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County organizing relief fund for nonprofits

Board allocates $500K from federal CARES ACT

The Freeborn County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted to allocate up to $500,000 of the county’s federal CARES Act funds toward a grant relief program focused on nonprofits directly affected by the pandemic.

The program will be similar to the grant relief program in place for businesses hurt by COVID-19 that was organized by the county, city of Albert Lea and Albert Lea Economic Development Agency, said Freeborn County Administrator Tom Jensen.

Nonprofits will be asked to provide documentation of revenues from 2019 to 2020 that can show a loss that occurred between the two reporting periods directly tied to the pandemic. The program targets nonprofits that provide direct services to people in the community, including organizations such as the United Way of Freeborn County, Semcac, the Life Center of Freeborn County and Salvation Army, to name a few.

An estimated $3,000 to $15,000 is expected to be available for qualifying nonprofits.

Jensen said applications will be sent to the nonprofits in the county, and money will hopefully be able to be disbursed by the start of September.

He said he thinks the funding is important because many of these organizations have seen an uptick in what they are spending at this time because of an increased need for services.

“I think it’s our responsibility to do that,” he said.

The administrator said more than 100 businesses applied for the COVID-19 business relief grant program. 

County staff are also still hoping to reach out to cities and townships throughout the county for funding that is available to them through the federal funds.