Nonprofit grants program to start

By: 
Register Staff
Staff Writer

Inyo County nonprofit groups could be eligible for grant funding to help them weather the COVID-19 pandemic through a program similar to the county’s REVIVE grants released last year to assist local small businesses.
The Inyo County Resiliency Grant Program for nonprofit organizations, according to the county, would use $100,000 of General Fund money that the board already had set aside for the endeavor.
The program for these groups was developed because the county recognizes and appreciates that local non-profit organizations continue to provide services during the pandemic despite the fact that fundraising events have been canceled and other revenue streams impacted, while expenses continue to accrue.
Many of these same organizations provide assistance to Inyo County citizens who have been most severely impacted by COVID-19.
Grant funds will be provided for economic support to organizations that can demonstrate negative financial impacts due to COVID, and priority will be given to those that are focused on addressing the needs of disenfranchised or disadvantaged Inyo County residents, thereby improving the quality of life in Inyo County.
This program will provide grants up to $10,000 each to qualified non-profit organizations that provide services to residents of Inyo County based on criteria spelled out in the program guidelines. There will be an evaluation panel of three – five people, including county staff and members of the community.
The grant application, contract and final report will all be administered electronically using DocuSign. This was the procedure used for the REVIVE Grant Program and it worked “very well,” according to the county.
In August, supervisors approved the REVIVE Grant Program for small, local businesses, where there was $800,000 of CARES Act funding allocated to approximately 100 businesses to offset some of the financial impacts caused by COVID-19. This is the equivalent of that program for nonprofit organizations.

Eligibility
According to the draft program guidelines, which supervisors could modify or adopt as are, to be eligible, a non-profit:
MUST
• Adequately demonstrate that funding is necessary due to the financial impacts of COVID-19 and will be used to mitigate these impacts.
• Be a legally organized Nonprofit Entity under Internal Revenue Code Section 501.
• Primarily serve the residents of Inyo County.
• Directly provide services or goods that are available to, or benefit, the general public.

CANNOT
• Be exclusively engaged in lobbying.
• Be primarily engaged in distributing funds to other organizations or individuals.
• Use grant funds for an inherently religious activity. An inherently religious activity includes activities such as religious worship, instruction, or proselytization. However, a religious organization that provides secular social services, such as a food bank, disaster relief, or a mentoring program, is not engaged in an inherently religious activity.
• Be any of the following: An educational institution; a social, recreational, sports, or booster club; a private foundation.
Along with an application, organizations seeking grants also will be required to attach a narrative with the following:
• A brief description of the organization, including mission, goals and history in Inyo County.
• Describe how the organization has made a significant community benefit in the past.

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