The money will be in the form of grants of no more than $10,000 and interest-free loans of no more than $50,000. In a recommendation by the Marin County Community Development Agency, 53% of the funding will be targeted for businesses in or near San Rafael, 27% to those in or near Novato, and 20% for the rest of the county. Businesses will be selected by a lottery because of the expected high demand for assistance.
The Marin County Board of Supervisors approved the staff proposal January 12. The County’s partner on the funding distribution is the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), established in San Francisco in 1973. MEDA serves historically under-resourced families throughout the Bay Area, especially those among the Latinx population, by promoting economic equity and social justice. MEDA will use federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to create a new Marin County Small Business Fund worth more than $900,000.
In December, the Board approved $1,790,994 in CDBG funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. A quarter of that, $447,749, was set aside for microenterprise and small business financial assistance. The funding does not affect the County’s General Fund.
The Marin CDA, which administers CDBG funding locally, is targeting small businesses with low-income owners and/or businesses with 50% or more employees being low-income. For this program in Marin, low income is defined as an employee earning less than $97,600.
To comply with the CARES Act requirement to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, this assistance is targeting businesses that are either located in communities most impacted by COVID-19 and/or businesses that have a majority of employees that live in communities most impacted by the pandemic. In Marin, that means the resources will be focused toward supporting the heavily hit Canal neighborhood of San Rafael, portions of Novato, and areas seeing heightened infection rates across the rest of the county.
MEDA’s webpage for the Marin County Small Business Fund will have more information about how businesses can apply for the program in the coming weeks. Inquiries should be emailed to MEDA.