Supervisors OK fund to help nonprofits impacted by coronavirus shutdowns

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RIVERSIDE (CNS) – The Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved the establishment of a $5 million fund earmarked for aid to Riverside County nonprofits that are struggling to stay afloat following the government’s public health shutdowns stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have a rental relief program, and we have a program to help small businesses, but nothing for nonprofits,”  said Supervisor Karen Spiegel, who proposed the Riverside County Nonprofit Fund.
“Nonprofits are a part of our community, and they do an awful lot of filling in holes that the government cannot meet,” she said.
Spiegel had announced her idea for the fund during last week’s board meeting, but she did not yet have the proposal ready for consideration. The concept was formalized before the end of last week.
The supervisor was discouraged that not-for-profit entities were not included when the board set up a $45 million Small Business Assistance Grant Program, which is available until June 19.
Under the program, up to 4,500 enterprises with 50 or less employees can apply for individual grants of $10,000 each. The money was made available under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security — CARES — Act signed into law by President Donald Trump in March. The county received a total $431 million in CARES allocations.
The Riverside County Nonprofit Assistance Fund also relies on CARES money.
Spiegel pointed out in documents posted to the board’s agenda that thousands of residents have turned to food banks and other nonprofit organizations for help amid the government-mandated shutdowns of economic sectors.
“Our local nonprofits are now facing significant financial issues stemming from dramatic increases in service provision, loss of revenue and loss of volunteers,” Spiegel wrote. “As we work to provide interventions to support our local business community, we must also work to support the nonprofit sector, which has continued to provide invaluable community services during the pandemic.”
According to Spiegel, there are 7,511 nonprofits registered countywide, generating $3.7 billion in economic activity, or 5% of the county’s gross domestic product.
Under provisions of the newly established fund, qualifying organizations are eligible to apply for individual grants of $2,500 to $10,000 each.
“We estimate that we can serve more than 400 nonprofits with these grants,” Spiegel said. “Grant applications will be funded based on location, size of the agency, financial need and the direct impact of COVID on the agency’s operations.”
The Riverside-based Inland Empire Community Foundation will be the administrator of the $5 million fund. The IECF, which has been in operation for nearly 80 years, manages its own community assistance programs and provides other not-for-profit organizations with technical support.
Applications to access the Riverside County Nonprofit Assistance Fund must be submitted between July 1 and July 30. The program will be available for 90 days.
Anyone interested should visit the supervisor’s website, https://rivcodistrict2.org/, or call the Clerk of the Board’s Office at 951-955-1069.