Mayor's Disaster Relief Fund Grant & Loan Application Information for Businesses

The use of the City of Cambridge’s Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund for small businesses located in Cambridge will result in the award of grants of up to $10,000, which will not have to be repaid and zero interest loans up to $15,000 from the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority.

The Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund (“MDRF”) will prioritize businesses that have been more severely affected by the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Regardless of the application status, due to the volume of applications received, there is no guarantee that an applicant will receive a grant. The Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund reserves the right to deny any application for a grant if it determines in its judgment that the application does not meet the goals of the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund.

In addition, the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (“CRA”) has announced that it has developed a zero (0%) interest loan program (the “CRA Loan Program”) which is being administered in cooperation with Cambridge Savings Bank and will provide loans of up to $15,000 to small businesses that have qualified to participate in the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund.

The CRA Loan Program will provide interest free loans that will be repaid in five years with nothing owed for the first year and semi-annual installments paid over the remaining four years. The maximum grant/loan amount for each business is $25,000 (up to a $10,000 Grant and up to a $15,000 Loan) or three months of business expenses, whichever is lower.

Allowable business expenses may include the average rent, salaries, utilities and cost of goods, not covered by other programs. If you are eligible for funding from the City’s Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant program, or the City’s Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Grant program administered by the City, you are not eligible for a grant from the MDRF.

You are eligible for the CRA Loan Program if you meet the applicable criteria. 

Guidelines for the Small Business Grants Provided by the City of Cambridge’s Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund & Small Business Zero Interest Loans Provided by the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority are available here. Grant applications are now closed but Small Business Zero Interest Loan applications remain open.

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Learn About Eligibility & What Funds Can Be Used For

Who is eligible to apply for the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund (MDRF) or Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA) Loan?

Please see guidelines for eligibility HERE

Does my business need to be currently in operation?

No, your business does not need to be currently operating but the grant/loan should help in getting your business open immediately or as soon as legally permissible to do so.

Can I use the loan/grant to pay for my personal expenses?

No, your grant/loan must only be used for business purposes such as payroll, rent or other business expenses.

Can I use the loan/grant to pay my salary if I am employee of the small business?

Yes, provided that your salary is for hours worked in the small business as typically paid during normal operations.

If I received a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan or grant related to the COVID19 disaster can I apply for a grant under the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund and or the Loan from the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority?

Yes, provided that the MDRF Grant or the CRA Loan will be used for other allowable business expenses. The funds cannot be used to pay the same business expenses.

I have not heard from the Small Business Administration (SBA) about my loan or grant related to the COVID19 disaster can I still apply for a grant under the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund and or the Loan from the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority?

Yes, provided that the MDRF Grant or the CRA Loan will be used for other allowable business expenses. The funds cannot be used to pay the same business expenses.

I received a $6,000.00 CDBG from the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority am I eligible to apply for a MDFR Grant or CRA Loan?

Yes, you may apply for the MDRF Grant but the amount you will potentially receive will be reduced by the previously grant amount ($10,000 - $6,000) therefore $4,000.00. You may still apply for the full $15,000.00 loan amount from the CRA Loan program for other allowable business expenses

One of the questions asks about if the employer or employees who earn less than $75,000.00 in 2019. Do I and all my employees need to make less than $75,000.00 per year?

No, you need to have at least one employee or yourself make less than $75,000 in 2019 to answer yes to the question.

One of the questions asks about the likelihood the grant and/or loan will allow the small business to navigate the emergency shutdown and eventually return to full operations. What if I am hopefully but not 100% certain that the business will return to full operations?

As long as you firmly believe that the MDRF Grant or CRA Loan will be helpful in navigating your return to full operations you may answer yes. On the other hand if the MDRF Grant or CRA Loan will only allow you to pay outstanding bills and not provide a financial resource to reopen you must answer No.

One of the questions asks about if the employer or employees are City of Cambridge residents. Do I and all my employees need to be Cambridge residents?

No, you do not need to have at least one employee or yourself to be a Cambridge  resident.

Additional Information

If you have questions about the Mayor's Disaster Relief Fund Grant or Loan for Small Businesses, please call 617.349.9775 or email MDRFGrantBusiness@cambridgema.gov for help and/or to be connected to assistance in multiple languages. 

If you have questions, about the CRA Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant, please visit www.cambridgeredevelopment.org/covid-release or contact Carlos Peralta, Program Manager at cperalta@CambridgeRedevelopment.org or 617.492.6800 x1

Find additional funding opportunities for Cambridge small businesses here.

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