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DRA Storefront Revitalization Grant

Storefront businesses have experienced unprecedented challenges in 2020. For most, the impact of COVID 19 has resulted in the closure and subsequent constraints on regular business practices. For some businesses in downtown, the vandalism in late May compounded damages with physical destruction outside and inside their businesses. As an advocate for a strong and vibrant downtown Raleigh, the Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA) offers this funding opportunity to help storefront businesses recover and adapt to a new environment.

The goal of this program is to revitalize downtown by helping businesses repair, rebuild, and pivot toward opportunities that will sustain operations through the coming months and years. While there are restrictions, detailed below, we encourage creative solutions that have the potential to strengthen each business’s likelihood of long-term success. Please note in your application if your plan may require some assistance with permitting or other ordinances/policies.

These grants of up to $5,000 are specifically intended to help downtown businesses recover in any number of ways, including the following.

•    “Pivot” by adding enhanced service or commerce opportunities for the business to adjust to the effects of the current crises, such as modifying physical space, improving an e-commerce site for online sales, or expanding capacity for delivering goods and services. Some expenditures may include furniture for expanded outdoor dining, materials for construction of takeout windows, accessibility compliance for additional outdoor seating, additional fixtures required for compliance with public health issues, and building of e-commerce platforms, as well as other equipment or tools needed for creative adaptation and pivoting of businesses. 

•    Repair: Businesses may also apply for funds to help cover repair costs not already covered by insurance or landlord reimbursement. This could include replacement or repair of property inside and/or on the facade of the business and includes payment of deductibles for expenses covered by insurance. (Grants for repair damage are capped at $2,500 per business).

Criteria for Qualifying Businesses 

The goal of this program is to spread funds as widely as possible while still having a measurable impact.  We want to help you get back to business quickly and efficiently. Prior to accessing the grant application, you will be asked a number of qualifying questions that may preclude your eligibility. The questions address the following qualifications.

  • The business must be a storefront or consumer-facing business in downtown Raleigh. A business is eligible to apply if it is inside the downtown element boundary OR inside any of the district boundaries as depicted in the map. For a map of district lines, visit here. (Retailers, restaurants, and personal services not located on the ground floor are still eligible to apply.)
  • Businesses open prior to May 30, 2020 will be given priority in this round of funding (documentation may be required). 
  • The business must be legally incorporated or organized (Tax ID number will be required).
  • The business currently must have 50 employees or fewer.
  • Funding cannot be used for personal use property located upon or used in connection with the property.
  • The applicant business must be the occupant of downtown property and be willing to provide proof of occupancy. If the applicant is a tenant, landlord confirmation will be required via lease or acknowledgment from the landlord verifying currently a tenant.
  • Changes to the property itself must be undertaken after appropriate permits from the City of Raleigh and permission from the property owner.
  • Grants can be awarded to cover expenses already paid by the applicant if repairs or additions were incurred after May 30th, 2020 and meet all other qualifications.
  • If your business is closed due to state and/or federal mandates, you are eligible to apply. However, a proposal being contingent on restrictions being lifted may affect the review committee’s scoring priority of your application. 
  • Exclusions: Businesses owned by or affiliated with any member of the current DRA board of directors or current DRA investors and financial supporters are not allowed to apply and will not be considered at all.

Program details

These grants are targeted to storefront businesses that have been adversely impacted by the events of the last six months. This program seeks to quickly support businesses in regaining their ability to deliver goods and/or services directly to customers, within the parameters of state and local safety regulations/ordinances.

  • Grant applications will be accepted from September 14th- September 28th. If funds remain available after the initial round of funding, an additional round of applications will be accepted and reviewed. Information on additional rounds and deadlines will be posted on the grant website.
  • Grants will be reviewed by a committee, appointed by DRA, during the week following the September 28th deadline. Additional applications will be reviewed only if funds remain available after this first round of awards.
  • Grantees will be notified the week of October 12th and grant funds distributed as reimbursements within two weeks of submission of the completed reimbursement request. (All receipts must be submitted simultaneously.)
  • Grant amounts up to $5,000 per business but depends on costs incurred by the business. Owners with multiple downtown businesses may submit more than one application but the total amount awarded to any owner/corporate group will not exceed $10,000 or two grants and effort will be made to make grants to as many businesses as possible first.
  • Total funding pool = $125,000. Not all applicants are guaranteed funds.
  • Grantees will be notified of approved expenditures as part of the grant award notification communication. Payments will be issued as reimbursements for documented and approved expenditures.
  • All grants must be closed (documentation submitted & payments disbursed) no later than December 31st, 2020.
  • There are no restrictions based on other grants or loans received, but we do require information on if any other recovery grants or loans have been received.
  • Expenses may date back to May 30th, 2020 if they are documented and clearly connected to the goals of this program.

Grant Process

  • The application is an online form that will be linked here, on this webpage, on Monday, September 14th. If you require assistance or an accessible form, please contact us.
  • DRA also reserves the right to request supporting documents to supplement your application.
  • DRA has appointed a committee review and score all grant applications under consideration. The awarding of funds and review of eligible expenditures is solely at the discretion of the DRA.
  • DRA will give written notice to each applicant of the approval or disapproval of each grant application. Approved applicants also will receive instructions on documentation that will be required for reimbursement. Reimbursement will be in the form of one check after all receipts and invoices have been submitted.
  • Recipients of awards will receive Tax Form 1099 based on the recipient’s status. Determining if receipt of such funds is taxable requires the recipient to consult with their own tax advisor.
  • Unless specifically arranged in advance and approved by DRA, grant-supported expenditures and reimbursements must be concluded by December 31, 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions & Additional Information

  • Click here to review FAQ regarding the Storefront Revitalization Grant.
  • DRA hosted a grant workshop to share more details about the grant program and learn from downtown businesses who have pivoted their business model due to COVID-19 impacts. View a recording of that webinar here.

Contact Information

For more information about applying for this program, contact:

Roxanne Lundy
Project Manager

Grant Application

Applications will be accepted until September 28th.