As small businesses operate amid COVID-19, the City of Fort Wayne and Allen County are dedicating up to $1 million to help reimburse small business owners and eligible nonprofits for necessary health- and safety-related items.
Reimbursement grants of up to $5,000 are available to businesses and nonprofits that meet the grant criteria, which include:
- Located in the City of Fort Wayne and/or Allen County, Ind.
- Fewer than 150 employees.
- Currently in business.
- Business start date prior to Feb. 15, 2020.
- Made qualifying purchases such as PPE, facility modifications, etc., to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Review the grant guidelines and frequently asked questions below to ensure your business is eligible to apply and for program details.
Funding for the program comes from the City’s and County’s allocation of federal CARES Act dollars provided through the state of Indiana.
[UPDATE: Effective Nov. 17, grant funding for small businesses within Fort Wayne city limits has been exhausted. Limited funds are still available for Allen County businesses located outside Fort Wayne city limits.]
Step 1: Collect your receipts.
Collect your receipts for eligible expenses (see grant guidelines below for reimbursable uses). If you are able, circle the expenses on each receipt you plan to claim. Receipts MUST be dated between 3/1/2020 and 12/1/2020, otherwise they are not eligible. If you submit an INVOICE, you must also submit proof of payment for that order (processed check, bank statement, etc.)
Step 2: Complete your reimbursement sheet.
Download and fill out the Itemized Reimbursement Sheet to list your eligible expenses. When finished, upload your completed Excel spreadsheet as part of your application in Step 3.
Step 3: Apply.
Complete your official application using your receipts and the completed worksheet from Step 2. You will also be asked to provide the following documents:
- A color copy of the front and back of your driver’s license or government-issued ID.
- Your Secretary of State business registration, bank statement, or local/state/federal governmental correspondences to prove you were in business on Feb. 15, 2020 and that your business has a Fort Wayne or Allen County address.
- A completed Form W-9, and, if your organization is a nonprofit, your IRS determination letter.
Be sure to click “submit” when you are finished! You can also save and return to the application.
Grant applications (complete with required documentation) will be reviewed in the order they are received, and eligible expenses will be reimbursed through the end of 2020 or until available funds are expended, whichever comes first.
To be considered for a grant, an applicant must meet the following requirements and provide supporting documentation:
- Be private for-profit or eligible non-profit business located in the Fort Wayne city limits (to qualify for City Funding) or Allen County (defined as within Allen County, but outside of Fort Wayne city limits to qualify for County Funding) with fewer than 150 employees at the time of application and currently in business
- Business occupies a Fort Wayne – Allen County address on its Indiana Secretary of State business registration, bank statement, or local/state/federal governmental correspondences
- Business start date prior to Feb. 15, 2020, as documents on its Indiana Secretary of State business registration, bank statement, or local/state/federal governmental correspondences
- To comply with the CDC, State of Indiana, and Allen County Department of Health reopening guidelines, your business purchased personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitized facilities, and modified facilities or invested in technology to promote social distancing and reduce the spread of infection due to business interruption as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic between March 1, 2020 and Dec. 1, 2020.
For business owners, the grant is intended to ensure the safety of their employees and customers, in compliance with local and state reopening guidelines. Reimbursable expenditures fall into these three general categories:
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including masks, face shields, gloves, and hand sanitizer, and disinfectant products.
- Facility sanitation equipment, products, and services.
- Facility modifications and technology investments to promote social distancing including (but not limited to) telework technology, signage, air handling, partitioning, improvements for safe queuing, and construction of health and safety improvements aimed at reducing the spread of infection and are consistent with CDC, State of Indiana, and Allen County Department of Health reopening guidelines.
The business must certify it has not previously been reimbursed for the same items and does not plan to return any items for which it seeks reimbursement.
If you believe that your expenses should be considered, you will be given an opportunity to explain each expense on the Reimbursement Sheet.
Items that do not fit into these broad categories may be subject to review at the STATE level. This approval process may lengthen the overall grant funding process.
Grant Application and Requirements
Due to the high volume of anticipated applications, completed applications with all supporting documents will be reviewed in the order they are received, and eligible expenses will be reimbursed through the end of the year or until available funds are expended.
This is a reimbursement grant. Applicants must provide documentation showing that an eligible purchase was made between March 1, 2020 and Dec. 1, 2020. Applicants will be required to upload receipts showing the goods/services purchased matching the reimbursement request, date of purchase, and vendor. Sales tax and shipping costs are not eligible for reimbursement.
The maximum grant amount is $5,000 per business. Businesses can submit only one application per registered business address. Multiple applications for a registered business address will not be accepted.
The following documentation must be provided for an application to be considered complete and reviewed:
- A color copy of the front and back of your driver’s license or government-issued ID.
- Indiana Secretary of State business registration, bank statement, or local/state/federal governmental correspondences received by your business at a Fort Wayne – Allen County address verifying the business occupies a Fort Wayne city limits or Allen County address
- Indiana Secretary of State business registration, bank statement, or local/state/federal governmental correspondences verifying a business start date prior to February 15, 2020
- Copies of receipts or other documentation showing date of purchase, material or services purchased, vendor, and date paid.
- Completed Indiana Form W-9, and, if your organization is a nonprofit, your IRS determination letter showing 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) status.
Any applicant that is missing this documentation will receive an email that they are missing required documentation and will be allowed to re-apply and the application will be processed in the order in which it was received as a complete application.
How do I verify that I am a “Fort Wayne city limits or Allen County Business?"
You will upload documentation with your Application on our website that shows that you are a registered Indiana business within the Fort Wayne city limits or in Allen County, Indiana address. That documentation may come from, but is not limited to, the following:
- Indiana Secretary of State
- Official business bank account statements showing the business’s Fort Wayne city limits or Allen County, Indiana address
- State, Local or Federal governmental correspondences received by your business at a Fort Wayne – Allen County address
How do I count my number of employees?
- Employees are counted per business registration. A business must have fewer than 150 employees to qualify for this grant program. A majority of your employees must work at or out of (including remotely) your Fort Wayne city limits or Allen County, Indiana location(s).
- Part-time or seasonal employees must be included in the employee count. Per SBA guidelines, all individuals who are considered employees in any capacity are counted as “an employee” in the employee count.
What types of nonprofits are eligible for this grant?
Eligible nonprofits for this grant program align with other CARES programs (like the Paycheck Protection Program), meaning only tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations and 501(c)(19) veterans organizations and tribal business concerns are eligible. You will be asked to provide an IRS determination letter showing 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) status.
How much money can I be reimbursed?
Per business, there is a two hundred dollars ($200) minimum and five thousand dollars ($5,000) maximum to this grant reimbursement.
Where may I purchase my PPE goods and services?
There is no restriction on vendors.
Can I be reimbursed shipping charges and/or sales tax that I paid on PPE purchases?
No, you may seek and receive reimbursement of the purchases themselves, but that will NOT include any shipping charge or sales tax applied to the purchase.
When are Applications being accepted?
Applications will be accepted starting Oct. 20, 2020. Applications will remain open until 5 p.m. on Dec. 1, 2020 or until available funds are expended, whichever comes first.
Utilizing CARES Act funding for this grant program, the City of Fort Wayne has allocated $750,000 in grant funds for small businesses (operating within the city limits) and eligible non-profits. Allen County has allocated $250,000 in grant funds for small businesses and eligible non-profits operating within Allen County, outside of the city limits of Fort Wayne (again, meeting the eligibility guidelines previously outlined). Thus, geographic-specific funds within this grant pool may be expended at different times.
When must I make my PPE purchases?
Purchases must be made between March 1, 2020 and Dec. 1, 2020.
How do you choose the Applications to review?
Due to the high volume of anticipated Applications, complete Applications with all supporting documents will be reviewed on a first-in, first-out basis. Incomplete or incorrect Applications or missing or illegible documentation will render an Application void and will require re-submission of the package. Any such applicant will receive an informative email and will be allowed to re-apply.
How do I verify for you the amount of my purchases?
You will upload with your Application and our Itemized Reimbursement Sheet of your receipts that show your eligible purchases’ dates, description, vendor, quantity and price. Receipts may be in the form of, but not limited to, the following:
- A .pdf or .jpg of a paper receipt for those purchases
- A copy of an electronic receipt you have for those purchases
- A copy of a work order marked or stamped “paid” with payment details from your service provider
My receipt shows items other than qualified purchases; is that ok?
Sure! Just circle or mark for our identification the item(s) on the receipt that match your entry into our Itemized Reimbursement Sheet and are the basis for your reimbursement request. We’ll disregard the other purchases.
What is your Itemized Reimbursement Sheet and how do I complete it?
We require you to complete with your Application our Excel Itemized Reimbursement Sheet to list all reimbursable expenses you claim as part of the Fort Wayne – Allen County CARES Business Grant request. You will use a separate line for each item/purchase/service that appears on a receipt.
Tip: If your spending exceeded $5,000 it is easiest to list the largest purchases first to reduce the number of items needed to hit the $5,000 limit. Fort Wayne – Allen County CARES Grant awards are limited to $5000.
I have submitted these expenses for reimbursement through other programs. Can I apply?
No, your business must certify that the items submitted for reimbursement have not previously been reimbursed by any other program.
How will I receive the reimbursement funds?
When your Application is approved, you will receive notice from our team. You will receive a check from the City of Fort Wayne or Allen County.
When will I receive the reimbursement funds?
If your Application is approved, you will receive a check within 30 days of your executing and returning our Grant Letter.
What is your “certification” requirement?
You complete a Certification attesting to the truthfulness of these things:
- You are an eligible private, for-profit or eligible 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) nonprofit business within Fort Wayne city limits or Allen County
- You were in business on 2/15/2020
- You were in business prior to 2/15/2020
- You are still in business
- Your business has fewer than 150 employees
- A majority of your employees must work at or out of (including remotely) your Fort Wayne city limits or Allen County, Indiana location(s)
- Your request for reimbursement is limited to the eligible purchases outlined in the Fort Wayne – Allen County CARES Business Grant Program Guidelines.
- Every expense for which you seek reimbursement was incurred between March 1, 2020 and Dec. 1, 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and to comply with CDC, State of Indiana, and Allen County Department of Health reopening guidelines.
- Items submitted for reimbursement have not previously been reimbursed by any other program.
- Your business does not plan to return any items for which you are seeking reimbursement.
- This Application is the only Application submitted by the applicant or any of the applicant’s affiliates for the Fort Wayne – Allen County CARES Business Grant. The applicant will submit only this Application for the Fort Wayne – Allen County CARES Business Grant and will not submit any future Applications unless the program guidelines are changed to expressly allow multiple Applications.
- The applicant is not engaged in any illegal activity under federal, state, and local laws.
What do you need in terms of my receipts?
To be approved for this grant, your receipts must be legible for our team to verify your dollar amounts, dates, and item descriptions. We cannot approve receipts that we cannot read. PLEASE be sure that what you are submitting is clearly reviewable on a computer screen. In that regard, an actual electronic receipt is better than a .jpg photo of a receipt. There is no magic formula; please just take a look at the clarity of your receipts on your screen before you submit them.
What else can cause my receipts to be unverifiable?
Using a highlighter marker to color in your entry on the receipt on glossy paper receipts may cause the print to bleed and be unverifiable. Please just circle or mark those glossy paper receipts (e.g. Kroger) with a ball-point pen or fine-tip marker.
If you have additional questions not addressed here, email email@example.com.