Applications open today for second round of Preserve the Fort business grants

Applications for the second round of Preserve the Fort business grants open at 3 p.m. this afternoon to help local businesses who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications will remain open until 11:59 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2.

Almost $9 million is available to businesses through these grants, which are funded from a portion of the City of Fort Worth’s CARES Act allocation.

Thanks to the success of the first round of Preserve the Fort grants earlier this summer, the city’s Economic Development Department and United Way of Tarrant County have expanded the grant criteria to include slightly larger businesses with up to 500 employees, in addition to smaller for-profit businesses and self-employed individuals/independent contractors.

Special focus is also being given to bars and music venues that were forced to close as of June 26. These businesses are eligible for a grant up to three times their lost average monthly revenue before the COVID-19 disaster declaration of March 13. This award will be capped at $100,000. Businesses must demonstrate a financial impact due to COVID-19 that meets or exceeds the eligible grant amount to receive the full award.

Performing arts nonprofits will be eligible for a grant of up to 1.5 times their gross average monthly revenue before the COVID-19 disaster declaration occurred on March 13. This award will be capped at $100,000 and can be used to cover expenses from sales and concessions.

Lastly, nonprofit businesses are eligible for a Preserve the Fort grant that covers up to 75% of expenses incurred as part of their COVID-19 reopening efforts. The grant will reimburse nonprofits for expenses like personal protective equipment (PPE), plexiglass barriers, sanitizer stands and more.

A complete list of eligibility information and required documentation, for both businesses and nonprofits, is currently available on the Preserve the Fort webpage.

Document assistance available to business owners

As with the first round of Preserve the Fort grants, business owners must submit a variety of financial documentation with their application to verify their financial need. However, this may be the first time that many businesses have had to apply for financial assistance, and the process can be overwhelming.

To address this challenge, the City of Fort Worth is leveraging its partnerships to provide business owners with help to prepare their documentation, particularly their profit and loss statements. Spearheaded by Fort Worth Now, a team of volunteers will be on standby over the next several weeks to help answer questions about the documentation required for the application. Volunteers will even be available on weekends and after 5 p.m., to accommodate business owners with nontraditional working hours.

Business owners can schedule an appointment time that’s convenient for them, and will receive a 30-minute phone call from a volunteer at the appointed time to discuss whatever they need help with – whether it’s explaining documentation requirements, providing direction on the application itself, or assisting with the creation of profit and loss statements.

These document assistance appointments begin Wednesday, Sept. 9, and business owners can schedule their appointment online. Document assistance is also available in Spanish.

Business owners will be expected to submit up to seven documents – including a 2019 federal tax return, their profit and loss statement for 2019, their profit and loss statement for 2020 with data broken down by month, and a proof of employment Q1 2020 941 – as part of their application.

A faster and stronger recovery

“It’s critical that we continue to support our residents and businesses throughout the pandemic,” said Mayor Betsy Price. “By supporting our small businesses, including bars and performing art nonprofits, we can all work to ensure that Fort Worth recovers faster and stronger.”

“While we had many successes with the first round of Preserve the Fort, there’s still a lot of work to be done,” said Robert Sturns, the city’s economic development director. “In addition to our small-business owners, several of the industries for which Fort Worth is known – our bars and restaurants, our arts scene, our music venues and others – are all still struggling. This second round of funding will hopefully help offset some of the damage from the past few months.”

“United Way of Tarrant County is pleased to partner again with the City of Fort Worth on the Preserve the Fort small business grant program,” said Leah King, president and CEO of United Way of Tarrant County. “The initial round of funding provided a much-needed lifeline to more than 800 small businesses, and yet we continue to see economic devastation, especially among small business owners, as a result of COVID-19. The distribution of the next round of funds will support even more locally owned companies in Fort Worth and help them avoid layoffs or keep from going out of business.”

Important notes

  • Businesses that have already received a Preserve the Fort grant earlier this summer are still eligible to receive another one during this second round of funding.

  • Businesses that received funds from the Paycheck Protection Program or an Economic Injury Disaster Loan are still eligible for this grant.

  • Credit scores and existing debt will not be taken into account before the funds are awarded.

  • Businesses and nonprofits that receive Preserve the Fort grants will be expected to keep track of how their grant money is spent, and may be called upon to produce these documents in the event of a financial audit.

  • Business owners are encouraged to apply at FortWorthTexas.gov/preserve-the-fort until 11:59 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, and follow the city’s Economic Development Facebook page for updates.

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