Rebuild VA grant program ups max award to $100K; state creates scholarships for workforce training; Fairfax RISE update

Rebuild VA, a grant program to help small businesses and nonprofit organizations in Virginia affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, is expanding its eligibility criteria and increase the maximum grant award amount from $10,000 to $100,000.

The Rebuild VA program launched in August with $70 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Gov. Ralph Northam is directing an additional $30 million to support the expansion of the program. Businesses with less than $10 million in gross revenue or fewer than 250 employees will be eligible under the new criteria.

“We started Rebuild VA to help small businesses and nonprofit organizations navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Northam said. “These changes to the program will ensure that we can provide additional financial assistance to even more Virginians so they can weather this public health crisis and emerge stronger.”

Rebuild VA will now be open to all types of Virginia small businesses that meet size and other eligibility requirements, from restaurants and summer camps, to farmers and retail shops.

Businesses that previously received a Rebuild VA grant will receive a second award correlated with the updated guidelines.

“The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority applauds the Commonwealth of Virginia for increasing the Rebuild VA grant allocation so dramatically – a ten-fold increase in possible grants,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the FCEDA. “This kind of leadership can help many companies mitigate the dire financial challenges of the pandemic at this unprecedented time.”

Rebuild VA funding may be utilized for the following eligible expenses:

  • Payroll support, including paid sick, medical, or family leave, and costs related to the continuation of group health care benefits during those periods of leave;
  • Employee salaries;
  • Mortgage payments, rent, and utilities;
  • Principal and interest payments for any business loans from national or state-chartered banking, savings and loan institutions, or credit unions, that were incurred before or during the emergency; and,
  • Eligible personal protective equipment, cleaning and disinfecting materials, or other working capital needed to address COVID-19 response.

Rebuild VA is administered by the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity in partnership with the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. Eligible businesses and nonprofits must demonstrate that their normal operations were limited by Governor Northam’s Executive Orders Fifty-Three or Fifty-Five, or that they were directly impacted by the closure of such businesses. In September, the program expanded eligibility to supply chain partners of businesses whose normal operations were impacted by the pandemic.

Click here for additional information about Rebuild VA and how to submit an application.

Scholarships available for community-college workforce training

The state government is allocating $30 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars to help Virginians whose employment have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis to pursue workforce training in a high-demand field. The new Re-Employing Virginians (REV) initiative will provide scholarships to eligible individuals to enroll in a workforce or community college program in five essential industries: information technology, health care, skilled trades, public safety and early-childhood education.

Gov. Northam announced this ‘Re-Employing Virginians’ (REV) initiative to offer funding for training to unemployed Virginians, which then gives Virginia’s community colleges $27 million to help current and future students cover the costs of tuition and fees in fields that will lead to careers in their community. NOVA’s allocation from the new REV initiative is $5.8M; which will provide first-dollar tuition-only scholarships to eligible individuals who enroll in NOVA’s state-approved Fast Forward and G3 programs.

The REV initiative will provide one-time scholarships of $3,000 to register in a qualifying full-time workforce program and $1,500 to register part-time or in a short-term, noncredit training program. The Virginia Community College System (VCCS) and Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads Local Workforce Development Areas will administer the CARES Act funding for the REV initiative, with $27 million allocated to VCCS for statewide programs and $3 million for the two workforce areas.

“What REV means for Northern Virginia is someone potentially getting back into the workforce within a few short weeks on the path toward a new high-demand career,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the FCEDA. “We have more than 80,000 open jobs throughout Northern Virginia right now – even during the pandemic – and this initiative is another avenue toward connecting job-seekers with these companies so they can grow and succeed here.”

Interested individuals should visit the NOVA REV website, and current NOVA students should contact their advisors as soon as possible to apply before the December 14 enrollment deadline. Information about eligibility criteria and applying for a REV scholarship is available here.

“The unemployment rate in Northern Virginia has more than doubled during the pandemic, significantly impacting the financial future of residents,” “REV tuition vouchers help current and new NOVA students restart their careers and cross the finish line to complete workforce degrees or short-term credentials,” said Anne M. Kress, president of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). “We are grateful to Governor Northam and the state for this important investment.”

Fairfax RISE grants nearing $52 million to small businesses

In response to the economic downturn created by the pandemic, Fairfax County has awarded $51,950,000 via 4,754 grants through the Fairfax RISE COVID-19 Small Business and Nonprofit Relief Grant Fund. Now closed for applications, the program offered up to $58 million in grants to small businesses and nonprofits in Fairfax County. The grants do not have to be repaid.

Out of all the businesses and nonprofits awarded, as of October 17, 72 percent are minority-, women-, and/or veteran-owned: with 51 percent minority-owned; 42 percent women-owned; and 4 percent veteran-owned. Grant awardees spanned industry sectors including educational services, finance and insurance, and administrative and support.

The grant program established a minimum allocation of 30 percent of total funding toward awards for women-owned, minority-owned, and/or veteran-owned businesses. It is funded through an allocation of the Coronavirus Relief Funds provided through the federal CARES Act.

The county allocated grant funds to companies based on the number of their full-time-equivalent employees: $10,000 for businesses with one to 10 employees; $15,000 for businesses with 11 to 25 employees; $20,000 for businesses with 26 to 49 employees.

For a deep-dive into the data, check out the interactive Rise Dashboard. It has a detailed listing of all grantees, their award amounts and other grant-related information. Information can be filtered and sorted and will be updated weekly as the grants continue to be awarded.

November 5, 2020