TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.—Applications for the Tompkins Community Recovery Fund, totaling $6.5 million, are now available for eligible organizations, small businesses and government entities.

The Tompkins County Legislature announced the program Sept. 8, outlining grant guidelines and providing details about information sessions for individuals interested in the program. The first info session took place Sept. 14, and two more are scheduled for 10 a.m. on Sept. 23 in-person at the Tompkins County Public Library and one at noon on Sept. 28 on Zoom.

Applications are open now through Oct. 31, with a review deadline of Oct. 15 for individuals who may want a review prior to the final deadline. Eligible organizations include nonprofits, small businesses impacted in some way by the pandemic, healthcare providers, small education institutions and government entities.

The program utilizes funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to invest in communities that were most impacted by the pandemic, according to Tompkins County Administrator Lisa Holmes.

Organizations are able to apply for $10,000 or more to aid with projects or services that “enhance community resiliency moving forward,” according to the press release announcing the program.

Shawna Black, chair of the Tompkins County Legislature, said that the legislature “has heard loud and clear that the pandemic’s impacts on our local economy and organizations have been serious and ongoing for a few years now, this is our opportunity to support a more resilient and sustainable recovery for Tompkins County.”

Dan Klein, the legislator chairing the committee overseeing the fund, said that he hopes local businesses, nonprofits, small governments and healthcare providers consider applying for the fund to move forward with community recovery. He also said that the program is on track to announce the awards near the end of the year.

Applications will be scored on priorities that requests for funding align with, including what the intended transformative outcome is.

There are different categories of funding: $10,000 to $25,000; $25,001 to $250,000 and $250,001 or more. There is no maximum cap on what can be requested, and there is no average grant award amount known as this is a one-year program.

There will also be the ability to match funds, which may be from other federal or private grant programs or from the business/organization itself. While matching is not a requirement, projects that can leverage additional funding sources will be scored more favorably, Tracy Verrier, senior economic analyst, said at the Sept. 14 public info session.

Eligible organizations and entities will also need to show additional items like documentation of financial impacts from COVID and proposed timelines for eligible project. Projects also must be completed by 2026, though larger construction projects may have the opportunity to receive extensions on a case-by-case basis.

Though this program is currently planned for one year only, Verrier said that “if there are funds leftover at the end, or we want to make sure that we hit certain types of projects, there may be additional rounds in the future, but that’s not a guarantee at this point.”

Throughout the Zoom presentation, attendees had the opportunity to submit questions in the chat box, which Verrier will work to answer in a FAQ document that will be publicly available. A few questions were addressed at the end of the call, mostly on the topics of particular entities and whether or not they might be eligible to apply for funding.

Zoë Freer-Hessler

Zoë Freer-Hessler is a general assignment reporter for the Ithaca Voice. She has covered a wide range of topics since joining the news organization in November 2021. She can be reached at zhessler@ithacavoice.com...