COVID-19 Action; Reducing Energy Costs

US Department of Commerce building

Available Coronavirus Relief Funds

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced May 7 that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is now accepting applications from eligible grantees for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) supplemental funds (EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance) intended to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.

The CARES Act provides EDA with $1.5 billion of which $1.467 billion is available for grant making. The remaining funds will be transferred to cover salaries and expenses and oversight activities. Under the new announcement, EDA will make CARES Act Recovery Assistance grants under the authority of its Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance investments will support a wide range of non-construction and construction activities, including Revolving Loan Funds, in regions across the country experiencing severe economic dislocations brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

Examples of projects that EDA may fund through its CARES Act Recovery Assistance include economic recovery planning and preparing technical assistance strategies to address economic dislocations caused by the coronavirus pandemic, preparing or updating resiliency plans to respond to future pandemics, implementing entrepreneurial support programs to diversify economies, and constructing public works and facilities that will support economic recovery, including the deployment of broadband for purposes including supporting telehealth and remote learning for job skills.

Eligible applicants under the EAA program include a District Organization; an Indian Tribe or a consortium of Indian Tribes; state, county, city, or other political subdivision of a state, including a special purpose unit of a state or local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, or a consortium of political subdivisions; institution of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education; or public or private non-profit organization or association acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of a state. For more information, go to https://eda.gov/coronavirus/.

Community Inclusion Fund

CariClub, a professional network for social impact, in partnership with nonprofit evaluator Charity Navigator launched the Community Inclusion Fund to help vulnerable communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, particularly those of color. Its goal is to raise $500 million, or $100 million per year, over five years. CariClub also engaged One2One, a nonprofit serving at-risk youth, and Charity Brands to invite corporations and business leaders to support the curated selection of highly rated nonprofits.

Charity Brands creates cause-marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 companies and aligns them with the beneficiary non-profits. The fund will have a special focus on underserved communities with a high concentration of essential workers. Black, Hispanic, and Asian people make up more than 70 percent of the city’s essential workers, including transit, childcare, health care, cleaning service, and postal employees.

More than 40 percent of transit workers are black and 60 percent of frontline cleaning workers are Hispanic, according to a report released in March by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office. Empowered with information from Charity Navigator, the Community Inclusion Fund’s executive board will select recipient organizations which will go through a final round of due diligence by One2One before receiving funding. For more information, go to http://www.cariclub.com/cif.

PPP Safe-Harbor Extended

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) extended the safe-harbor period for returning Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds to May 14. A May 7 deadline for returning funds was initially provided by the SBA for companies that received PPP funds but later found that they were unable to certify in good faith that their PPP loan was necessary. The SBA intends to provide additional guidance before May 14 on how it will review borrowers’ certifications.

NAACP Campaign

The NAACP launched the campaign #WeAreDoneDying to expose the inequities embedded into the American healthcare system and the country at large. From COVID-19 to running while Black in America, the abuse faced by people of color, particularly African-Americans is devastating, the group notes. It says the campaign is a call-to-action and highlights the NAACP’s policy interests and supported legislation for African-Americans and people of color, a large demographic that is often left out of recovery effort conversations.

The integrated and interactive content will create actionable steps for people to feel empowered by demanding action from their state’s elected officials on issues such as healthcare, education, criminal justice, economic justice, and voting rights. For information on joining and getting involved with the campaign, go to NAACP.org.

Memorializing Tulsa Race Massacre

The Black Wall Street Memorial committee and Tulsa Community Remembrance Coalition launched launching the “10,000 Brick Campaign” throughout May to build a memorial to Black Wall Street in honor of those lynched during the 1921 Race Massacre. Individuals are encouraged to purchase one of 10,000 commemorative bricks that will surround a memorial. The brick will feature the purchaser’s name, business or quote.

Black Wall Street was a thriving hub of Black entrepreneurship, and was bombed and burned to the ground between May 31 and June 2, 1921. Scores of white mobsters came from the southern part of the city in trucks and airplanes to carry out the violence. The Black Wall Street Memorial will honor the history and legacy of the community and all those who lost their lives in the massacre. Over the course of the past year, the Tulsa Community Remembrance Coalition has also worked alongside the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, to honor the history and the lives of this sacred land through a series of soil collections.

Each soil collection serves to memorialize the life of a 1921 Tulsa Massacre lynching victim. The jars of soil will be housed inside the Historic Vernon AME Church on N. Greenwood as a part of the memorial. For more information on the memorial and the process for purchasing a brick, visit the Black Wall Street Memorial website, https://blackwallstreetmemorial.com/ and Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/blackwallstreetmemorial.

Grant Program to Reduce Energy Costs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service is awarding a total of $1.5 million to rural communities through a new Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovation grant program. The program, authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill, will help to fund the costs of installing wood energy systems and building innovative wood product facilities in rural communities nationwide. Facilities from small office buildings to large sawmills and other industrial operations will receive funding.

These facilities typically are manufacturing or processing plants that make diverse products such as building components, including mass timber and other innovative products made from low-value or low-quality wood. Awardees will use locally sourced wood to reduce energy costs and fossil fuel use. In addition to the funds awarded through the grant program, they will collectively leverage an additional $3.4 million in matching funds. Recipients of Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovations grants are:

Grant Recipient City, State
Icy Straits Lumber and Milling, Inc. Hoonah, AK
·     Establish climate-controlled working space to manufacture wood products.
Native Village of Kluti-Kaah Copper Center, AK
·     Heat four tribal community buildings with one central system.
Limington Lumber East Baldwin, ME
·     Generate electricity in addition to heat for sawmill operations.
City of Middle River Community Center Middle River, MN
·     Heat 45,000 square-foot community center.
Iron Triangle, LLC John Day and Seneca, OR
·     Produce process heat for forest products manufacturing operations in two locations.
Vaagen Timbers, LLC Coleville, WA
·     Generate process heat to dry lumber for cross-laminated timber.
Washington State Department of Corrections Olympia, WA
·     Establish district heating and hot water supply for 103,000 square-foot prison.

 

For more information, go to

https://www.fs.usda.gov/naspf/programs/wood-education-and-resource-center/wood-innovations-home.