The Administration announced new funding to implement the recommendations of the Food Security Task Force. The Task Force was convened by the Massachusetts COVID-19 Command Center in response to increased demands for food assistance. The Administration opened applications for the new $36 million Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program to ensure that individuals and families throughout the Commonwealth have access to fresh, local food. The Request for Responses for project proposals is available here with details on eligible businesses and entities. The Administration also released a Notice of Opportunity to onboard new agricultural vendors for the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP), which will allow the Administration to leverage federal SNAP funding and $5 million in new state funding for the program. See the Notice for eligibility requirements for local produce vendors and CSA programs to process HIP.


The Massachusetts Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Barr Foundation, is offering a $5M funding program called Shared Streets & Spaces. This program will provide technical and funding assistance to help Massachusetts cities and towns design and execute shared streets and spaces projects, and engage their residents and businesses. Municipalities will be able to apply for grants from $5,000 to $300,000 to quickly launch or expand improvements to sidewalks, curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces, and off-street parking lots. Applications will be accepted from June 22nd to September 29th. These funds will be disbursed quickly so projects can be operationalized this summer and autumn. I’d recommend you bring this opportunity to the attention of your local officials.


As Bob mentioned on the call, SBA has launched a series of webinars and technical assistance sessions for minority entrepreneurs and business owners. The town hall session for black business owners is tonight (6/16); a town hall for Latino business owners is tomorrow (6/17); and a town hall session for AAPI entrepreneurs will be held Thursday (6/18). Please note: small businesses should apply for PPP as soon as possible and prior to June 30th to allow the lender time to get SBA approval/a loan number before the deadline at the end of the month. SBA also announced yesterday that it has reopened the portal and is again accepting applications for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and EIDL Advance. Businesses can submit applications here. Finally, SBA and Treasury released revised guidance documenting recent changes to the PPP program outlined in the PPP Flexibility Act. As a reminder, the loan forgiveness application is available here; businesses have up to 10 months following the “covered period” of their loan to submit their loan forgiveness form.


As Georgianna shared on Friday, MSBDCs offer many resources for small businesses and, in particular, for small businesses navigating COVID-19. You can read more about available programs and services here.


The Main Street Lending Program is another CARES Act loan program available for small- to medium-sized businesses. This program will be implemented by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and will allow businesses to access loan capital with deferred payments. This program is just ramping up and has opened up registration for lenders via an online portal this week. When the program opens applications, eligible businesses will access this loan program through participating lenders. Businesses must have 15,000 or fewer employers and under $5B in 2019 revenue; businesses that receive a loan must also make an effort to maintain payroll.  Read more about eligibility, program structure, and access on the Program Overview for Borrowers page.