OLYMPIA – Applications for the Working Washington Grants: Round 5 and new Convention Center Grants programs opened Aug. 17 and can be submitted through September 9. Together, these programs will distribute $75 million in pandemic relief grants to eligible small businesses and nonprofits across Washington.
The Department of Commerce manages the grants with support from the Washington State Arts Commission. Applications must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. Sept. 9 through commercegrants.com. The online portal is live now with guidelines and more to help applicants get ready to submit applications beginning Wednesday.
Included on the page are dates and times for virtual application information sessions and workshops scheduled throughout the month of August.
Over half of the Working Washington grants funding is set aside for the arts, heritage, and science sectors. The pandemic hit businesses and nonprofits in this sector – which includes live entertainment venues – particularly hard, as they were often the first to close and the last to re-open their doors. “Funding the creative economy is critical for the entire state,” said Karen Hanan, Executive Director of ArtsWA. “The creative economy drives innovation, attracts tourists, and enriches communities at every level. We’re proud to partner with Commerce to get this financial support out to businesses and nonprofits throughout Washington.”
The Convention Center Grant program supports businesses and nonprofits that rely – in full or in part – on conventions hosted in Washington for steady income. Like theatres and concert venues, many conventions were forced to cancel or go virtual after public health measures put limits on in-person gatherings. $5 million is available to help keep this sector of the economy strong during its recovery.
“The businesses and nonprofit organizations we’re focused on in these two programs strengthen their communities – they are important to the character and vitality of local economies throughout the state,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “An equitable economic recovery depends on continued support for all of our small businesses, but especially those farthest from opportunity.”
The Department of Commerce and ArtsWA are working hard to make sure this funding reaches Washington small businesses and nonprofits. To help this opportunity reach as many communities as possible, the application, guidelines, and technical support are available in multiple languages. Both agencies strongly encourage everyone who is eligible to apply.
“Washington small businesses and nonprofits: this is your money. If you lost revenue because of the pandemic, financial help is on the way,” said Hanan. “Get ready now and apply on August 17.”