Update Regarding CARES Act Funding for Nonprofits

September 11, 2020

Washington Nonprofits, working alongside our partners, has consistently urged elected leaders at the federal, state, and county levels to include nonprofits in COVID-19 relief and recovery planning and funding. Most recently, we sent a letter to all county commissioners and county executives in Washington encouraging them to include nonprofits in the distribution of $126 million recently allocated from the state.

Nonprofits across the Washington are suffering financially due to reduced revenues, closures, increased operating costs, and increased demand for services. Our state is investing federal CARES Act funding for COVID-19 relief in a number of different initiatives, summarized here. We write to provide updated information about funding that may be available to nonprofits via city and county governments. It is our hope you will find this information helpful.

We recognize that our information is incomplete.  You can help us by submitting any additional information you have on how CARES Act (or other COVID-19 relief funding) is being distributed in your county. Together, we can crowdsource the information we need.

We are here to help you access funding and shape how government funds are invested. Thank you for working with us to strengthen the entire nonprofit sector.

You can influence how funding is distributed. Consider using our Nonprofits: Vital to Recovery advocacy materials to educate your elected officials regarding the value of nonprofits.

State Funding

On June 30th, Governor Inslee announced the allocation of $20 million “to provide operating grants to support nonprofits working to address disparities and inequities exacerbated by increased need and decreased funding due to COVID-19, including a variety of community and youth development programs.” This funding is being administered by the Department of Commerce. We expect that approximately $9.3 million will be distributed to youth development nonprofits with assistance from Schools Out Washington via a grant round that will open by the end of September. Approximately $1.5 million will be distributed to arts and cultural organizations by the Washington State Arts Commission via a grant round that will also open within the next few weeks. The remainder will likely be distributed in partnership as well, but the process and eligibility criteria have not yet been determined. Washington Nonprofits will keep our members updated as soon as application guidelines are published for each of these funding opportunities.  Each grant round will have a tight deadline as the funds must be distributed before the end of 2020.

Local Government Funding

Washington cities and counties are receiving an additional $126 million in CARES Act funding, with discretion regarding how to invest the money for COVID-19 relief (in alignment with federal guidelines). In some cases, this money will be used to shore up local government budgets and pay for qualified public services. However, some counties and cities are using this funding for small business grants that may or may not include nonprofits, and others are running a grant round specifically for nonprofits. Some will also use the funding to contract with nonprofits for services. Here’s what we know right now about grant rounds that are happening. We will update this chart as we learn more in the coming weeks.

Rental Assistance Outreach Funds

The Washington State Department of Commerce is distributing approximately $100 million in rental assistance for individuals and families to Consolidated Homeless Grant (CHG) lead grantees and Office of Homeless Youth grantees. Commerce is requiring the CHG lead grantees to invest 5% of the funds they receive contracting for outreach with “by and for organizations” that have “a primary mission and history of serving a specific marginalized community, and are culturally based, directed, and substantially controlled by individuals from the specific marginalized population they serve…Marginalized communities may include ethnic and racial minorities; immigrants and refugees; individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender; individuals with disabilities or who are deaf; and Native Americans.” If your organization fits this definition and you are interested in funding for outreach, contact the CHG lead grantee in your area.

Also of Interest to Nonprofits

Creation of a $40 million Immigrant Relief Fund

Newsletter Sign Up

Receive our e-newsletter and emails filled with upcoming trainings and  networking events, and important policy updates.

Community Slack

Join NAWA's Community Slack to engage with other nonprofit leaders around Washington for peer-to-peer connection and learning.

Skip to content