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The Arizona Community Foundation has over $38 million in small business grants available to be claimed.
The Arizona Community Foundation has over $38 million in small business grants available to be claimed.
Arizona Community Foundation website screenshot

Over $38 Million In Grants Still Available For Valley Small Businesses

Less than $10 million in Arizona Community Foundation grants made available for small businesses affected by the pandemic in Maricopa County have been claimed so far. That means that over $38 million is still available, in grants of up to $25,000.

Lisa Dancsok, the foundation's chief brand and impact officer, said she's been telling every small business owner she meets to apply.

"These aren't loans, they are actual grants," she said.

The grants are administered by the philanthropic foundation but come from CARES act funds that has been allocated by the county and a few cities. Currently, Phoenix, Chandler, and Peoria have their own grant programs in addition to the county's program. To apply, go to the community foundation's website and select the relevant grant from the slider on its homepage. (The City of Phoenix, for example, features an image of a "come in we're open" sign.)

Everyone can apply, but the requirements vary slightly based on which grant you apply for — Chandler's is for certain types of businesses; the City of Phoenix requires small businesses to be in or adjacent to a low-income census tract, but not micro-businesses (you can look up if a small business is in a qualifying area here). Phoenix also offers specific grants for some businesses, such as restaurants, through the city website.

In general businesses need to submit a completed W-9 form and tax returns to show that they have lost money since the pandemic hit, along with whatever else is required by the specific grant. This can all be done through the foundation's website, by scrolling to the bottom of the grant page and selecting "Begin Your Application."

"The check is usually out within a week to two weeks," Dancsok said.

Some of the programs have relaxed the requirements to qualify. The county now is accepting applications from businesses that also received federal Paycheck Protection Program loans, and the city of Phoenix is no longer specifying which month a business must show it made less money in compared to last year.

At the end of the day, business owners "are smarter to apply for it than not," Dancsok said.

The county grant is open until October 2, Peoria's is open until September 18 and Phoenix's will go until the money is all distributed.

If you have issues applying for your business, you can email Dancosk here.

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