Maine Governor Janet Mills recently launched the Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program, backed by $200 million in federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds. The program is designed to provide short-term financial relief for Maine’s small businesses and nonprofit organizations that incurred business disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The deadline to apply for a grant is September 9, 2020, and awards will be made in early October. The grants will not be distributed on a first-come, first served basis, and the amount awarded will be based on demonstrated need as a prorated percentage of the total cost of business interruption reported by qualified applicants. The grant application can be found here.

To be eligible for a grant, a small business or nonprofit organization must demonstrate a need for financial relief based on losses as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and related public health response. These expenses include but are not limited to:

  • Payroll costs and expenses
  • Rent or mortgage payments for business facilities
  • Utilities payments
  • Necessary operating expenses
  • Expenses incurred to replenish inventory or other necessary reopening expenses
  • Purchase of personal protective equipment required by the business or business-related equipment

Examples of unallowable expenses include but are not limited to:

  • Depreciation
  • Entertainment
  • Lobbying
  • Goods and services for professional use
  • Fines, penalties, damages, and other settlements

To qualify for a Maine Economic Recovery Grant, the business or organization must:

  1. Demonstrate a need for financial relief based on lost revenues minus expenses incurred since March 1, 2020 due to COVID-19 impacts or related public health response.
  2. Demonstrate an expected 20% loss in revenue minus expenses for 2020.
  3. Be a for-profit business or nonprofit organization, except the following do not qualify:
    • Professional Services (except for Professional Services with NAIC codes starting in 5414, 5418, and 5419)
    • 501(c)(4)
    • 501(c)(6)
    • K-12 schools, including charter, public, and private
    • Trade associations
    • Credit unions
    • Insurance trusts
    • Hospitals, nursing facilities, institutions of higher education, and child care organizations
  4. Have significant operations in Maine, meaning it is headquartered in the state or has a minimum of half its employees in Maine.
  5. Employ less than a combined total of 50 employees and contract employees.
  6. Have been in operation for at least one year before August 1, 2020, not currently be in bankruptcy, and not permanently have ceased operations.
  7. Be current and in good standing with all Maine state payroll taxes, sales taxes, and state income taxes through July 31 2020 and be in good standing with the Maine Department of Labor.
  8. Be in consistent compliance and not subject to any enforcement action with COVID-19 Prevention Checklist requirements.

The funds must be spent on operations that are strictly within Maine. Additionally, recipients are liable for any misuse of funds, and the grants are subject to audit.