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Applications open for $15 million Together Now grants for small businesses, nonprofits

The grants are for businesses hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and civil unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot at a news conference.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that applications for Together Now grants were open June 20, 2020.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file photo

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Saturday that small businesses and nonprofits hit hard by the coronavirus and damage from recent civil unrest can submit applications for grants from the $15 million Together Now fund.

The online application is open through June 29, the mayor’s office said in a statement. Grants will be awarded after the application deadline through a lottery system.

“Our small businesses play a critical role in contributing to the vibrancy of our city which is why it is essential that we offer them assistance during what may be the most difficult time that many of them face,” Lightfoot said.

Businesses that have lost at least 25% of their revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic and employ less than 100 people at one location are eligible for a grant of up to $4,000, the mayor’s office said.

Additionally, storefronts damaged during the civil unrest sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis may receive a grant of up to $10,000 for repairs, the mayor’s office said. Those businesses must provide photos and repair quotes as proof of the damages.

Chain businesses, such as franchises, branch banks and payday loan stores are not eligible for a grant, the mayor’s office said.

The Together Now grants are largely funded by city projects like the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund and Adopt-a-Landmark, as well as money received from the federal CARES Act, the mayor’s office said. Jewel-Osco also contributed $1 million, and various other corporate and individual donors have chipped in.

The city expects to make grants to over 2,500 small businesses, the mayor’s office said. Applicants can expect to hear whether they will receive the funds within three weeks of the June 29 deadline.

Earlier this week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a $900 million statewide grant fund meant to help businesses harmed by COVID-19, as well as homeowners and renters struggling to pay rent and mortgages.