Gov. Lee Announces $150 Million in Relief Funds for Tennessee Non-Profits

Tuesday, July 21, 2020 | 02:00pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group announced $150 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds will be made available to Tennessee non-profits to assist their ongoing efforts to address the ongoing health and economic impacts of COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed enormous strain on all aspects of our society, and non-profit organizations are no different. Non-profits play a vital role in ensuring Tennesseans’ needs are met in times of crisis, and it’s imperative these organizations receive financial support to continue their work,” said Gov. Lee. “The Tennessee Community CARES Program will help alleviate the duress non-profits are under and ensure they continue to support their communities.”

“Tennessee’s non-profit community has been on the frontlines of this pandemic from the beginning,” said Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge). “Non-profits consistently amplify the state’s efforts in addressing Tennessee’s explicit needs during the COVID crisis. They are also critical in filling the gaps by caring for those who have been indirectly affected by the virus. I am extremely grateful we will be using these funds to help bolster the community’s efforts to assist our people in this time of need.”

“Tennessee’s non-profits are vital business partners within our state that provide economic stimulus and critical resources for our local communities,” said House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville). “I am pleased to join with Gov. Lee, Lt. Gov. McNally, as well as our members to provide additional support to these organizations and agencies during the pandemic through the Tennessee Community CARES Program. Partnering with our non-profits will enable them to remain focused on their important roles for the benefit of our state and our people. This is a strong message that we are all working together now, and we will continue to do so, after the pandemic subsides.”

“Before the pandemic arrived, our state was already working closely with non-profit organizations to create valuable partnerships that provide families with full wrap around support,” said Tennessee Department of Human Services Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes. “This additional grant assistance will allow us to expand these partnerships to meet new challenges created by COVID-19 and continue our mission to build a thriving Tennessee.”

The Tennessee Community CARES Program will provide $150 million in direct federally funded aid to non-profit organizations located in Tennessee and serving Tennesseans. Examples of activities prioritized and encouraged for funding under this program will include:

  • Support for school-aged children and families related to education needs created or exacerbated by the COVID-19 outbreak; 
  • Any of the following activities for individuals or families who have been impacted by a loss of income or economic insecurity as a result of COVID-19: 
    • Workforce training; 
    • Emergency food assistance; 
    • Case management or assistance in accessing an eligible state or federal public benefit; Care for at-risk or vulnerable populations to mitigate COVID-19 effects and/or enable compliance with COVID-19 public health precautions;
    • Emergency financial assistance to prevent homelessness, eviction or foreclosure; 
    • Other similar services designed to mitigate the negative health or economic impact of the COVID-19 public health emergency. 
  • Providing uncompensated care or assistance for disabled or other vulnerable population to address new financial, health, or educational challenges that are in response to COVID-19. 
  • Public Health Support activities such as uncompensated or unreimbursed costs for services or activities dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency, including but not limited to: 
    • Supports, education, and communication for individuals to increase access to testing and reliability of contact tracing; 
    • Expenses for technical assistance on mitigation of COVID-19-related threats; 
    • Expenses for acquisition and distribution of medical and protective supplies, including sanitizing products and personal protective equipment, for medical personnel, police officers, social workers, child protection services, and child welfare officers, direct service providers for older adults and individuals with disabilities in community settings, and other public health or safety workers in connection with the COVID-19 public health emergency; 
    • Mental and behavioral health services delivered in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency; 
    • Expenses associated with supporting the housing or quarantining of COVID-19 positive individuals; 
    • Any other expense incurred in relation to non-profit missions to directly support the public health response to COVID-19. 
  • Any other non-profit support provided to Tennessee business entities such as: o Technical assistance and support in enrolling and participating in a federal, state, or local benefit program; 
    • Education on safe practices in response to COVID-19; 
    •  Acquisition or purchase of personal protective equipment or reimbursing costs associated with mitigating the spread of COVID-19;
    • Expenses related to mitigating the spread of COVID-19; 
  • Reimbursement of unreimbursed expenses incurred by a non-profit due to the COVID19 emergency, including but not limited to increased payroll costs, PPE, or any other measures taken to protect the employees and population served by the non-profit; 
  • Support targeted for any at-risk, vulnerable, or underserved community for any eligible activity;
  • Past and future reimbursement for the required Non-Federal Cost-Share of Stafford Act assistance for COVID-19-related costs that satisfy the CRF eligibility criteria AND the FEMA Public Assistance
  • Reimbursement for any of the eligible costs incurred in the period from March 1 to Dec. 30; 

To administer these funds, the Department of Human Services is announcing an invitation for partner non-profits to serve as grant administrators. Grant administrators will be required to submit a proposal to the Department no later than 12 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 23 describing their ability to administer sub-grants to eligible non-profits. More details and submission instructions can be found here.

For non-profits wishing to receive response and recovery grants to provide direct services, instructions for grant proposals will be issued by the Department of Human Services and its partner non-profit grant administrators on August 1, 2020. Grant applications will be processed on a first-come, first-serve basis with monthly reporting requirements and a de-obligation date of November 15.

The Financial Stimulus Accountability Group is a bi-partisan group including Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, House Speaker Cameron Sexton, Sen. Raumesh Akbari, Sen. Bo Watson, Rep. Harold Love, Rep. Pat Marsh, Comptroller Justin Wilson and Finance and Administration Commissioner Butch Eley.