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Partnerships for Recovery: Grant programs to aid recovery

Get details about new and expanded grant programs launched as part of the Baker-Polito Administration's comprehensive plan to stabilize and grow the Massachusetts economy.

On October 19, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a $774 million comprehensive plan to stabilize and grow the Massachusetts economy. The plan focuses on getting people back to work, supporting small businesses, fostering innovation, revitalizing downtowns and ensuring housing stability. Partnerships for Recovery includes nearly $75 million in new and immediate funding to small businesses and Main Streets hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On December 23,  the Baker-Polito Administration also launched a $668 million program to provide financial assistance to Massachusetts small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Table of Contents

Recovery News and Updates

CLOSED: Shared Winter Streets and Spaces Grant Program

A street with a marked bike lane.

Building on the success of the Shared Streets and Spaces initiative first launched during the summer of 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation is now extending the program to help municipalities address the particular challenges of winter amid the ongoing public health crisis. Shared Winter Streets and Spaces will provide cities and towns with grants as small as $5,000 and as large as $500,000 to improve plazas, sidewalks, curbs, streets, parking areas, and other public spaces in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and decisions will be made in four rounds. The applications for review in the final round were due February 26, 2021. Project completion and spending deadline for all four rounds is May 31, 2021.

CLOSED: Sector-Specific Relief Grant Program For Massachusetts Businesses

Small business - restaurant with table settings

This business relief fund targets the hardest hit small businesses that have an exceptional need of cash relief. Though many businesses have been negatively affected by the pandemic, not all needs are equal. To ensure that these limited funds get to the most severely impacted businesses, you SHOULD NOT APPLY if you:

  • are not showing an operating loss due to the coronavirus pandemic
  • have access to other sources of relief
  • have been able to continue to operate without significant financial distress
  • have adequate available reserves

Additionally, larger companies that are better positioned to endure this economic downturn and COVID-19 related restrictions should not apply.

An excessive number of applications submitted by businesses with lesser need will delay the awarding of grants to businesses facing extraordinary circumstances. An application review for a company without a truly exceptional need delays assistance for a business at risk of permanent closure.

WHO SHOULD APPLY:

Preference will be given to the following sectors:

Priority Categories:

  • Restaurants, bars, caterers, and food trucks that collect and remit meals tax
  • Indoor Recreation or Entertainment Establishments
    • Indoor entertainment establishments (e.g. movie theaters, comedy clubs, performing arts venues/organizations)
    • Indoor recreation (e.g. arcades, bowling centers, pool/billiard halls, escape-the-rooms, trampoline parks, roller-skating rinks)
    • Indoor spectator sports venues
    • Other indoor recreation or entertainment venues
  • Gyms or Fitness Centers
    • Gyms, athletic clubs, exercise centers, health clubs
    • Sports facilities (e.g. tennis clubs, racquetball clubs, hockey rinks, swimming facilities)
    • Fitness instruction centers (e.g. aerobics, dance, yoga, karate, etc.)
    • Other gyms or fitness centers
  • Personal Services
    • Nail salons, barber shops, etc.
    • Independent pharmacies 
  • Event Support Companies - primary source (more than 50%) of revenue is event-related
    • Photography studios, videography studios, florists, limo services, event planning companies, event rentals, performers, convention and trade show organizations
  • Independent Retailers
    • Businesses with brick and mortar locations that collect and remit sales tax

Non-Priority Categories:

  • All other eligible business types

AMOUNT OF FUNDING:

  • Businesses can receive up to $75,000 but capped at up to 3 months of operating expenses, as evidenced by 2019 Federal Tax Returns. Grant amounts will be considered for actual expenses for 2020 during the pandemic. Expenses can be considered since March 10, 2020, given that it does not exceed 3 months of operating expenses evidenced by 2019 Federal Tax Returns.

CLOSED: Local Rapid Recovery Planning Program

Downtown Worcester.

The Mass Downtown Initiative (MDI) is accepting applications for Local Rapid Recovery Planning (LRRP) which is part of the Baker-Polito Recovery Plan to revitalize downtowns, respond to the effects of COVID-19 on local businesses, and prioritize actions and strategies.  All 351 Massachusetts cities and towns are eligible to apply.  Nonprofit entities such as Business Improvement Districts, Main Street organizations or Community Development Corporations are also eligible to lead the planning process with local government support.  The short application form was due on December 18, 2020 by 3:00 p.m.  

The LRRP program provides technical assistance by consultant teams with expertise in effective strategies to stabilize business districts. There is no direct funding available through this program, applicants will be matched with consultant team(s).  There is a total of $9.5 million in technical assistance available, we encourage every interested applicant, whether from a small town center or a group of business districts within a large city, to learn more and to apply.  LRRP projects must be completed by June 30, 2021.  

QuestionsEmail Emmy Hahn

CLOSED: Urban Agenda Grant Program

Lawrence Massachusetts

The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) is pleased to announce the availability of funds for the FY2021 round of the Urban Agenda Grant Program. This program supports community economic development that is grounded in collaboration and local leadership development. Urban communities that meet certain household income benchmarks (median household income less than 90 percent of the state’s average income) are eligible to apply.

This year, with the unprecedented and far-reaching impact of the global pandemic, the program is primarily seeking proposals that intend to develop and/or implement Covid-19 economic recovery strategies. Applicants should describe the most significant challenges faced by the community and the collaborative approaches that will be pursued to address them. Due to the urgent needs through the winter and spring, EOHED will only make awards to projects that can be completed and fully expended by June 30, 2021.

The application deadline was Friday, December 18, 2020 @ 5:00 PM.

CLOSED: Regional Economic Development Organization Grant Program

Natick Massachusetts

NOTE: Proposals were due by November 20, 2020 by 4:00 p.m.

The Massachusetts Office of Business Development was accepting proposals for the Regional Economic Development Organization (REDO) Grant Program for Fiscal Year 2021. MOBD sought proposals from eligible organizations as defined in M.G.L. Chapter 23A, Section 3K to collaborate with MOBD and support the businesses in the Commonwealth, aligning with the Commonwealth’s Economic Development Bill – Partnerships for Growth, including but not limiting to supporting regionally-based efforts to nurture and facilitate economic growth and prosperity in the Commonwealth.

Due to the pandemic, MOBD will prioritize proposals with well-defined proposal on the strategy and action plan to assist small businesses, entrepreneurs, and business partners impacted by COVID-19. The proposal must demonstrate how the organization conduct the services and connect them with local and State resources to stabilize their business operation and preserve jobs, especially for those small diverse businesses in Gateway Cities.

Learn more about this year's REDO Request for Proposals.

CLOSED: Cultural Organization Economic Recovery Program

A painting by Sarah Slavick.

The Mass Cultural Council, in partnership with the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development, has launched the Cultural Organization Economic Recovery Grant Program, which offers grant assistance to Massachusetts nonprofit cultural organizations negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This new $10 million initiative is part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s Economic Recovery Plan. Of the $10 million, $2 million will be dedicated to supporting small cultural nonprofits, in alignment with the FY20 COVID supplemental budget.

Cultural organizations have suffered staggering economic loss in recent months because of the COVID-19 public health crisis with a reported $484 million in lost revenue and more than 30,000 cultural jobs impacted. The Cultural Organization Economic Recovery Grant Program will efficiently distribute funds to organizations that urgently need them. The deadline to apply for funding is Friday, December 11, 2020.

CLOSED: COVID-19 Grants for Massachusetts Small Businesses

The inside of a restaurant.
Please be advised, the application period for the Small Business Grant Programs is now closed.

The Baker-Polito Administration made $50.8 million in grants available to support small businesses, microenterprises, and their employees, families and communities. Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) is administering these funds to businesses experiencing economic hardship and a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grant funding is intended to help businesses adversely impacted by the pandemic. Preference will be given to small businesses whose owners are women, minorities, veterans, members of other underrepresented groups, who are focused on serving the Gateway Cities of Massachusetts, and those most negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Preference will also be given to applicants that have not been able to receive aid from other federal programs related to COVID-19.

Last updated: January 11, 2021
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