Jason Rapp

S.C. non-profits requested $76 million in SC CARES Act relief

Nearly 1,600 applications submitted


Gov. Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Dept. of Administration (Admin) announced late yesterday that 11,217 applications were received for the SC CARES Act grant programs for the Minority and Small Business Relief Grant Program and the Nonprofit Relief Grant Program.

These programs award grant funds to small and minority businesses and nonprofit organizations to reimburse qualifying expenditures for providing services or for revenue loss due to COVID-19.

Beginning on October 16, Governor McMaster, Admin, and other state leaders held events in Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Greer, and Myrtle Beach to raise awareness of the program and encourage business owners to apply for the program.

“Small businesses are the cornerstone of our state’s economy and they were hit hard by the pandemic,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “We knew we had to quickly get them the help they need through an easily-accessible program, and I’m happy to say that the results have exceeded our expectations.”

Act 154 of 2020 allocated $40 million for the Minority and Small Business Program, with grant awards ranging from $2,500-$25,000. The total number of application submissions for the Minority and Small Business program was 9,627, with a total requested amount of $213,297,112.30.

Act 154 allocated $25 million for the Nonprofit Program, with grant awards ranging from $2,500-$50,000. The total number of application submissions for the Nonprofit program was 1,590 with a total requested amount of $75,980,037.43.

In early December, applicants will receive a notification indicating grant approval and the dollar amount of the grant. Grant awards will be issued to qualifying grant recipients by mid-December.

If other CARES Act funds are not utilized, both the Nonprofit and Minority and Small Business Grant funds are eligible to be replenished and additional grants may be distributed at a later date.


In accordance with Act 154, applications for the Minority and Small Business Relief Grant Program will be evaluated and awarded by a panel consisting of:

  • the director of the Commission for Minority Affairs, or her designee;
  • the Secretary of Commerce, or his designee; and
  • the director of the Department of Revenue, or his designee.

Act 154 further provides that priority must be given to minority businesses, to applicants that did not receive other assistance, such as a Paycheck Protection Program loan or other CARES funds, to businesses with fifteen or fewer employees, and to businesses that demonstrate the greatest financial need.

Applications for the Nonprofit Relief Grant Program will be evaluated and awarded by a panel consisting of:

  • the director of the Department of Social Services, or his designee;
  • the director of the Department of Mental Health, or his designee;
  • the director of the Department of Consumer Affairs, or her designee;
  • the director of the Department of Health and Human Services, or his designee;
  • the director of the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services, or her designee;
  • the Secretary of State, or his designee;
  • the director of the South Carolina Arts Commission, or his designee;
  • the director of the Department of Archives and History, or his designee; and
  • the executive director of the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority, or her designee.

For the Nonprofit Relief Grant Program, priority must be given to applicants that did not receive other assistance, such as a Paycheck Protection Program loan or other CARES funds. Then, priority shall be given to applications for expenditures related to food assistance, including prepared meals, rent or mortgage assistance, utilities assistance, mental health counseling, health care services, including access to health care supplies, mental health, and behavioral health, criminal domestic violence and children’s advocacy services, and arts and cultural items or activities. Additionally, the panel will give consideration to the geographic distribution of services provided by the nonprofit organizations, so that grants are awarded on a statewide basis.


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