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October 13, 2020

This news article was originally published on Sept. 25. We have since learned the dates these grant applications would be available is Oct. 19, 2020. Find the applications at accelerate.sc.gov. During the application process, if a business or nonprofit organization needs assistance or has questions, please contact the SC CARES Call Center 803-670-5170 or SCCares@admin.sc.gov. The call center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., beginning Oct. 13.  


$65 Million in South Carolina Business Relief Grant Funding is on the Way

On Wednesday, Sept. 23, the South Carolina General Assembly adopted legislation on how to spend federal funding it received via the CARES Act. The General Assembly, with unanimous support from the Horry County Legislative Delegation, dedicated $25 million to a nonprofit relief program and $40 million to a minority and small business relief program.

This was a key advocacy priority for the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. We thank the Horry County Legislative Delegation for supporting these timely relief programs. As funding from PPP and EIDL are dried up, businesses in the Myrtle Beach area have been looking for relief options to help keep the lights on. Kudos to our General Assembly and Horry County Delegation for creating these programs.

NOTE: The application process for these grants is not open yet. We will provide an update once we receive more details on how businesses can apply. We are sharing this preliminary information with our investors now so businesses can start thinking about how they will apply to receive the most relief.

$25 Million Nonprofit Reimbursement Grant Program

According to the legislation, this program “shall award grant to qualifying nonprofit entities to reimburse the qualifying nonprofit entity for some, or all, of the costs associated with qualifying expenditures incurred, or expected to be incurred, by the qualifying nonprofit entity between March 1, 2020 and Dec. 1, 2020.” Grants will be between $2,500 and $50,000. Nonprofit entities must apply for grants no later than Nov. 1, 2020. The legislation defines a nonprofit entity as “a 501(c)(3) that has been operating in S.C. for at least six months prior to the governor’s initial state of emergency declaration on March 13, 2020.”

Application Process for Nonprofit Reimbursement Grant Program

According to the legislation, businesses interested in applying for these grants will be applying to the “S.C. Grants Management Program.” Applicants are required to provide information concerning expenditures for which the applicant seeks the grant. The grants will be awarded for qualifying expenditures as determined by a grant panel. Priority will be given to applicants that did not receive other assistance (PPP, EIDL or other CARES funding). Second priority will be given to applications for expenditures related to:

  1. Food assistance, including prepared meals.
  2. Rent or mortgage assistance.
  3. Utility assistance.
  4. Mental health counseling.
  5. Health care services, including access to health care supplies, mental or behavioral health.
  6. Criminal domestic violence and children’s advocacy services.
  7. Arts and cultural items or activities.

The legislation goes on to define a “qualifying expenditure” as NOT including any expenditure that qualified the nonprofit entity to receive federal emergency relief funds, including the Paycheck Protection Program, if the nonprofit entity has, or will, receive the federal emergency relief funds. Essentially, this section of the legislation confirms that nonprofits cannot double-dip.

Who is on the panel that judges the nonprofit grants?

The legislation sets out the individuals and agencies that are tasked with reviewing and awarding grants.

  • Director of the Department of Social Services.
  • Director of the Department of Mental Health.
  • Director of the Department of Consumer Affairs.
  • Director of the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Director of the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services.
  • Secretary of State.
  • Director of the S.C. Arts Commission.
  • Director of the Department of Archives and History.
  • Executive Director of the S.C. State Housing Finance and Development Authority.


$40 Million Minority and Small Business Enterprise Reimbursement Grant Program

According to the legislation, this program “shall award grants to qualifying minority and small business enterprises to reimburse the expenses of some, or all, of the costs associated with qualifying expenditures incurred, or expected to be incurred, by the qualifying minority or small business enterprise between March 1, 2020, and Dec. 1, 2020.” Grants will be between $2,500 and $25,000. The deadline to apply for these grants is no later than Nov. 1, 2020.

Like the nonprofit program, applicants CANNOT receive state grant funding for expenditures for which they have previously received federal funding through CARES Act programs like the PPP.

Application Process for Minority and Small Business Grant Program

Applications will be made to the S.C. Cares Grant Management Program. Priority will be given to minority businesses, to applicants that did not receive PPP, businesses with 15 or fewer employees and to businesses that demonstrate the greatest financial need. The legislation defines a “minority business enterprise” as a business with 25 or fewer employees that has been operating in S.C. for at least six months prior to the governor’s initial COVID-19 state of emergency declaration on March 13, 2020, and is owned by an individual who is a U.S. citizen who is economically and socially disadvantaged. The bill defines “economically and socially disadvantaged” as “individuals whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been impaired due to diminished capital and credit opportunities as compared to others in the same business area who are not socially disadvantaged.” It states that socially disadvantaged individuals include:

  • African Americans.
  • Hispanic Americans.
  • Native Americans (including individuals recognized as American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts and Native Hawaiians).
  • Asian Pacific Americans.


Who judges the Minority and Small Business Grant Applications?

The legislation creates a panel that will assign priorities and make an initial determination of which applicants meet the requirements. Once the panel has made determinations, they will award grants to applicants. This panel consists of:

  • Director of the Commission for Minority Affairs.
  • Secretary of Commerce.
  • Director of the Department of Revenue.


How do I apply?

The panel members above, along with the Department of Administration, are tasked with creating and developing an application and establishing criteria for the evaluation of applications that is consistent with the requirements in the legislation. Visit accelerate.sc.gov/cares-act/applying-sc-cares-act-funds for application information.

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