Tupelo • Nonprofits and food pantries in Northeast Mississippi will receive $1.6 million in federal CARES Act funding.

The CREATE Foundation will oversee distribution of the funds, granted as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act passed by the U.S. Legislature in March. Grants of up to $4,000 will be awarded to local nonprofits and food pantries.

The funding will be split to provide $786,261 for nonprofits and $786,261 for food pantries. Applications for this grant program will go live Thursday, Sept. 24.

The State of Mississippi established the Community Foundations COVID-19 Grant Program during the 2020 legislative session. The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) will administer the program and has issued rules governing its operations. The state’s seven community foundations will divide a total of $8 million in funding between qualifying area nonprofit entities and food pantries.

A list of the counties assigned to each community foundation can be found at www.mscaresgrant.com.

As one of the community foundations, CREATE will be responsible for reviewing grant applications for 21 counties: Alcorn, Benton, Calhoun, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clay, Itawamba, Lafayette, Lee, Lowndes, Monroe, Montgomery, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Tippah, Tishomingo, Union, Webster, and Winston.

Grant applications must be completed online at www.mscaresgrant.com. Applications must be filed no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis. More information can be found on the MS Cares Grant website. Questions can also be directed to the CREATE Foundation.

Applicants must apply either as a nonprofit entity or a food pantry as defined in the act. Organizations that meet both definitions, such as a nonprofit that operates a food pantry but also has other programs, may qualify as an eligible grantee for both funds. An organization that operates multiple food pantries may qualify each food pantry as a separate eligible grantee, provided that each pantry serves a distinct geographic area and population. Eligible grantees may be reimbursed for eligible expenditures incurred between March 1, 2020 and Dec. 30, 2020.

Eligible expenditures are outlined in the Community Foundations Act across eighteen categories and include:

  • Costs to create social distancing measures
  • Costs to clean or disinfect areas due to COVID-10
  • Personal Protective Equipment “PPE”
  • COVID-19 testing
  • COVID-19 screenings
  • Expenses for technical assistance concerning mitigation of COVID-19 related threats
  • Contactless equipment
  • Equipment or items designed to track positive COVID-19 cases
  • Expenses for quarantining individuals
  • Necessary re-opening expenses to address COVID-19 issues
  • Expenses to facilitate teleworking
  • Expenses to facilitate distance learning
  • Expense for additional food delivery costs and expenses, including the purchase of food, for vulnerable populations to enable compliance with COVID-19 public health precautions
  • Expenses for care for homeless populations
  • Grants to prevent evictions or foreclosure to prevent homelessness
  • Grants to individuals and households who have been directly impacted by loss of income 17. Expenses for employment and training programs for individuals who have lost employment
  • Expenses incurred because of the interruption of the Nonprofit Entity’s business, including mortgage interest, rent, payroll, or utilities

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