The Schuykill County Commissioners wouldn’t be involved in vote buying ahead of the 2023 General Election, would they?
It almost appears that way with the announcement Friday of the Nonprofit COVID-19 Response Grant Program.
Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce, along with Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance announced the grant program launched on Friday. It’s about 60 days prior to the pivotal municipal election in November, when 2 of the 3 sitting Commissioners will appear on the ballot for re-election.
We’ll cover some of the details of this grant program in just a bit but we won’t bait you with the promise of this grant but withhold information until it’s politically advantageous like the Commissioners did in this case.
First, let’s look at the timeline of this grant program that is clearly a few years too late and has been dangled in front of needy non-profits for months this year.
Back in April, the Schuylkill County Commissioners first mentioned this non-profit grant program. That was just prior to the Primary Election. At that time, it was announced by Commissoners Chairman Barron Hetherington details would be coming out soon on how to apply for these grants. We didn’t report on that announcement at the time because it stunk of a political stunt to garner votes in the Primary.
It may have been. Months passed and not a peep came out of the Commissioners mouths about the program until this past week, just a couple months ahead of the November vote. Clever timing, we’re sure. And if you asked Hetherington or any of the Commissioners why it took since April (or, in reality, since 2020) why it took this long to offer a grant program to non-profit organizations who were unjustly shut down by governments (including the County government), we’re sure they’ll say they just had to make sure all their ducks were in a row before launching the program.
We certainly wouldn’t discourage any needy non-profit from applying for this grant program, despite the potential political motivations for launching it now.
Schuylkill County Non-Profit COVID-19 Response Grants
Funding for this grant program is coming from money Schuylkill County government received as part of the American Rescue Plan Act over the last 2 years. Only 501c3 and 501c19 non-profit organizations are eligible to receive any of the grant money. Those organizations must meet the following criteria, according to documentation released by the County:
- is located in Schuylkill County; and/or provides services in Schuylkill County
- has been in operation for at least 4 years (IRS Determination letter should be dated 2019 or be retroactive to 2019); and
- has experienced a net economic loss or has experienced a greater need for their services due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and
- has shown a greater need to adopt safer operating procedures, to maintain a healthy and safe work environment, due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and
- deploys 100% of the grant funds in Schuylkill County.
That excludes the following organizations:
- Churches and Religious Organizations
- Political Organizations
- For-Profit Businesses
- Organizations not delivering services in Schuylkill County
- Government or government-administered entities
- Organizations that did not incur a net loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Private Clubs or Organizations that limit membership for reasons other than capacity
- Organizations NOT compliant with all federal, state & local laws, including taxation
- Organizations that are delinquent in payment of real estate and payroll taxes
- Organizations NOT compliant with IRS filing requirements (GuideStar Charity Check will be used to test compliance)
Grant awards to successful applications could total up to $20,000, based on their 2019 revenue.A non-profit with up to $100,000 in revenue in 2019 can receive a maximum $5,000. Revenue between $101,001 and $500,000 can get $10,000 in grant funds. Anything more in revenue can get a non-profit a maximum $20,000.
Any money an organization receives must spend it to replace lost revenue during the “pandemic” years. It can also cover program expenses, rent and utility costs, payroll, and more.
The application period for this grant program closes on Oct. 31, 2023. Organizations that apply but aren’t eligible will hear via email in Decmber 2023. Proposed grant recipients will be approved by the Commissioners in January 2024. And between February and March 2024 is when grant money will be awarded.
You can find the application below. It’s also available at this link: https://www.nepa-alliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Schuylkill-Co-COVID-19-Response-0-Full-rev2.pdf
You can also follow this link to complete a survey and receive additional application instructions: https://www.nepa-alliance.org/schuylkill-county-covid-19-response/
Kurt Bauman, vice president of the community & economic development services division at NEPA Alliance is available to answer questions from prospective applicants. His email is: email@example.com.
Grant Application and Criteria: