by Photo courtesy of the City of Chula Vista

The city of Chula Vista will consider administering $3.6 million in a new grant program to support small businesses and nonprofit organizations that have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

City Council will consider accepting a $252,000 agreement with The San Diego Foundation on Tuesday to administer the Chula Vista American Rescue Plan Act Direct Grants for Small Businesses and Nonprofit Relief Grant Program.

The program calls for $2.6 million for Economic Recovery from the city’s $57.5 million American Rescue Plan Act Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF). The nonprofit will also allocate $1 million of its own funds to award Chula Vista nonprofits through the grant program. 

Deputy City Manager, Eric Crockett, said the proposed grant program would designate $2.1 million for small businesses and $1.5 million for nonprofits.

If approved, eligible small businesses may be eligible for $10,000, and grant awards ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 may be available for nonprofits. The San Diego Foundation would have until March 31, 2023, to expend funds under the agreement. 

The city estimates that out of the approximate 16,000 licensed businesses, more than 10,000 businesses and nonprofits would qualify for financial assistance. 

A business assistance survey was emailed to 7,636 licensed businesses in the city during the third quarter of 2021. Of the 180 survey responses, most indicated they would like funds to replenish depleted reserves, cover payroll expenses, rent, and equipment, and pay down debt that has accrued during the pandemic.

An additional survey was administered in the first quarter of 2022 to assess business recovery status, which found small businesses are experiencing a very tepid recovery, still have depleted cash reserves, and have a high demand for more grant funding.  

According to Crockett, Chula Vista will promote the grant opportunity to all businesses in the city’s database and through social media outreach under the proposed agreement. The San Diego Foundation would also partner with the Small Business Development Center to host organizations and trusted community-based organizations to provide outreach to hard-to-reach communities. 

The online application will be translated into several languages, including but not limited to Spanish, Tagalog, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Arabic, Somali, Swahili, and others, as necessary. 

The San Diego Foundation will create and distribute media content to highlight small business literacy, wellness, entrepreneurship, and development resources to applicants under the proposed agreement. 

City Council will consider the agreement on Tuesday. If approved, The San Diego Foundation will have 14 days to release the application, which will be open for a period of at least 60 days. 

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