Small Business Grants and Loans You Need to Know About to Help Keep Your Business Going During Shelter-in-Place

Resources available to help your business during the COVID-19 Crises

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs who were doing well are now suffering financial losses due to shelter-in-place orders by the US government.  This is an unprecedented time in our history. Small businesses need help paying their rent and their employees so they do not have to close. Luckily though, the government, non-profit foundations, and private corporations are stepping up to help lift their financial burdens. Below is a list we complied as a helpful guide on all of the options available now for small businesses in mainly California.

Government Assistance

Federal Government

Just yesterday, congress passed a bill that will help small businesses. According to Forbes Magazine, under the CARES Act passed on March 27, 2020, independent contractors, small businesses, gig workers, and freelancers are eligible to receive a government grant of up to $10,000. The next step is for the president to sign the bill to make it go into affect. The SBA sometimes refers to these grants as “advances,” but you are not required to repay this money to the government. The application process involves filling out an SBA form requesting an Economic Injury Disaster Recovery Loan (EIDL), which provides for the advance even if the loan is not granted.

The SBA loan applications will not be available until the President has signed the bill. Once he signs it the SBA will open applications on their website.  If you already applied before March 29, 2020, you will need to resubmit your application. Otherwise, the SBA is asking for applicants to be patient and wait. Some people have reported having received grant money, but many are still waiting. You should anticipate that any new applications could result in a wait of weeks or longer.

California Government Assistance

The City of San Francisco has also initiated a moratorium on evictions for small- and medium-sized businesses whose revenue has been affected by the coronavirus. The moratorium will expire on April 17 (and could be extended), but the city has put additional renter protections in place, giving the opportunity for tenants to go on a payment plan or apply for a hardship waiver if they cannot pay their rent due to COVID-19.

Additionally, through the City of Los Angeles Small Business Emergency Microloan Program, businesses and microenterprises in Los Angeles that are responsible for providing low-income jobs can get an emergency microloan of $5,000 to $20,000. Loans with repayment terms of six months to one year carry an interest rate of 0% and five-year loans have interest rates of 3% to 5%. 

Who’s eligible: To get a loan, you must meet requirements including having “reasonable and responsible” individual credit history, committing to use the loan for working capital only and ensuring your business is located within the City of Los Angeles. If you own 20% or more of the business, you must guarantee the loan.

How to apply: Apply online and provide supporting documentation including business and personal tax returns, three months of bank statements and business and personal financial statements.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is offering grants of $5,000 to small business owners across the country through the Save Small Business Fund. Learn more and apply here. NOTE: Due to overwhelming interest in this grant program, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is not accepting new applications at this time.

By City and County

For San Mateo County Businesses: The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors has provided $3 million in seed money to launch a fund to provide emergency relief to local individuals, families, nonprofit organizations and small businesses. Learn more here.

For Oakland Businesses: The City of Oakland and Working Solutions are partnering on the Oakland Small Business Emergency Grant Program to provide working capital grants of $5,000 to small businesses in Oakland owned by extremely low-income individuals who have suffered financial loss due to the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more here. NOTE: The application period is now closed. We will let our community know if applications are reopened.

For Berkeley Businesses: The City of Berkeley is making grants of up to $10,000 available to Berkeley-based small businesses and nonprofits to enable continuity through and/or beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.NOTE: The first round is closed, but a second round is expected. Visit the City of Berkeley website here for updates and to apply.

For Hayward Businesses: The City of Hayward Economic Development Division has launched a Business Resiliency Grant Program to provide grants of $5,000 to impacted small businesses. Learn more here. NOTE: Due to overwhelming response, the City of Hayward is no longer accepting applications.

For San Leandro Businesses: The City of San Leandro has launched the Small Business Continuity Grant Program to provide up to $5,000 to small businesses in San Leandro to help them continue operations during the COVID-19 crisis. Applications are due by Monday, April 27 at 5:00 PM. Learn more and apply here.

For San Francisco Businesses:

Arts Relief Program: This program invests in working artists and arts and cultural organizations financially impacted by COVID-19 through a combination of grants and low-income loans. The application window is now closed, but you can check for updates here.

COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund: This program provides emergency grants for affected microbusinesses (1-5 employees). While currently closed, the program may reopen if additional funding becomes available. Learn more here.

Grants from Private Corporations


According to WWD’s website, Facebook chief operations officer Sheryl Sandberg announced on March 17 that the company is creating a $100 million grant program for small businesses experiencing financial hardships because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants will go to about 30,000 businesses across the 30 countries where Facebook has employees. Part of the grants will be “ad credits” that businesses can use to advertise on the social media platform. All eligible cities in the United States are now able to submit their applications

There are certain criteria for your business to qualify, such as location and number of employees. According to the Facebook website for the boost grants, to be eligible to apply, your business must:

– Have between 2 and 50 employees

– Have been in business for over a year

– Have experienced challenges from COVID-19

– Be in or near a location where Facebook operates

To complete your application, you’ll need at least one of the following documents:

  1. Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)

2. Partnership documents

3. Business license

4. Proof of incorporation

5. Official registration


Google is giving its Small Business customers worldwide $340 million in ad credits, which can be used towards future ad spend, until the end of 2020 across the Google Ads platforms. Starting in late May, Google will begin rolling out the ad credit in phases. Over the following months, eligible customers will be notified and will see the ad credit applied in their Google Ads account.

Small and medium sized businesses globally, who have spent with a Google Ads account in ten out of twelve months of 2019, and in January and/or February of this year. Eligible customers are those who advertised directly with us or through a partner, and adhere to Google’s advertising policies. The ad credit amount will vary by customer based on past Google Ads spend, and the country and currency where the business and Google Ads account is set up. 

Sam’s Club

A $1 million grant from Sam’s Club, LISC will provide the emergency assistance that small businesses desperately need to stay afloat. It will deploy grants to help them bridge the financial gap, and deliver technical assistance to help them navigate the intricate web of public and private resources now available. LISC will focus these efforts on historically underserved communities—especially those enterprises owned or led by women, minorities and veterans, which often lack access to affordable capital.

Grants of up to $10,000 each will be given to small business owners to help meet their most immediate needs. Eligible expenses include:

  1. Paying rent and utilities

2. Meeting payroll

3. Paying outstanding debt to vendors

4. Upgrading technology infrastructure

5. Other immediate operational costs

All applicants will receive a customized, state-by-state resource guide on how to navigate federal, state and local assistance programs and private financing as well as connections to local LISC offices and our partners. Apply here.

In 10 of the hardest hit cities/regions, LISC and its local partners will provide enhanced technical support and resources to small businesses and nonprofits.


Amazon is offering what they call the, Amazon Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund. Businesses in Bellevue, Washington, the South Lake Union, and Regrade neighborhoods of Seattle that rely on foot traffic can apply online for a grant from Amazon’s $5 million fund. Amazon will determine on a case-by-case basis the amount of the grant your business qualifies for. To be eligible, the first criteria is your business must have 50 employees or less, or takes in less than $7 million in annual revenue, to qualify. The second criteria to qualify for the grant is your business must be a service or retail establishment open to the general public (dental establishments and corporate offices for instance, do not qualify). The amount awarded to each small business will be different and dependent on information received through the application process.

To learn more about the Amazon grant and apply, visit the Amazon website at this link:


Salesforce will soon be offering Salesforce Care Small Business Grants of $10,000 to impacted small businesses. This national application process will be opened in two phases, based on location. California’s application period opens on Monday, April 27 at 8:00 AM and closes on Monday, May 4 at 11:59 PM. Learn more here.

Additionally, Salesforce is already providing free access to Salesforce Essentials to help small businesses engage and support customers remotely, as well as Tableau so they can quickly make data-driven decisions. The Salesforce resource page for small businesses features articles and webinars from small business experts that share inspiration and tools.

Nonprofit Grants and Loans

Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Hosted by Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the Small Business Relief Fund will provide immediate support to struggling self-employed and small business owners. SVCF will partner with Opportunity Fund, California’s largest nonprofit microlender, to ensure critical capital remains available to these entities throughout this crisis. As of April 20, the Small Business Relief Fund has already provided the Opportunity Fund with $1,679,690 for California businesses. This new fund will reach hundreds of small businesses throughout California. As an example, for each $1 million contribution, 500 small business owners will receive immediate debt relief or 225 will get help with securing responsible credit.

Self-employed individuals and small businesses will be the target recipients for assistance. Self-employed individuals and small businesses throughout California with targeted support for geographies with high concentrations of at-risk businesses will get support from SVCF.

Technical assistance as well as loan and grant funding will be provided relief and/or liquidity for self-employed individuals and small businesses. The type of support provided by Opportunity Fund to each business will depend on the business’ current situation.

Loan Payment Relief: For some businesses, three months of loan payments may be forgiven. For other small businesses, one to three months of loan payments may be skipped and added to the end of the loan, payable when the loan matures.

Affordable Capital: For small businesses that may need new money, a grant may be offered in which 50 percent of the grant amount would go to providing a loan with extended terms and 50 percent would go to a savings account in the name of the borrower.

Expert Advice: Small business owners will receive technical assistance, including business plan restructuring, bill payment relief, financial and tax advice, marketing strategies, human resource and layoff aversion support and legal support related to contractual obligations.

If you are seeking new financing, contact us at 888-720-3215 (888-648-7859 en español) or click here to begin your request

East Bay Community Foundation

The East Bay Community Foundation’s COVID-19: A Just East Bay Response Fund will rapidly deploy resources to organizations addressing the social and economic impacts of the broader COVID-19 outbreak, including the immediate needs of communities and organizations affected by coronavirus-related closures. This fund will support nonprofit organizations serving Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. Grantees may be headquartered elsewhere, but a significant portion of their services and population served must be centered in these two counties.

The COVID-19: A Just East Bay Response Fund will prioritize resources to organizations serving extremely vulnerable populations who are unlikely to receive state or federal support, including: undocumented immigrants, unsheltered individuals, those employed via cash economy (e.g. day laborers, domestic workers), uninsured and under-insured, youth, victims of domestic violence, low-income seniors, and the formerly incarcerated.

There are four funding categories:

  1. Direct financial assistance to individuals and families experiencing extreme economic hardship
  2. Frontline organizations providing essential services to priority populations
  3. General Operating Support to existing grantees to support their operations and related impacts during the crisis
  4. Organizing and Systems Change

EBCF’s COVID-19: A Just East Bay Response Fund will make grants to organizations that meet the following criteria:

  1. 501(c)(3) status or fiscally sponsored project.

2. Have a focus on the following priority populations: undocumented immigrants, unsheltered individuals, those employed via cash economy (e.g. day laborers, domestic workers), uninsured and under-insured, youth, victims of domestic violence, low-income seniors, and formerly incarcerated.

3. Whose work aligns with the four funding categories listed above.

4. EBCF will prioritize existing grantee partners for support from the COVID-19: A Just East Bay Response Fund, and may consider additional organizations as funds become available.

There is no application for this Fund. The EBCF will select organizations on a rolling basis to support through this Fund. If you believe you qualify based on the criteria listed above, please contact EBCF at: According to its FAQ section on their website, EBCF will make every effort possible to respond within 1 week, but it could take longer due to extra inquiries at this time. EBCF anticipates that the first wave of grants will be issued by the end of March, thus businesses should have already started receiving them.

LISC Small Business Relief Grant

LISC is accepting applications for the second round of its Small Business Relief Grant Program, which will make grants of up to $10,000 to small business owners impacted by COVID-19. Priority will be given to minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses. Applications are due by Tuesday, April 28 at 11:59 PM (EDT). Learn more here, and apply here.

Applications will be reviewed based on criteria designed to prioritize particularly challenged businesses, and the final grantees will be randomly selected from the top scoring applicants. Learn more on the LISC Small Business Relief Grant Program FAQ page.


GoFundMe is providing matching grants of $500 to small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, start a fundraiser on GoFundMe, and raise $500 from other supporters. To be eligible for a grant from the Small Business Relief Fund, the business needs to meet the following requirements: have been negatively impacted by a government mandate due to the COVID-19 pandemic; be independently owned and operated; not be nationally dominant in its field of operation; intend to use funds to either help (a) care for its employees/workers or (b) pay ongoing business expenses; raise at least $500 for the business through its own GoFundMe fundraiser, which fundraiser it started because of the COVID-19 pandemic; and have no fraud reports made against it. Only one grant per business. All business fundraisers and grant recipients must comply with GoFundMe’s terms of service.

If a fundraiser has already been created and is benefitting a small business negatively impacted by COVID-19, you should follow these steps to be considered for a grant:

  1. Make sure you add the hashtag #SmallBusinessRelief to your fundraiser story

2. Fill out this form to confirm your small business

3. Raise $500 from your friends, families, and other connections

3. Be sure the business owner is set up to receive the funds from the fundraiser, if you’re not raising money for your own business. Select the “Withdraw” option in the GoFundMe dashboard to make sure this is set up

If you have not yet started a fundraiser for your small business, search small business relief fundraisers to find and claim your fundraiser. If you are unable to find your fundraiser, then sign up on GoFundMe to start a fundraiser. Then, also:

– Make sure you add the hashtag #SmallBusinessRelief to your fundraiser story

– Fill out this form to confirm your small business

– Raise $500 from your friends, families, and other connections

– Be sure the business owner is set up to receive the funds from the fundraiser, if you’re not raising money for your own business. Select the “Withdraw” option in the GoFundMe dashboard to make sure this is set up

*Note: All fundraisers will need to meet the above eligibility requirements to be considered for a one-time $500 matching grant from the Small Business Relief Fund.

Hello Alice

Hello Alice is offering grants of $10,000 to impacted small businesses. In addition to funding, grant recipients will receive ongoing support from the Hello Alice community. Apply to this grant here and learn more.


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