Gainesville commission to finalize list of area nonprofits sharing $7M in ARPA funds


A list of 37 area nonprofit organizations expected to share $7 million in American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) funds will be finalized by the Gainesville City Commission at its April 21 meeting.

In January, the commission selected the Community Foundation of North Central Florida (Foundation), a local nonprofit that promotes and sustains philanthropy, to administer the funds that will benefit the Gainesville community.

“We’ve seen over the past two years the importance of our nonprofit partners in serving our communities – and we know the devastating financial impacts of COVID-19 still continue for our neighbors and nonprofit organizations,” said Mayor Lauren Poe. “We hope to reach even more nonprofit organizations providing critical services throughout the Gainesville area with this program.”

This latest round of relief funding supplements prior COVID-19 grant opportunities through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act administered by external agencies. The Foundation opened the competitive grant application period from Feb. 23 through March 17, and received 46 applications requesting $19,040,697. Award recommendation amounts could range from $5,000 to $750,000.

Since then, an evaluation team comprised of city staff and members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, convened a properly noticed sunshine meeting March 28 to review the applications, and narrow down the list to qualified applicants in advance of the upcoming commission meeting.

Applications were reviewed using the city’s equity-based approach and were analyzed to confirm the negative impact of the pandemic.

“This innovative approach to distributing grant funding will support getting needed funds to organizations that may not have been awarded previously,” said Barzella Papa, president and CEO of the Foundation. “We know fantastic nonprofit organizations providing critical services are located throughout our city – and come in all sizes.”

Eligibility criteria for the applicants was based on U.S. Department of Treasury Guidance and developed in conjunction with the City’s general ARPA consultant Government Services Group, LLC, an Anser Advisory Company.

Applicants must have incurred a necessary expenditure due to the pandemic or been directly impacted by a loss or reduction of income as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Additional general eligibility requirements for applicants include being a public, tax-exempt organization incorporated prior to Jan. 1, 2020; located in Alachua County; and a verified organization in the Foundation’s Philanthropy Hub.

In addition, the amount of requested funding was considered alongside each applicant’s financial position; the impact to the Gainesville community; a financial review including eligibility of proposed program with the ARPA Final Rule and long-term sustainability; and a review of the nonprofit organization’s diversity and inclusion efforts.

The April 21 city commission meeting begins at 10 a.m. in the Gainesville City Hall Auditorium.