SWEETWATER COUNTY — The Sweetwater County Commissioners unanimously voted 3-0 to approve 16 Community Charitable Relief Program Grant agreements during their meeting Tuesday morning.
Commissioners Jeff Smith and Lauren Schoenfeld were absent from the meeting, while Chairman Randy Wendling, and Commissioners Roy Lloyd and Mary Thoman voted to approve the agreements.
Of the agreements, 15 separate organizations will be reimbursed for lost revenue experienced during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, totaling over $736,800. United Way of Southwest Wyoming applied for both rounds of funding for different revenue losses, bringing the number of grant agreements to 16.
The Charitable Organization Relief Program is a Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funded program being provided to charitable and non-profit organizations that have been impacted by the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.
The Commissioners previously approved two separate rounds of funding, the first on January 15 and the second February 16. Those requests then went through another review process to determine for certain which of the organizations qualified for grant reimbursement.
The following requests have successfully passed review and have been fulfilled, with adjusted amounts to fit grant rules. Krisena Marchal, Sweetwater County Grants Manager, said that these funds are subject to an audit, so they had to be very careful and precise with ensuring the requests were following the grant rules set out by the state.
Due to the reimbursements coming from state CARES Act funding, Marchal said the funds must go to very specific areas. These funds cannot go towards any use that is not specified in the grant, meaning they are designated for revenue losses for qualifying charitable programs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Charitable organizations are defined in the grant rules as non-profit organizations, including churches, which qualifies as tax exempt of the internal revenue code and which provided goods, services, or payments to the public during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Furthermore, the organization had to have a loss of revenue in addition to providing some type of good, service, or payment.
The loss of revenue also had to take place between March 19, 2020, and December 30, 2020, compared to between March 19, 2019, and December 30, 2019. The funding requests had to adhere to all these rules, not just pieces.
“You can’t have just lost revenue, for example, and be a non-profit. You had to have provided some type of goods, services, or payments at least partially during the pandemic,” Marchal said.
Marchal said there were four entities that did not receive funding due to their requests not fitting the specified grant rules. She said it’s not about net income, but rather lost revenue. Some organizations received a lot of community support amid the pandemic that ultimately excluded them from funding.
“If your profit loss statement for revenue showed an increase from 2019 to 2020, that excluded them. And that was the case for a couple of them,” she said.
She said that lost revenue had to be calculated using a specific formula as well, in which the qualifying gross loss to donation revenue had to be subtracted by any state or federal loans or grants, business stipend programs and funds, relief program funds, or mitigation program funds issued as COVID-19 related relief.