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Funding Opportunities In The Time of COVID

Funding Opportunities For BHS Singing Communities During COVID-19

Many of our chapters and districts have been asking for ideas on how to fund their budgets at a time when shows, performances, and events are being cancelled, and our singers and their families are facing economic pressures.

We’d like to share a few potential opportunities that may be helpful for your singing community, depending on your own situation.

Small Business Administration (SBA) Funds

April 27, 2020

IMPORTANT NOTE: With the approval of additional funding passed by Congress last week, SBA has updated guidance on its website:

  • The SBA will resume accepting Paycheck Protection Program applications from participating lenders on Monday, April 27, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. EDT.
  • With the additional funding provided by the new COVID-19 relief package, SBA will resume processing EIDL Loan and Advance applications that are already in the queue on a first come, first-served basis.
  • We will provide further information on the availability of the EIDL portal to receive new applications (including those from agricultural enterprises) as soon as possible.

Click here to learn more about the relief options available for your business.

We will continue to update this blog as we get new information.

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April 22, 2020

IMPORTANT NOTE: Congress passed a bill yesterday, expected to be signed into law, to expand the funds for SBA to allocate. More detail on how it will be alloted is expected soon. Stay tuned!

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April 16, 2020

IMPORTANT NOTE: THE INFORMATION BELOW WAS CURRENT AS OF APRIL 8, 2020, WHEN IT WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED. TODAY, THE SBA PUT A NOTICE ON ITS WEBSITE STATING THAT THE EIDL APPROPRIATION HAS ALREADY BEEN EXHAUSTED.

PLEASE CHECK SBA.GOV AND THE BHS BLOG FOR UPDATES, AS THE CARES FUNDING IS A CONTINUALLY MORPHING SITUATION.

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In the CARES bill that became law on March 27, the Small Business Administration (SBA) was assigned a role in getting money into the economy as quickly as possible. They are using a variety of vehicles.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program may be of value to many BHS chapters. According to SBA (excerpted):

“In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. This advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available following a successful application. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.

The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan provides vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organizations or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by COVID-19.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance funds will be made available within days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.

To apply for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan and loan advance, click here.

We know of at least one BHS chapter that has applied for these funds and is awaiting word on whether it has been approved. This chapter reports that the online application was very simple and took less than one hour to complete. It did note that a few of the questions didn’t seem to apply to a nonprofit, and that it spoke about these with a SBA customer service specialist who acknowledged that the application was imperfect and guided them to answer with “whatever is the closest answer.”

You may have heard of another SBA COVID forgivable loan program, the Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP). PPP requires that an application be made through a participating SBA lender/bank, and carries certain requirements regarding the type and amount of payroll that can be included. Any chapter is free to apply on its own. Our assessment is that the vast majority of our chapters may find the requirements too onerous and the loan size too small to attract lender interest. If you are one of the handful of chapters with significant paid staff and a six figure budget, let us know of your interest and we can speak with you directly.

Your State and Local Arts Agencies

Your state and local government arts agencies and commissions may be offering fast-tracked emergency funds to local arts organizations. Check this directory to identify the agencies in your state, and then research their websites!

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), from whom BHS received funding for the first time ever this year, is charged with distributing $75 million in relief funds. NEA announced its COVID guidelines on Wednesday 4/8, several weeks earlier than expected.

$45 million will be distributed through NEA’s national grantmaking office. Grants will be made only to organizations who have won NEA awards during the last four years. This will be a highly competitive process.

$30 million will be distributed through direct allocations to your state and local arts agencies for direct grants to arts organizations. NEA states that these agencies will be selected by April 30, at which point each agency would presumably develop and announce its own plans for distributing funds.

Once the information is released, we expect your local singing community will have two possible opportunities. First, your chapter may qualify to directly apply to your state arts agency for NEA funds. Second, we are in the early stages of exploring a partnership with our districts to pull together consolidated applications in their states of incorporation. Look for more information coming from Harmony Hall in the next few weeks.

Sign up for NEA’s email list to receive future updates!

Economic Impact Survey

In order to help our districts and chapters capitalize on funding opportunities, we are trying to develop a better understanding of COVID’s financial impact on chapters. Within the next two weeks, we will be releasing a very short survey for chapter presidents to tell us how you are faring financially. Please help by taking that survey as soon as it is released!

In Closing, For Now

Nathan Ogg, BHS Chapter Success Manager

Please know that we are working tirelessly in the pursuit of easing the financial burdens some or all of our singing communities may be feeling at this time. The above opportunities are by no means guaranteed, and will require plenty of work by individuals in our chapters and districts.

We are here to help you in any way we can. It is our priority to make sure our members know that we care, and when you hurt, we hurt. We will get through this challenging time and continue to carry barbershop forward to the next generation of singers.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact Chapter Success Manager, Nathan Ogg, at chapters@barbershop.org.