The Westmoreland County Commissioners on Thursday outlined criteria for small businesses and nonprofits to be awarded a share of coronavirus-relief grant funding through two new grant programs.

The commissioners approved creating two new grant programs — the Westmoreland CARES Small Business Support Grant Program and Westmoreland CARES Nonprofit Support Grant Program — to assist small businesses and nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 public health crisis.

The grant programs will be funded using federal CARES Act money provided to the County through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development, under the COVID-19 County Relief Block Grant program.

Each of the Westmoreland CARES grant programs was initially allocated $5 million from the county’s total pool of $31,508,670 in federal funding through the COVID-19 County Relief Block Grant program.

The commissioners last month approved an agreement with Zelenkofske Axelrod LLC to have the firm offer its assistance in navigating eligible expenditures for the county’s COVID-19-related grant funding.

The cost of Zelenkofske Axelrod’s services, capped at $200,000, according to the commissioners, will be covered through the block grant funds.

Through the Westmoreland CARES grant programs, nonprofit organizations and small businesses with less than 100 employees are eligible to apply for grant awards of up to $25,000, or 25% of calculated losses due to COVID-19, whichever is less. Under both programs, nonprofits and small businesses must be headquartered in Westmoreland County to qualify.

Nonexclusive examples of grant uses include payroll; rent/mortgage payments; PPE or other COVID-19 related supplies; and operating expenses, according to a news release issued by the county. Preference will be given to applicants that did not receive other sources of federal COVID-relief funds, such as Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loan funds.

The Economic Growth Connection will help the county handle the receipt of Westmoreland CARES grant applications and to confirm the applications are complete and responsive to the posted requirements.

For detailed program eligibility requirements and specific information regarding the application process, including deadlines, visit the Westmoreland County website at www.co.westmoreland.pa.us or the Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland website at www.egcw.org.

Eligibility requirements for the Westmoreland CARES Small Business Support Grant Program are available at www.co.westmoreland.pa.us/2911/Westmoreland-CARES-Small-Business-Suppor. Eligibility requirements for the Westmoreland CARES Nonprofit Support Grant Program are available at www.co.westmoreland.pa.us/2912/Westmoreland-CARES-Nonprofit-Support-Gra.

Applicants should check back regularly, as federal and state guidelines have the potential to change.

Grant applications for both programs can be submitted from 10 a.m. Thursday, July 23 through 5 p.m. Thursday, July 30. Applications and supporting documents can be emailed to disaster@egcw.org for the Small Business Support Grant Program and to nfp-disaster@egcw.org for the Nonprofit Support Grant Program. Mailed applications will not be accepted. Applications can be submitted by facsimile to 724-850-3974. Applicants can also arrange to deliver applications by hand by contacting the Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland at 724-830-3604.

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