Small Business Grant Program Funded by the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund and the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority

The City of Cambridge announced the availability of $600,000 in grants for Cambridge small businesses through the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund (MDRF) and the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA).
Thank you for your interest in the Small Business Grant Program funded through the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund (MDRF) and the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA).

The grant program is now closed for applications. Grant applications closed on May 7, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.
 

The Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund (“MDRF”) & the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (“CRA”) will prioritize businesses that have not received prior funding. Regardless of the application status, due to the volume of applications received, there is no guarantee that an applicant will receive a grant nor receive the maximum possible amount of grant funds. The Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund & the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority reserve 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 & the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority guidelines.

The maximum grant/loan amount for each business is $6,000. Allowable business expenses may include the person protective equipment, average rent, salaries, utilities, cost of goods, and outdoor dining infrastructure costs not covered by other programs.

Link to Grant Program Flier

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply for the grants funded by the City of Cambridge’s Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund for Small Businesses and the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority ?

Please see guidelines for eligibility HERE.

Who cannot apply to this grant program?

  1. A chain business that is not locally franchised.
  2. Businesses and owners/operators whose businesses have delinquent invoices due to the City of Cambridge other than FY2020.
  3. Restaurants that have an outstanding health code violation issued against them by the City of Cambridge.
  4. Cambridge residents with businesses located outside the City of Cambridge.
  5. Non-profit organizations.
  6. Applicants who are not in compliance with any federal, state or local laws or regulations, including those pertaining to zoning and licensing.

Can non-profit organizations apply to this grant program?

No.

What can a business use the grant for?

Allowable business expenses may include:

  • personal protective equipment
  • average rent
  • salaries
  • utilities
  • cost of goods
  • and outdoor dining infrastructure, including tables, chairs, and patio barriers, not covered by other programs.

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

No, your grant must only be used for business purposes such as payroll, rent, personal protective equipment, outdoor dining infrastructure, or other business expenses.

Can I use the 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.

Does an MDRF grant need to be repaid?

No. An MDRF grant does not need to be repaid.

What is the application deadline?

Friday, May 7, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EDT

What is the application review process?

Applications will be reviewed after May 7, 2021. Applications will be ranked on the basis of the points awarded according to the scoring process (described in the next FAQ).

What is the scoring process?

Points will be awarded for each item achieved below.

Funding Priorities & Policies (20 Points for Each Item Achieved):

  1. Small businesses who have not received any funding from other COVID-19 relief programs, including the City’s Small Business Relief, Recovery, and Winter grant, the CRA’s Small Business Grant program, the CRA’s Loan program, State’s MGCC program and the SBA EIDL or PPP programs.
  2. Small businesses who make or have (and retain) employees who make less than $75,000.
  3. The grant and will promote small business activity owned by one of the following -Cambridge resident, Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), Women (WBE), Service-Disabled Veteran (SDVOBE), Veteran (VBE), Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender (LGBTQ) and Disabled-Owned Business Enterprise (DOBE) (status in these categories must be documented with evidence of proper certification).

Business Operation Considerations (5 Points for Each Item Achieved)

  1. Small businesses that had 2019 gross operating revenues of less than $1,000,000.
  2. Small businesses that have been in operation for at least three years.
  3. Small businesses that have brick and mortar retail, restaurant or personal service operations.
  4. Small businesses that employ at least one Cambridge resident.
  5. Small businesses employing disabled veterans.

If there is a tie between applicants, the following criteria may also be considered:

(a) how funds would be used by the business

(b) how many full-time employees were employed prior to the COVID-1- Pandemic; and (c) how many full-time employees are currently employed.

Please Note:

Applicants who previously received funds from Federal, State or local sources, including the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority’s grant or loan programs will receive lower ranking than those who have received no funding. This includes funds previously received for Payroll, Rent, Utilities, Outdoor dining infrastructure (seating, patio heaters, tables, etc.), and Personal Protective Equipment.

Will every application with a high point score get a grant?

No. Regardless of the application status, due to the volume of applications received, there is no guarantee that an applicant will receive a grant nor receive the maximum possible amount of grant funds.

What documents will I need to attach to my application?

  • If your business has been open for two years or more - The last two (2) years of your tax returns or the schedule C of your personal tax returns.
  • If your business has been open for less than two years
    • The last two (2) years of your personal tax returns
    • A copy of your Cambridge Business Certificate or State Articles of Incorporation

Will an application be reviewed if it is missing documents or information?

No. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

When will I know if my application has been successful?

  • All grant applications will be reviewed after the May 7, 2021 application deadline.
  • You will receive an automatic email when you submit your application.
  • By the end of May, you will receive another email letting you know whether or not your application was successful and if you will receive a grant. Grant funds will be distributed after that.

What is the maximum grant award?

The maximum grant award will be $6,000.00.

Does my business need to be currently in operation?

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

If I received other federal, state, or local funds, including a Cambridge Redevelopment Authority grant or loan related to the COVID19 disaster can I apply for this grant?

Yes, provided that the grant will be used for other allowable business expenses. The funds cannot be used to pay the same business expenses. In addition, preference will be given to businesses that have not previously received funding.

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 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.

What do I do if I have questions or need more information?

You can contact City staff by phone or by email:

More Information

If you have questions, please call 617-349-9775 or email MDRFGrantBusiness@cambridgema.gov for help and/or to be connected to assistance in multiple languages.  

Contact Us

How can we help?

Please provide as much detail below as possible so City staff can respond to your inquiry:

As a governmental entity, the Massachusetts Public Records Law applies to records made or received by the City. Any information received through use of this site is subject to the same provisions as information provided on paper.

Read our complete privacy statement


Service Requests

Enter a service request via Commonwealth Connect for things like missed trash pickups, potholes, etc.