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September 30, 2023

Local nonprofits can apply for Covid rescue funds

Council approves criteria for $100K in one-time funding

The City of Morgan Hill will soon give up to $100,000 of federal “rescue” funds to local nonprofits, with a priority on organizations that have been financially impacted by Covid-19 or have a recent track record of supporting others who have suffered due to the pandemic.

Applications are currently open for Morgan Hill-based nonprofits to request a portion of the funds. The city council is expected to approve the recipient or recipients in October, after staff have processed the applications and determined which organizations meet the criteria for the funds.

The funds come from the city’s one-time share of the American Rescue Plan Act, which was signed by President Joe Biden in March. The City of Morgan Hill will receive a total of $10.99 million from the ARPA, which will be paid out to City Hall in two allotments in the coming months, according to city staff.

Most of Morgan Hill’s share of the ARPA funds will go toward direct funding for city services. However, the city council earlier this month unanimously voted to make $100,000 of the ARPA funds available to local nonprofit charitable organizations that qualify.

That decision followed a previous directive by the council in August, for city staff to establish a “one-time community grant funding opportunity,” says a city staff report. At the Sept. 1 meeting, the council approved the criteria for organizations to receive the ARPA funds:

– Must be a charitable nonprofit

– Must show the funds will be used to support the community

– Funds must be used for residents or businesses in Morgan Hill

– Funding requests must be for one-time use

– The organization may not have received or be scheduled to receive other funding from the city.

In addition to those mandatory criteria, according to a press release from city staff, the council will give priority for the ARPA funding to organizations that:

– Can demonstrate they were “significantly financially impacted” by Covid-19

– Can demonstrate a near-term impact of the grant request by providing a direct service to Morgan Hill residents or businesses

– Have not received, or are not scheduled to receive, past Covid-19 funding from the city, state or federal government

– Can demonstrate how they have supported the local community in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Interested organizations can submit applications for ARPA funds to city staff until 5pm Sept. 22. An application form is posted on the city’s website, and completed applications can be emailed to [email protected].

At the Sept. 1 council meeting, council members requested more eligibility restrictions on the distribution of the ARPA funds than staff had originally proposed, including a requirement that recipient organizations must be 501(c)(3) nonprofits.

Mayor Pro Tem John McKay voted in favor of the proposal, though he said the new restrictions would disqualify some “important organizations” that could use the federal funds to help local residents and businesses.

Council member Gino Borgioli, who made the motion to approve the $100,000 program, said, “These nonprofits need this now. They need to help people out there who are still struggling from Covid.”

City officials and nonprofit representatives noted that many local community organizations have done extensive work to help others since the pandemic started in March 2020. Council member Yvonne Martinez Beltran said this includes nonprofits and volunteers who helped with vaccination efforts by distributing information to the Spanish-speaking community and signing up eligible residents for vaccine appointments.

“The nonprofits have kept us going during Covid,” Martinez Beltran said.

Morgan Hill Community Foundation President Nick Gaich noted that the city’s $100,000 ARPA grant program complements similar efforts undertaken by local organizations in response to the pandemic. These include a “disaster relief” program by MHCF, which has granted $129,000 to 14 local nonprofits. The funds were donated “through the generosity of individuals and organizations,” Gaich wrote to the council on Sept. 1.

Furthermore, the MHCF partnered with the YMCA and Morgan Hill Unified School District to distribute $34,000 to “essential worker childcare.” The foundation also partnered with the Downtown Association to grant $16,000 to support distressed restaurants and essential workers after the pandemic started, Gaich said.

And in collaboration with the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce, the MHCF is preparing to implement a $25,000 grant program to support local small businesses “who have been severely impacted by the ongoing medical crisis and subsequent countywide business recovery stabilization requirements,” Gaich said.

“All the above was achieved through partnership and working together with a multitude of people interconnected by one common mission: to relieve negative impacts of the global pandemic on our Morgan Hill community,” Gaich’s letter to the council said.

Michael Moore
Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.

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