City officials announced May 26 that $10 million allocated to the city through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act will be used for the “Preserve The Fort” small-business grant program. Grant applications will be processed in partnership with the United Way of Tarrant County and various Fort Worth chambers of commerce.
“These grants are critical to helping support and preserve the city’s small business community, which has helped define so much of Fort Worth’s character,” Economic Development Director Robert Sturns said in a city news release. “As businesses across the state start to reopen, these grants can help offset some of the costs from the recent shutdown and provide a way forward for those small businesses who have been hit hardest.”
Applications for the small-business grant program will be accepted May 26-June 8, according to the release. Business owners can apply for grants at www.fortworthtexas.gov/preserve-the-fort.
Out of the $10 million allocated to small businesses, a total of $2.5 million will be reserved for minority-owned businesses.
An additional $2.5 million will be reserved for businesses located in the city’s Neighborhood Empowerment Zones and Designated Investment Zones, which are made up of predominantly low- to moderate-income individuals.
“We applaud the City of Fort Worth for developing the ‘Preserve The Fort’ grant program and using CARES Act funding to help our small business community,” said Leah King, the president and CEO of United Way of Tarrant County. “The impact of COVID-19 has been devastating to so many small business owners who had to close because of the shelter-in-place restrictions. It is our sincere hope that these funds allow them to get back on their feet and position them for long-term success.”
Fort Worth businesses eligible for the grant program include small businesses with 250 employees or fewer, businesses that are registered to do business in the state of Texas, and businesses that have been in operation since at least September.
In addition, self-employed individuals, independent contractors and area nonprofits are also eligible. The monetary value of the grants will range from $5,000 for businesses with five or less employees to $50,000 for businesses with 51-250 employees.
City of Fort Worth officials at a special meeting April 30 accepted a total of $158.72 million from federal coronavirus funds. The $2 trillion economic relief package is designed to mitigate the economic and public health effects of COVID-19.
According to city Director of Neighborhood Development Victor Turner, eligible city expenditures for federal coronavirus relief funding include:
- Joint Emergency Operations Center expenses such as salaries, supplies and contracts;
- COVID-19-related overtime in various departments;
- salaries of those reassigned to COVID-19 roles, such as the code compliance director, parks director, public events staff and others;
- supplies and equipment such as personal protection equipment and cleaning and sanitizing supplies;
- contractual expenditures such as RVs and hotels to host COVID-19-affected people, cleaning and so on;
- unanticipated expenses such as emergency sick leave, emergency Family and Medical Leave Act, and unemployment; and
- community support programs.