By Tori Mason

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – The City of Aurora is offering more relief for struggling businesses and nonprofits during the COVID-19 pandemic. The application process for the Aurora Economic Resiliency Grant opened Thursday. It’s the third round of CARES Act funding the city has deployed to support local businesses.

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The $5 million grant program, in cooperation with Arapahoe County CARES and Adams County CARES, will provide grants up to $30,000 to eligible small and mid-sized businesses to help with payroll and rent expenses.

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Nonprofits are also eligible. Maureen Maycheco, with the Colorado Nonprofit Association, says many are struggling despite financial aid during the pandemic.

(credit: CBS)

“There are definitely nonprofits that aren’t going to make it into 2021. Just like local breweries and restaurants,” said Maycheco. “There are lots of levers that could be pulled before a nonprofit closes and a lot of them negatively impact the community or people who work there. Things like staff layoffs and budget cuts. Things that you think of with tradition for-profit workforces and structures are always going to be the first resort.”

Maycheco says many in-person services, like children’s art programs, and fundraising events have been less successful or impossible to carry out online. It’s been a hit to organizations and the people they benefit.

“Galas and big scale events, from what we’re hearing, and not translating well in the virtual world but some are doing it very well,” said Maycheco. “There has been a lot of reflection on how you translate programs and services that are so important and bridging gaps in the community into virtual programs. If you can.”

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To be eligible for the grant, nonprofits must either have an Aurora business license, or be registered with the state as a nonprofit and either be located in Aurora or be able to demonstrate that over 50% of the clients they serve are Aurora residents.

To receive payroll assistance, businesses will have to demonstrate a year-over-year loss of revenue during COVID-19. For rent assistance, businesses will need to show they are behind on payments. Eligible businesses must have under 200 employees and have an Aurora business license in good standing.

The program is open to both new applicants and those that previously qualified for funds through the earlier Aurora Economic Relief or Aurora Economic Recovery programs. Prior applicants will receive an email with a link to complete a short interest form if they want to be considered for this program.

The application process for new applicants closes at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12.

Additional information is available at www.AuroraGov.org/AER.

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Tori Mason