MD-SERI: Tourism Nonprofits

Purpose:

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is administering funding for the Governor’s Maryland Strong Economic Recovery Initiative (MD-SERI).

DHCD’S MD-SERI TOURISM NONPROFITS will allocate funds to the state’s nonprofit tourism producing organizations, such as museums, cultural attractions, zoos, aquariums whose mission and work substantially contributes to the economic development and now economic recovery of Maryland communities through visitor driven events and programs. This NOFA pertains only to the funding allocation for MD-SERI Tourism Nonprofits and provides a preview of the application which is projected to be available online Monday, November 9, 2020.

A separate NOFA for Entertainment Venues and Main Street is also available from DHCD: www.dhcd.maryland.gov

Applicant Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible to apply, an applicant must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Must be an IRS determined nonprofit organization 
  • Must be an organization that is in good standing with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) 
  • Must be an organization that is based in Maryland that attracts visitors and thus contributes to the health of local businesses and, more broadly, the local and state economy.
  • Organizations that can demonstrate the negative financial impact of COVID-19 of at least at least $75,000 as represented by (a) reduced operating revenue from visitor driven activities (for example admissions; special event/programming ticket sales; gift shop sales, memberships and/or private event rentals) and/or (b) increased expenses to adapt operations and facilities to create a safe environment for visitors and staff.
  • Financially viable nonprofits whose operations will continue forward

Use of Funds:

MD-SERI: Tourism Nonprofit funds can be used for one or more of the following:

  • Operating support (staff costs, hazard pay, marketing/programming, rent, utilities, payroll, supplies, cleaning services etc.) to address the revenue reductions due to loss of visitors from COVID-19 and the related state-of-emergency both as a reimbursement of fixed costs not covered by revenue and as a projection of fixed costs from March 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020 that will not be covered by revenue AND/OR
  • Increased expenses to adapt operations and facilities to create a safe environment for staff and visitors (as a reimbursement of expended such costs and/or as a projection of future such costs from March 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020).

Funding Criteria:

The maximum grant request amount is $500,000 and the minimum amount is $75,000.

Requested funding amounts should be based on the organization’s ability to demonstrate an equal to or greater than loss of revenue from reduced visitor attendance and/or increased expenses to adapt operations and facilities to safely reopen for visitors and staff. These revenue losses and/or increased expenses must occur or have occurred during the period March 1 through December 30, 2020.

  • Only applications that are fully complete at submission will be considered for funding
  • Eligible requests must specifically demonstrate the need for operating support (staffing, marketing/programming, rent, utilities, supplies, etc.) to address the (a) revenue reductions due to loss of visitors from COVID-19 and the related state-of-emergency, and/or (b) increased expenses to adapt operations and facilities to create a safe environment for staff and visitors. 
  • These decreased revenues and increased expenses must occur within the period of March 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020 (per CARES Act funding requirements). 
  • Applicants must be able to quantify the reduction in number of visitors to events or programs through attendance and associated revenues (including comparison to prior year levels). 
  • Funding requests will be reviewed on a first-come-first-served basis. 
  • Individual grant amounts may be reduced relative to requests, if demand exceeds available funding.

Application Process:

  • NOFA release: Wednesday, October 28
  • Projected on-line NORI application portal opens: Monday, November 9 at 12:00 pm
  • Application portal closes: Wednesday, November 18 at 5:00 pm at the latest; the portal may close if or when grant requests exceed available funding. 
  • Funding announcements on a rolling basis beginning no later than November 30, 2020.

Applicants will be required to register with the Maryland OneStop Portal. OneStop is the central hub for Maryland State licenses, forms, certificates, permits, applications, and registrations and can be accessed here: https://onestop.md.gov

It is recommended that applicants register in advance of the November 9 application round opening.

Application Requirements:

In addition to basic organizational information, such as the organization’s official mission statement, the following information and attachments will be required in the on-line application in order for an application to be considered complete. Space to answer will be very limited; it is recommended that applicants prepare answers and gather required attachments in advance of the opening of the on-line application.

  1. Organizational Summary: A brief description of the organization’s (a) recent accomplishments in the last twelve months, (b) specific numbers that describe the applicant’s visitor/event volume and dollar impact on the local and state economic impact in a “normal” year vs. calendar 2020​ and (c) current financial condition and ability to continue operations. This funding is aimed to support organizations that can continue to operate and produce economic impact in Maryland. 
  2. COVID Impacts: A brief summary of (a) provide specific dollar amounts, summarizing the overall visitor driven revenue lost due to COVID 19 for the period March 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020 as compared to the similar time period in 2019; in other words, the specific dollar impact of that loss to the applicant’s operations and annual budget, (b) provide the specific dollar impact of any increased expenses due to COVID 19, actual and projected for the period March 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020, if any, with respect to retrofitting operations and facilities and/or providing personal protective equipment or cleaning supplies/services for the safety of visitors and staff,
    (c) Explain how you would utilize any MD-SERI awarded funds to sustain operations and/or adjust operations to be able to safely attract visitors and provide visitor experiences that address COVID prevention moving forward AND
    (d) List any COVID19 relief funding you have been awarded to date – include the name of program, the amount of the award and the date received. Based on this relief funding, please be specific as to remaining dollar amount of the funding gap you have for the period March 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020.
  3. Budget/Use of Funds: A simple budget form will be provided in the on-line application in which the applicant will individually list each proposed use(s) of requested funds.

Application Attachments:

All of the following attachments will be required in the on-line application in order for the application to be considered complete:

  • Proof of revenue lost from visitors. This can be provided by summary visitor/attendee information from 2019 events/activities/programs/purchases as compared to the same events/activities/programs/purchases that would have taken place or will take place March 1-December 30, 2020 
  • IRS Determination Letter of nonprofit status 
  • Online verification of Certificate of Good Standing from the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation. 
  • 2019 Profit and Loss Statement that itemizes revenue and expenses 
  • 2020 Profit and Loss Statement that itemizes both actual and projected revenue and expenses 
  • IRS W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification
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