Metro CARES | COVID-19 Recovery Grant Program

For Independent Live Music Venues & Small Businesses


Applications open at 10AM CDT  Wednesday October 14, 2020

Questions about the grant program can be submitted via email to CARES@pathwaylending.org.

Last Updated: 10:55am October 16, 2020

 

Bookmark your application at: https://pathwaylending-cares.smapply.io/prog/metro_cares_act_grants/

Metro CARES Act | Grant Application Guidance

Use the instructions found on this page to get acquainted with the process and learn about the requirements for submitting a complete application. Here are the steps your business should take before the grant application period opens:

DOWNLOAD THE APPLICATION GUIDE

  1. Bookmark this page and review the Metro CARES Act Grant Application Guide, eligibility criteria and FAQs.
  2. Confirm your business’s eligibility.
  3. Gather and prepare your required documents. Funding will be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis, so applicants who gather their documents early will be in the best position to complete the application when it’s available Wednesday morning.
  4. Consult your referring nonprofit organization if you need help with your application: as the grant administrator, Pathway Lending will share all inquiries and responses in the FAQ portion of its application site but will be unable to provide individual assistance.
  5. Direct questions to CARES@pathwaylending.org: we will respond directly, and we will post all questions and responses nightly on our application portal once it goes live.

Funds available to small businesses total $2 million with 30 percent reserved for minority-owned businesses and $600,000 for microbusinesses. Small businesses in Davidson County may qualify for grants up to $10,000, and microbusinesses for grants up to $5,000.

Funds available to live music venues total $2 million. Live music venues in Davidson County may qualify for grants up to two months of operating expenses, not to exceed $100,000.

Applications will close once Pathway Lending has fully committed the grants. Pathway Lending will process applications, make award decisions, and disburse funds promptly with plans to announce Metro CARES Act grant awards as soon as possible after the funds are committed and before the November 15 deadline to disburse funds.

Program FAQs

Can I provide a Statement of Income & Expenses (P&L) as proof of my expenses?

Statements of Income & Expenses (P&L) alone are insufficient as proof of expenses. Applicants must also provide supporting information to include:

This documentation may include invoices, receipts, billing notifications, bank records, lease agreements to support operating expenses incurred (or to be incurred) between September 3, 2020 and November 15, 2020.  If possible, these should be uploaded as a single scanned .pdf.  

  1. How do I document operating expenses?
    a. Provide a statement reflecting a repeated payment amount (such as rent or mortgage payment).
    b. Provide bank statements reflecting payment of the specific operating expense (utilities, rent, etc.).
    c. Provide a monthly bill reflecting expense amount.
  2. How do I document operating expenses which have not yet been incurred?
    a. For fixed payments of the same amount, provide statement reflecting payment amount or bank statement reflecting the specific payment and that amount will be understood to continue at the same amount.
    b. For variable payments, provide statements for the most recent 2-3 months to demonstrate an average payment amount which will be used to support an approved grant amount.

 

What do I do if I make an error on my application before submitting? Can I make changes?

The only thing you cannot edit after completing is the eligibility section – if you accidentally mark yourself as ineligible you will need to start a new application. Every other task can be reopened by clicking on the three dots in the upper right corner – you can select edit or reset.

My business showed slightly larger than $1 mm in revenues on our 2019 tax return, however with the business shutdown, we will be under $1 mm for 2020.   Does this mean we don’t qualify?  

Businesses may demonstrate gross receipts through supporting documentation of state or federal tax returns for the 12 months prior to the application.  Examples of returns may include monthly, quarterly or annual returns submitted to a federal or state taxing authority.

Is my business eligible to receive a grant?

Confirm your business’s eligibility: Prospective applicants can refer to the resolution for funding small and micro businesses (section 12, RS2020-516) or to the resolution for funding independent live music venues (section 4, Resolution RS2020-515), as appropriate, to determine if they meet requirements to apply.

Live Music Venues:

  • Eligible venues must be independent, Nashville-owned and primarily used for live music entertainment.
  • Eligible venues must require concert tickets, admissions, and/or cover charges for entry at least 50% of the time the facility is open to the public.
  • Eligible venues with other ancillary services, such as alcohol, food, or merchandise, must be subsidiary or dependent upon live music performances.
  • Eligible venues annual receipts for the twelve-month period ended February 29, 2020 cannot exceed five million dollars.
  • Eligible venues that have been convicted of a citation, warrant, or administrative penalty for violation of a Metro emergency COVID-19 public health order may be deemed by the Committee to be ineligible to receive funds.

Small & Micro Businesses:

  • Small business with annual gross receipts over $250,000.00 and a maximum of $1,000,000.00 may receive a grant not to exceed $10,000.00.
  • Microbusinesses with annual gross receipts over $35,000.00 and a maximum of $250,000.00 may receive a grant not to exceed $5,000.00.

General Eligibility Guidelines:

  • All applying businesses must be located in Davidson County, Tennessee.
  • All applying businesses must be in existence for 12 months prior to the date of application.
  • All applying businesses must be for profit entities.
  • All applying businesses must provide 2019 State or Federal Tax Returns to verify Annual Gross Receipts and Operating Expenses.
  • All applying businesses may not receive other Metro CARES Act grant funding for these expenses.
  • All applying businesses may not be owned by a full-time Metro Nashville employee.

Other grant eligibility criteria may apply. Submission of application does not guarantee receipt of grant funds.

Can you help me complete my application?

Consult your referring nonprofit organization if you need help with your application: as the grant administrator, Pathway Lending will share all inquiries and responses in the FAQ portion of its application site but will be unable to provide individual coaching or assistance.

OTHER BUSINESS SUPPORT PROVIDERS:

  • Conexión Américas for technical support and grants for small businesses.
  • Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce for small business technical support.
  • Nashville Entrepreneur Center for small business technical support.
  • Nashville Business Incubation Center for small business technical support.

Direct questions to CARES@pathwaylending.org: we will respond directly, and we will post all questions and responses nightly on our application portal once it goes live.

When will the grant funds be available?

Pathway Lending is working to finalize the agreement with Metro Nashville and receive funds. We will provide updates on our website as information is available.

<Update 10/8/2020> On October 6, 2020 Metro Nashville Council approved resolutions RS2020-547 and RS2020-548, which were required to finalize the Live Music Venue and Small Business grant processes. With these resolutions, Pathway Lending has finalized its contract with Metro Nashville and expects to open the grant application period on Wednesday October 14, 2020.

 

More information on the application process and timeline will be made available on Monday, October 12, 2020.

How much of a grant am I eligible to receive?

LIVE MUSIC VENUES

Live music venues are eligible to receive a grant not to exceed of $100,000.00 per recipient. Grants from this pool (RS2020-515) are intended to provide a maximum of two months of current operating expenses, excluding payroll and contract labor costs. Documentation for these expenses is required.

 

SMALL & MICROBUSINESSES

Small businesses are eligible to receive a grant not to exceed $10,000 per recipient. Microbusinesses are eligible to receive a grant not to exceed $5,000 per recipient. Grants from this pool (RS2020-516) are intended to support businesses who have been substantially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic continue operations and support employment.  Documentation for these expenses is required.

What if my grant award is less than I requested in the Expense Workbook?

Metro CARES Act grants are not set at a specific amount. Documentation must be provided for each allowable expense incurred during the Covered Period of September 3, 2020 through November 15, 2020. Pathway Lending will review these receipts as part of the grant review and award process. No remediation will be offered for expenses determined to be unallowable.

Does my application guarantee I will receive a grant?

Submission of an application does not guarantee funding. Pathway Lending anticipates strong demand for these grant funds. Complete your application early for the best chance to receive funding. Grants will be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis, based on the time submitted, basic eligibility verification and completed documentation.

How can the grants be used? General Guidance on Operating Expenses.

Grants may be used to cover allowable current operating expenses that were incurred during the covered period begins on September 3, 2020 and ends on November 15, 2020 (the “covered period”). Performance of the services or delivery of the goods must occur during the covered period.

 

The grant may be used for goods or services such as rent, lease payments, utility expenses, office supplies, or other current operating expenses.  In the case of Small & Microbusiness Grants, payroll expenses are allowable.  For Live Music Venues, payroll is NOT eligible. 

 

What is an operating expense?

Any indirect overhead expense necessary to the operation of your business and is not directly involved in the production of the business’ products. Examples of operating expenses include (but are not limited to) property rent or mortgage payments, equipment rent, support staff and management payroll, utilities, supplies, insurance, etc).

Is payroll considered an operating expense?

Yes, support staff and management payroll are considered an operating expense.  In the case of Small & Microbusiness Grants, payroll expenses are eligible costs.  For Live Music Venues, payroll is NOT eligible.

What does the grant pay for? General Guidance on Reimbursable Expenses

  1. What is the covered period for reimbursable expenses?
    a. Reimbursed operating expense must occur between Sept 3 – Nov 15, 2020
  2. How do I document operating expenses?
    a. Provide a statement reflecting a repeated payment amount (such as rent or mortgage payment).
    b. Provide bank statements reflecting payment of the specific operating expense (utilities, rent, etc.).
    c. Provide a monthly bill reflecting expense amount.
  3. How do I document operating expenses which have not yet been incurred?
    a. For fixed payments of the same amount, provide statement reflecting payment amount or bank statement reflecting the specific payment and that amount will be understood to continue at the same amount.
    b. For variable payments, provide statements for the most recent 2-3 months to demonstrate an average payment amount which will be used to support an approved grant amount.
  4. If an expense payment is paid during the program period (9/3/20-11/15/20) but covers an expense period longer than the two months of the program period, will the whole amount of the payment be supported by the grant?
    a. Only the pro rata portion of the expense payment can be supported by the grant. For instance, if a $6,000 insurance premium occurs during the program period but covers a six-month period (equal to $1,000 monthly), only $2,000 would be supported by the grant.
  5. What if I have a Purchase Order for goods and plan to pay it by Nov 15, is that acceptable?
    a. Yes, this is allowed.
  6. What if I have a Purchase Order for goods I’ll receive during the reimbursement period, but the invoice will not be due until after Nov 15?
    a. If the goods have been received and the invoice has been received during the period, it is sufficient documentation.
  7. I only have a cell phone for my business. Can I get reimbursed for this expense?
    a. Yes, cell phone expenses may be included.
  8. My landlord is charging me for additional CAM charges, are these expenses allowed?
    a. Yes, these expenses are allowed.
  9. I’ve had to hire a cleaning service to sanitize the business, is this allowed?
    a. Yes, this is allowed.
  10. I bought PPE on Amazon, what can I submit to show this expense?
    a. Provide a receipt of payment for the expense such as a credit card receipt or receipt generated by Amazon.
  11. Can I take a picture of an invoice with my phone and submit it?
    a. Documentation for expenses must be provided in a .pdf. A pdf scan can be created with your phone: Here’s a quick 2 ½ minute tutorial on how to create a single pdf with you iPhone using Notes

Can Metro CARES Act funded Small Business Grants cover payroll expenses for employees (or owner’s compensation)?

Yes, Small Business Grant (not LMV Grant) funds may be used to cover eligible payroll expenses

If your business received a Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) Loan or other federal funding, you may not use funding from the Metro CARES Grant program to also cover that same payroll.

What can be included in payroll costs?

  1. Salaries, tips, and commissions,
  2. Owner’s draw if you are self-employed
  3. State and local employer payroll taxes
  4. Health insurance premiums
  5. Employee retirement plans

What documentation is required to support payroll these expenses?

  1. Documentation, including cancelled checks, payment receipts, transcripts of accounts, or other documents verifying payments
  2. Payroll tax filings reported to the Internal Revenue Service

State income, payroll, and unemployment tax filings

What is the definition of a minority-owned business?

In accordance with the Equity Alliance’s Our Fair Share report, a minimum of 30% of the total $2,000,000 small business grant fund is to be distributed to minority-owned businesses (Resolution RS2020-516, Sec 12, 5). The following definitions apply to this program:

Minority: “Minority” means a person who is a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States and who is:

  • African American: A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa.
  • Hispanic American: A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.
  • Native American: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America.
  • Asian American: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, or the Pacific Islands.

Minority Owned Business: A minority owned business that is a continuing, independent, for profit business which performs a commercially useful function, and is at least fifty-one percent (51%) owned and controlled by one (1) or more minority individuals who are impeded from normal entry into the economic mainstream because of past practices of discrimination based on race or ethnic background.

What is the difference between a Small Business & a Microbusiness?

In accordance with the Resolution (RS2020-516, Sec 12, 5), $600,000.00 of the total $2,000,000 small business grant fund is set aside for microbusinesses.

For the purposes of this grant, microbusinesses are defined by annual gross receipts as evidenced by FY 2019 tax returns.

 

  • Microbusinesses must have annual gross receipts of $35,000.00 to $250,000.00 as evidenced by FY2019 tax returns.
  • Small businesses must have annual gross receipts of $250,000.00 to $1,000,000.00 as evidenced by FY 2019 tax returns.

What is the definition for Live Music Venues?

Eligible grant recipients shall be limited to live music venues operating in Davidson County, TN that meet the following criteria:

  • Must be located in Nashville (Davidson County, TN) and primarily used for live music entertainment.
  • Must require concert tickets, admissions, and/or cover charges for entry at least 50% of the time the facility is open to the public.
  • Venues with other ancillary services, such as alcohol, food, or merchandise, must be subsidiary or dependent upon live music performances.
  • Venues annual receipts for the twelve-month period ended February 29, 2020 cannot exceed $5,000,000.
  • Venues that have been convicted of a citation, warrant, or administrative penalty for violation of a Metro emergency COVID-19 public health order may be deemed by the Committee to be ineligible to receive funds.

How do I show proof of existence for my business? 

Acceptable Proof of Existence is required to verify your business’ eligibility to receive funding through the Metro CARES Act grants administered by Pathway Lending. In reviewing a business’ Proof of Existence, Pathway Lending will verify:

  • The business is located in Davidson County, TN
  • The business has been in existence for 12 months from the date of application

REMEMBER: Make sure the document shows your business name and address. Documents that do not contain this information will not be accepted.

 

Applicants can choose 1 FROM ANY OF the following documents to show proof of existence:

  • Business Entity Detail from the TN Secretary of State website
  • Current utility bill including landline telephone, electric, water, gas, cable, etc. (Wireless telephone bills cannot be accepted)
  • Business banking statement (Checks and checkbook information are not acceptable)
  • Rental/Mortgage contract or receipt including deed of sale for property.
  • Property insurance policy
  • Receipt for real estate or sales taxes paid
  • Schedule C from a 2019 personal tax return

How do I document my business’ 2019 revenue?

Provide a 2019 federal income tax return, a 2019 state income tax return. A company-prepared 2019 statement of revenue and expenses or hand-written statement may not be accepted.

What if I submit an application using the wrong grant type?

Pathway Lending will review supporting documentation against the type of grant chosen in the Eligibility Review. If your business falls outside of the eligibility guidelines for that type of Grant (Live Music, Small Business, Microbusiness) your application will be declined, and you will be removed from your place in line for funding.  Business owners may re-enter the queue and submit a new application following an unsuccessful attempt.

What is the Covered Period?

The covered period is September 3, 2020 and ends on November 15, 2020 for current operating expenses that are incurred by the business.

How much operating expense can be funded by the grant for Live Music Venues?

For Live Music Venues, the grant is intended to fund operating expenses occurred during the two-month period 9/3/20-11/4/20 up to $100,000.

What happens if there is an error on my application?

Applicants are encouraged to use the REVIEW button to verify their answers and uploads before submitting the application. Once an application is submitted, information cannot be changed. Once submitted, Pathway Lending will review your application for basic eligibility, check your supporting documentation, and verify your business meets the requirements outlined by Metro Nashville (Resolution RS2020-515, RS2020-516).

 

Do I get an opportunity to correct mistakes or upload additional items after I have submitted?

Limited circumstances allow for remediation of submission errors and only a limited timeframe is allowed.

 Pathway Lending will only consider remediation for application errors when:

  • Proof of Existence does not show the business was operating in Davidson County, TN at least 12 months prior to the application and cannot be verified through the TN Secretary of State’s website.
  • Tax or Financial documents are from a period other than FY 2019 (or a period ending December 31, 2019).
  • W-9 is not signed.
  • Documentation is not legible due to poor quality of image

If your application is otherwise ineligible or incomplete, it will not undergo review and it will not be considered for funding.

 

How will I know if I need to resubmit information?

Requests for remediation will be sent via email from CARES@pathwaylending.org.

Applicants will have 24 hours from this notice of remediation to respond to the request and must submit correct documentation no later than 5:00 PM CST the following day.

Non-responsive applicants will be removed from the application queue and NOT undergo further consideration.

Are there any repayment requirements associated with this program?

There is no repayment requirement associated with this program. Through this grant, your business can be reimbursed for operating expenses incurred between September 3, 2020 and November 15, 2020. Applicants must provide documentation of the expenses as part of the grant application.

How will grant funds be distributed?

Grants will be distributed by ACH, Automated Clearing House, a U.S. financial network used for electronic payments and money transfers. ACH payment allows your business to receive funding in your bank account shortly after the grant is approved. That means no checks, no waiting on the mail to arrive, and no lag time between when you receive funds and when they can be put to work.

Eligible applicants must have a valid U.S. business banking account (checking or savings) into which the grant funds can be electronically deposited.

The application requires a valid bank account and 9-digit routing number.

If I own more than one business, can I apply for more than one grant?

Yes, as long as all other eligibility requirements are met.

If I received a PPP or EIDL loan can my business still qualify for the program?

Yes.  However, if your business received an EIDL, Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) Loan or other federal funding, you may not use funding from the Metro CARES Grant program to also cover that same payroll or expense.

If I received other grant funding from Metro Nashville will my business qualify for the program?

No. All applying businesses may not receive other Metro CARES Act grant funding for these expenses.

How old does my business have to be to qualify? 

All applying businesses must be in existence for 12 months prior to the date of application.

If I am a local franchiser will my business qualify?

Yes, as long as all other eligibility requirements are met.

May I submit a new application following an unsuccessful application?

Yes.  However, if grant funds are no longer available, applications will not be reviewed further.

I have three businesses in the Metro area. All have annual sales of around $1.5M each. Are we eligible for these grant funds? Is it based on yearly tax returns?

If the business does not meet the definition of a Live Music Venue, then the business is ineligible if gross receipts exceed $1,000,000.  The revenue is based on a 2019 federal income tax return or a 2019 state income tax return. A company-prepared 2019 statement of revenue and expenses or a hand-written statement may not be accepted.

I am a sole proprietor and am not sure that I have the proper paperwork for Proof of Existence for my business. I do not work under a business name. My clients pay me and use my Social Security number for tax purposes. So, I do not have business entity details from the State, I don’t have a business bank account or any other documents with a business name. Does this take me out of the running for the grant?

<List Amended 10/13/2020 to include Schedule c from 2019 Personal Tax Return.

Applicants can choose 1 FROM ANY OF the following documents to show proof of existence:

  • Schedule C – from a 2019 personal federal tax return
  • Business Entity Detail from the TN Secretary of State website
  • Current utility bill including landline telephone, electric, water, gas, cable, etc. (Wireless telephone bills cannot be accepted)
  • Business banking statement (Checks and checkbook information are not acceptable)
  • Rental/Mortgage contract or receipt including deed of sale for property.
  • Property insurance policy
  • Receipt for real estate or sales taxes paid

We opened in late 2019, so our 2019 tax return gross receipts qualify for the Microbusiness grant.  But my annual receipts from my state sales tax returns (from my 12 months ended 9/30/2020) qualify for the Small Business Grant. On the application, is there a place to put in annual receipts in the instance a business was open in 2019?

All small businesses that receive grant funding must be in existence in Davidson County for 12 months prior to the date of application. Small business with annual gross receipts over $250,000.00 and a maximum of $1,000,000.00 may receive a grant not to exceed $10,000.00 as evidenced by 2019 federal or state returns.

In this example, sales tax returns for the period (9/30/2019 to 9/30/2020) are considered eligible documentation.

This supplemental information should be attached at the front of your FY 2019 State or Federal Tax Return and submitted as a single attachment.

What if we have multiple locations. Only one is located in Davidson County but both are included on the same tax return? Would we qualify based on that location? Or would it still be based on Gross Sales for both locations based on the tax return.

All small businesses that receive grant funding must be in existence in Davidson County for 12 months prior to the date of application.  Only operating expenses occurring in Davidson County operations may be considered.  Supplemental information to support specific gross receipts for a Davidson County location will be considered.

This supplemental information should be attached at the front of your FY 2019 State or Federal Tax Return and submitted as a single attachment.

If you have not filed your tax return for 2019 as of yet can your 2018 work instead to qualify for the grant?

All small businesses that receive grant funding must be in existence in Davidson County for 12 months prior to the date of application. Annual gross receipts must be evidenced by 2019 federal or state returns.

Any 2019 state or federal tax return is eligible documentation, including sales tax returns.

How do I document future expenses?

Examples of eligible operating expenses include (but are not limited to) property rent or mortgage payments, equipment rent, support staff and management payroll, owner’s compensation, repairs, utilities, supplies, insurance, etc.  We realize individual businesses may have unique operating expenses.

To document an operating expense, you may provide receipts; a statement reflecting a repeated payment amount (such as rent or mortgage payment); bank statements reflecting payment of the specific operating expense (utilities, rent, etc.);  a monthly bill reflecting expense amount; or any other third party documentation.

To document future operating expenses for the period the applicant may submit the following:

  1. For fixed payments of the same amount, provide a statement reflecting payment amount or bank statement reflecting the specific payment and that amount will be understood to continue at the same amount.
  2. For variable payments, provide statements for the most recent 2-3 months to demonstrate an average payment amount which will be used to support an approved grant amount.

Will there be consideration for women-owned businesses?

The Metro CARES Act COVID 19 Recovery Grant Program was established by Resolutions (RS2020-515 and RS2020-516) passed by the Metropolitan Council.  In the requirements set forth by the Resolutions, no special consideration was provided for women-owned companies.

If I have a loan with Pathway, do I still have to apply for a grant, or will Pathway use my existing information to provide the grant?

Pathway Lending clients meeting the eligibility requirements for the Metro CARES Covid-19 Recovery Grant Program are eligible to apply.  Pathway Lending will not use your existing information.  Interested businesses must follow the Grant Application Guidance and submit a full application.