening.
  • Any COVID-19 related expenses not already paid for with other relief measures such as state grants or loans, US SBA Paycheck Protection Loans, local or regional grant and/or loan programs.

If any portion of awarded funds, up to and including all of the funds, cannot be used for eligible expenses as stated above, the Grantee shall return the unused funds.

Will I have to pay taxes on the amount I was awarded?

Yes, grantees will be issued a 1099 and will have to pay taxes on the funds awarded. Please use the 1099 issued when completing your 2020 tax return.

Must my business remain open after I receive the grant?

Yes, as part of the grant agreement the Grantee certifies that its business remains operational and will continue to operate after receiving this grant. If the Grantee’s business ceases to operate, all awarded funds or any portion of awarded funds not used for eligible expenses shall be returned.

BEING DENIED A GRANT (coming soon)


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