Dear Friends and Partners,
Almost as anticipated as the return of Games of Thrones, The Merchants Fund’s 2019 grant cycle will open next month! The new application will be available on Monday, May 20th and all applications will be due by midnight on Sunday, June 30th.
First, a word of gratitude to all of our referring partners and former grantees who have assisted in our strategic work over the past year and helped to shape our new application.
Second, additional gratitude to all of you who have so patiently waited for us to get to this point. We know that the opportunity to receive a Stabilization Grant from TMF is important to your business and it’s important to us well – it’s the reason we’re here.
The Merchants Fund remains committed to providing for the economic needs of Philadelphia’s small business community with modest grants. Business Stabilization Grants, ranging from $500 to $10,000, are available to help small businesses remain stable and viable in the face of economic challenges, changes, opportunities, and crisis. Grants are competitive and there is no guarantee of funding. For more about eligibility and details of the grant process, please visit our website.
Finally, here are some things you should know and that will help you plan for the opening of the grant cycle on Monday, May 20th.
Based on input from our referring partners, sponsoring agencies, and past grantees, the TMF Board of Managers has identified the following funding priorities for 2019. TMF seeks to:
- fund businesses that are a necessity for their community and add to the quality of life in the community they serve.
- make grants that will have a demonstrable impact. For example, the grant will help a merchant overcome a specific challenge and stabilize their business; the grant will help a merchant take advantage of an opportunity to grow their business; the grant will benefit – or help to contribute to – the stabilization of a struggling neighborhood or corridor.
- fund businesses where the merchant is actively involved in their business and adds to their community in a positive way.
- fund businesses that have demonstrated a financial need and would not be able to secure funding elsewhere.
Further, TMF has dedicated a pool of funds for a place-based funding initiative in Lower North Philly. Businesses located in the following zip codes, particularly those owned by people of color, are encouraged to apply: 19121,19122, 19132, 19133. All other eligibility requirements must still be met.
Our application process will be online beginning May 20th. You’ll be asked to create a login and password, then directed to take the Eligibility Quiz to determine if your business is eligible for a grant. If you are eligible, you’ll be directed to the full application.
NEW THIS YEAR: In addition to questions about the business and the project to be funded, if the business was referred to TMF by one of our partners (i.e. a CDFI, CDC, SBDC, or other provider of business technical assistance) or the merchant is working with a sponsoring agency they’ll be asked to provide contact information so that the sponsor/nominee can also provide a brief recommendation. These organizations are also available to assist business owners in completing the online application, to provide translation services (if needed), and to upload the required documents to the online system.
All online applications* will be due by midnight on Sunday, June 30th.
* To improve grant tracking and communication, there is a strong preference to have all applications completed online. A PDF of the application will be available for downloading so that it can be referred to to see what is required. We are committed to open access so if completing the application online is not possible, we will accept paper applications. Paper applications and all additional application materials must be postmarked by Saturday, June 29th.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received. If the proposed project is compelling and fits TMF’s funding priorities, the business owner will be contacted to schedule a site visit. A site visit is an opportunity for TMF staff to learn more about the merchant and the business, as well as the proposed project for which funding is being sought.
Application Available: Monday, May 20th
Application due date: Sunday, June 30th (online) or postmarked by Saturday, June 29th (paper)
Site visits: June-August
Notification of grant decisions: September
Disbursement of grant funds will begin immediately after grant decisions are made. All projects must be completed, and funds disbursed, by November 1st.
ALERT: THIS WILL BE THE ONLY GRANT CYCLE IN 2019.
Please forward this email to your clients, colleagues, business owners, community partners, etc. If you would like to join the list serve, send an email with the subject line “join the list serve” and include your contact information to email@example.com.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215.399.1339 if you have any questions.
Jill C. Fink
Interim Executive Director
The Merchants Fund