By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Gov. Mark Gordon is allocating remaining CARES Act funds to help Wyoming businesses and nonprofits with ongoing coronavirus-related losses and expenses.
The Wyoming Business Council is finalizing two new funds for the COVID-19 Business Relief Program: the Agriculture Fund and the Endurance Fund. Applications for both funds will be accepted from Nov. 2 through Nov. 18.
“The effects of COVID-19 haven’t disappeared from our communities and businesses,” Gordon said. “There are impacts still being felt by business owners, nonprofit organizations, and agriculture producers.
“Right from the start we worked with the Legislature to pace our programs so that they would reach each sector as the needs became clear,” he continued. “The Business Council will distribute these federal funds where they’re needed to help continue our economic recovery.”
The Agriculture Fund has $90 million reserved to support Wyoming farmers and ranchers who have experienced business interruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic. Awards up to $250,000 are available for Wyoming agricultural producers who were established on or before March 13.
The Endurance Fund will have at least $24 million set aside for businesses and nonprofits to cover COVID-19 related losses and expenses. Money available in this fund may increase as unused CARES Act dollars from other programs may be diverted into it.
Awards up to $250,000 will be available for all affected Wyoming businesses. Eligible nonprofits in Wyoming include 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6), 501(c)(12) and 501(c)(19) with no more than 50% of time spent on lobbying.
“These two funds serve important purposes as we near the deadline of the current CARES Act funding,” Business Council CEO Josh Dorrell said. “First, because of the seasonality of agriculture production, this $90 million relief fund allows farmers and ranchers to better capture 2020 losses and expenses related to the pandemic.”
“Second, many Wyoming businesses and nonprofits are not out of the woods yet, and this opportunity for another round of funding will help with the losses businesses have continued to endure.”
Eligible entities may apply once for money from the funds. Recipients of previous Business Relief Program awards (Interruption, Relief and Mitigation funds) may apply if they have had eligible losses or expenses since their previous application dates.
In May, the Wyoming Legislature created three programs to distribute $325 million in federal CARES Act funding to Wyoming businesses and nonprofits that have experienced hardship related to the coronavirus crisis.