COVID-19 Columbia County Relief Block Grant (Small Business/Tourism Grant Program)

Over the last few months, the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation (CSCF) has continued to strengthen our relationships with nonprofits across the region. Individuals, families, and businesses have come together and given generously to the Foundation's Disaster Relief Fund in response to heightened needs in our community as a result of the pandemic. Funding from individual donors, Foundation funds, and businesses helped the Foundation award $365,000 to 78 nonprofits across our region to support those impact by COVID-19. The Foundation has long played a role of channeling funds to the community in need in the wake of disasters and have become a trusted, frontline resource providing direct knowledge to our stakeholders.

In Columbia County, our Foundation has been active in efforts supporting the business and leadership sectors. The County Block Grant gives us the opportunity to extend this partnership by providing much needed technical assistance to process small business applications via our web-based grant management system. Review and allocation of available monies will be overseen by Harry Mathias. Funds will remain with the County Commissioners until disbursed to small businesses.

Grant applications must be completed and submitted through the Foundation's grant website. The deadline to apply is MONDAY, AUGUST 10, 2020 at 11:59pm, online. For questions about the online grant application, contact Christine Orlando, CSCF Senior Program Officer at [email protected] or 570-752-3930 ext. 2.

Preview the application here. Please note: This PDF is a sample of the application only. No paper applications will be accepted. All submissions must be made online.

Grant Application

About the Grant

It is the intent of the Columbia County Commissioner's Small Business/Tourism Grant to provide qualifying businesses a grant equal to five months of the business' fixed cost budget. A statutory clause states that "priority" is to be given to businesses that did not receive a loan or grant through the Federal Paycheck Protection Program or the Economic Disaster Loan Program. Therefore, those business' fixed cost calculation will be adjusted upward by 5%.

The County Commissioners have set aside a fund of $3,000,000 for this grant program. If sufficient funds are not available to fully fund the intended target, all qualifying businesses will receive a pro-rata share of the $3,000,000 set aside amount. No awarded grant will exceed $100,000. For purposes of this grant, "fixed cost" is defined as base costs involved in operating the business and will consist of:

  • Rental lease/mortgage payments
  • Property and liability insurance costs
  • Property taxes (if paid by the business)
  • Utilities to operate the business facility
  • Lost inventory due to the COVID-19 emergency


Who is eligible?

  • Any for-profit businesses or individuals doing business as businesses with base location in Columbia County, PA
  • One Owner per business may apply

Approval Requirements:

  • Must be in business by March 1, 2019 and still in business on July 1, 2020
  • Must intend to stay in business through at least July 1, 2021
  • Total employees less than 100 OR entity primarily engaged in the Tourism industry
  • Business must be based in Columbia County, PA
  • Net Profit in March 1 - June 30, 2020 window must be less than Net Profit in March 1 - June 30, 2019 window
  • Must not owe federal, state or local taxes
  • Must nto be subject to criminal justice process as per the question in the application

Required Documentation:

  • Most recently filed federal tax return
  • Entity documents including DBA or FBN certificate and proof of ownership
  • Business License (if sole proprietor)
  • Government Issued ID
  • Evidence of fixed costs including: mortgage/rent/lease payments, utility costs, license fees, property tax bills, property and liability insurance bills, attest to any inventory lost

Timeline of the Grant Process:

  • July 16: Commissioners approve the amount of funding, grant process and timeline
  • July 17: Grant application window opens. Communications via County Website, Foundation Website, Chamber of Commerce, BIDA, DRIVE, SBDC, Press-Enterprise, WHLM radio, Visitor's Bureau
  • August 10: Grant application window closes
  • August 10-18: Harry Mathias and team compiles data, determines qualifying businesses, determines 5-month fixed cost calculation or celing amount, calculates pro-rata share in applicable
  • August 20: Grant amounts recommended to Commissioners
  • August 21: Letters of approval sent out to qualifying businesses including grant amount and grant contract
  • Checks will be issued upon return of grant contracts to the County Commissioners Office


Applications for Nonprofits will be accepted at a later date.