Pope County businesses and non-profit organizations are reminded that Pope County CARES Act Grants are available to local entities, with applications for the program being accepted through September 30.

The Pope County CARES Act Grant program has been established by the Pope County Board of Commissioners to distribute hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant funding to Pope County businesses and non-profit entities negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and response. Pope County businesses and non-profits with qualifying expenses are strongly encouraged to visit the Pope County website at www.co.pope.mn.us/cares to review the grant program criteria and complete an application for grant funding. Applications will be accepted through September 30, 2020.

Volunteer-run non-profit organizations in Pope County are specifically encouraged to take another look at the non-profit criteria for the CARES Act Grant program. At its last regular meeting, the Pope County Board of Commissioners eliminated the eligibility requirement for non-profit organizations that the recipient must have at least the equivalent of one full-time employee. According to the revised criteria, volunteer-staffed non-profit organizations without employees are also eligible to receive grant funding if all other eligibility requirements are met.

In the initial application period, grants up to $10,000 per recipient will be considered, with an additional $5,000 in funding potentially available per recipient based on documented, qualifying needs and on funding availability in the discretion of the County.

This grant funding is intended to assist local for-profit businesses and non-profit entities that (1) had operations curtailed by Executive Orders issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, or (2) have experienced a significant drop in gross receipts or sales during the pandemic when compared to the same months in 2019.

The County is also partnering with the Pope County HRA-EDA for assistance in evaluating grant applications, making award recommendations, and performing outreach to community institutions and government entities in support of this program.

Full grant program details and application materials can be found at www.co.pope.mn.us/cares, and those without internet access can request program materials from the Pope County HRA-EDA at (320) 634-7847 or from the Pope County Coordinator’s Office at (320) 634-7700.