State of Ohio Offers Not-for-Profits Grant Opportunity Through CARES Act– November 18, 2020 by Marie Brilmyer

Not-for-profits have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, affected organizations who serve low-income Ohioans have the chance to receive a portion of $25 million in additional grant funding provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Interested not-for-profits must apply by November 27, 2020.

How Does a Not-for-Profit Qualify for the Grant?

Specifically, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), who will administer the funds, will distribute discretionary grants to not-for-profits who:

  1. Are 501(c)(3) agencies;
  2. Provide direct services to low-income or at-risk Ohioans in industries outside health care, education, recreation and/or cultural activities;
  3. Have reduced or stopped services due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  4. Are reimbursing employers as defined by Ohio unemployment law;
  5. Have not already received or established their eligibility to receive additional Coronavirus Relief Fund assistance from the state or other federal CARES Act grants;
  6. Disclose the amounts and use of any Coronavirus Relief Fund assistance received from local governments and any Paycheck Protection Program loans received; and
  7. Submit a completed grant application by November 27, 2020.

The exact amount for which each organization is eligible will depend on the number of approved applicants and the total amount of agency unemployment charges incurred by each approved applicant. While there is a specific formula to determine the grant amount, the ODJFS points out that the grant amount an organization may receive may not exceed its total amount of agency unemployment charges incurred between March 15, 2020, and what the ODJFS deems as the most recent data available.

What Can the Funds Be Used For?

Grant funds may be applied to remaining unemployment charge balances, or serve as a refund of unemployment charges incurred due to COVID-19 and then used for operational expenses.

However, it is just as important to understand what the funds cannot be used for. Below are the prohibited uses as outlined  by the ODJFS:

  • Damages covered by insurance
  • Payroll or benefit expenses for employees whose work duties are not substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency
  • Expenses that have been or will be reimbursed by any other federal program
  • Reimbursement to donors for donated items or services
  • Workforce bonuses other than hazard pay or overtime
  • Severance pay
  • Legal settlements

The deadline to apply — November 27 at 5 p.m. — is fast approaching. Whether granted funds or not, applicants will be notified by December 11, 2020; ODJFS will distribute funds by December 21, 2020. Learn more and apply.

Contact Marie Brilmyer at or a member of your service team to discuss this topic further.

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Cohen & Company is not rendering legal, accounting or other professional advice. Information contained in this post is considered accurate as of the date of publishing. Any action taken based on information in this blog should be taken only after a detailed review of the specific facts, circumstances and current law.