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Decatur City Commission considers using CARES Act money for nonprofit grant program

Business COVID-19 Decatur

Decatur City Commission considers using CARES Act money for nonprofit grant program

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Decatur City Hall. Photo by Dean Hesse.


Decatur, GA — The Decatur City Commission at its Nov. 2 meeting will consider using federal CARES Act money to establish “an emergency grant program” for nonprofits in the city of Decatur.

The move follows the city’s decision to forgive the loans awarded to small businesses as part of its COVID-19 relief efforts. Those loans – and a new small business grant program – will also be paid for using money from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. The city plans to set aside $300,000 of the CARES act funding for the nonprofit grant program.

The Nov. 2 City Commission meeting begins with a closed-door executive session at 5 p.m. to discuss litigation, followed by a 6 p.m. work session with the City Commission’s Better Together Advisory Board. The regular meeting of the City Commission starts at 7:30 p.m.

City Commissioners are meeting virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are the instructions for public access to the meeting:

1. View the live broadcast of the Decatur City Commission meeting at https://www.decaturga.com/citycommission/page/streaming-video.

2. Register in advance to participate during either the “Public Comment” or “Requests and Petitions” portions of the meeting at https://zoom.us/j/94901087320. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. You may also participate by phone by calling (929) 205-6099 and entering the meeting ID (The 11-digit number shown in the Zoom registration link.)

If you are unable to participate in the virtual meeting, you may email your “public comments” on agenda items or submit “requests and petitions” by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 2nd to: Andrea Arnold, City Manager, [email protected]

Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon’s memo to City Manager Andrea Arnold explains how the nonprofit grant program will operate. To see that memo, click here.

Saxon notes that the city has received $2.9 million in CARES funding. The city has earmarked $1.25 million of it for community relief efforts. He also made note of the $900,000 the city had set aside for the small business grant program.

“If small businesses are Decatur’s heart, non-profit organizations are its soul,” Saxon wrote. “Non-profits contribute greatly to the social and cultural character of Decatur, improving the quality of life throughout the community, especially in education, arts and the environment, meeting challenging social needs, and helping maintain Decatur as a welcoming and diverse community. The pandemic has been especially difficult for the nonprofit sector, increasing the need for services while depriving it of traditional sources of funding.”

The nonprofits could use the money to help people pay overdue rent, provide mortgage and utility assistance, buy food and take care of other needs. To qualify, nonprofits must have a physical location within the city and have a maximum of 30 employees. Applicants can request up to $25,000. A city staff selection committee will review the applications and recommend grants for approval to the City Commission.

“A blind lottery process to select grantees will be used if applications for assistance are oversubscribed,” Saxon wrote.

The application process hasn’t been publicized yet, but here is the timetable the city is working with:

November 2 – Program approved by City Commission

November 16 – Applications due by 5:00 pm

December 7 – Grants approved by City Commission

December 16 – Grant agreements and related documentation executed

December 18 – Grant funds disbursed

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