Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors 2021

The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors: (from left) David Goldemberg, Jaron Brandon, Kathleen Haff, Ryan Campbell, and Anaiah Kirk.

Nonprofit organizations and community groups that primarily serve Tuolumne County residents can begin applying for grants through a new $500,000 program funded by money from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

The so-called Community Grant Program was established by the county Board of Supervisors in partnership with the Sonora Area Foundation using some of the $10.6 million the county received from the $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by Congress and President Joe Biden in March.

"This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the county to support our best and brightest in making our community a better place to live," said County Supervisor Ryan Campbell, who serves as board chairman this year. "We are challenging groups and individuals to bring their ideas to life through these grants for the benefit of all."

County officials announced in a news release on Monday that organizations and groups can now submit applications until 5 p.m. Dec. 20 for 20 grants of up to $20,000 each or two grants of up to $50,000 each for projects that meet the eligibility requirements.

There are three categories of eligible projects listed and include those that:

• respond to a negative impact from COVID-19, such as fundraising and other revenue losses caused by the pandemic after March 3;

• provide services to communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, such as health or educational disparities, or promoting health childhood environments;

• enhance government services, such as improving public safety or other services that benefit the community.

The application for the competitive grants asks for a description of the group or organization that’s applying, including its formation, structure and mission, in order to ensure they meet the eligibility criteria.

Those applying will also be asked to provide a narrative that ties the proposed project to one of the three eligible categories.

Funding will generally be distributed on a reimbursement basis, with each group or organization required to submit documentation showing the expenses have been paid under the approved project.

Advanced funding may also be offered on a case-by-case basis to groups or organizations that have a limited amount of cash on hand, the news release said.

Projects must be completed by June 30, though extensions may also be granted on a case-by-case basis.

Many nonprofit organizations throughout the county reported losses as a result of being able to host in-person fundraisers and other events that typically generated large portions of their annual revenue because of stay-at-home orders and other pandemic-related restrictions.

The county Board of Supervisors approved the program for funding through the annual budget process in September, along with another recently launched program to provide economic stimulus cards aimed at boosting local businesses by providing customers with additional spending money.

More information on the Community Grant Program can be found online at www.tuolumnecounty.ca.gov/1416/Tuolumne-County-Community-Grant.

Hard copies of the grant instructions and application are also available to pick up from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, at the County Administrator’s Office on the fourth floor of the County Administration Center at 2 S. Green St. in Sonora.

For any questions about the grant program, contact the County Administrator’s Office by email at jterry@co.tuolumne.ca.us or (209) 533-5511.

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