The County of Berks has announced that applications for grants made possible through the County’s American Rescue Plan funds are now being accepted.
“The Berks County Commissioners are committed to the effective and purposeful deployment of the $81 million the County received from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act to support the community’s response and recovery from the COVID- 19 pandemic” reads a statement from the County.
Grants are intended to provide one-time financial support to specific projects that will have a positive and lasting impact for all residents.
Grants are available for municipalities, businesses and nonprofits serving Berks that have projects that meet the County’s review criteria. The criteria evaluates each project’s long-term benefit to the County, preparation and needs, support for communities that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and if the project has collaboration and support from other community partners and organizations.
“The funding made available through the American Rescue Plan Act gives us the unique opportunity to support initiatives that will strengthen the foundation of our community,” Grants Coordinator Karra Mayo said. “The County hopes to maximize the impact of these funds by selecting projects and collaborations that will create long-term benefits for future generations.”
Applications are available now on the County’s ARP webpage at countyofberks.com/ARP. The form can be filled out electronically or printed and filled out by hand. Completed applications must be returned by March 31 by email to ARP@countyofberks.com. Questions should be directed to Karra Mayo, Grants Coordinator, at ARP@countyofberks.com. The County will be hosting virtual informational programs during the 60-day application period to provide guidance and answer questions from potential applicants.
A separate application form is available for water and sewer related projects due to the very specific technical nature of such projects. The water and sewer project application is designed to collect the necessary details that are unique to these types of infrastructure projects.
The County Commissioners agreed Tuesday to provide an $18 million pool of funds to be used for grants in 2022, followed by $12 million in 2023.
The maximum amount an applicant can request is the lesser of $1 million or 25% of the total project cost. The County may award an amount less than what was requested, based on demonstrated need and available resources.
All grant applications will first be reviewed and evaluated by a committee of community stakeholders and then presented to the Commissioners for approval. The county anticipates announcing the 2022 grant recipients starting in June.
The County has also launched the Berks County Recovery Survey to allow the public to provide feedback about what focus areas should be considered the highest priority when awarding funding. The survey also allows users to submit project ideas and sign up for email updates about the ARP process. The survey is available in English: surveymonkey.com/r/BerksRecoverySurvey, and Spanish: surveymonkey.com/r/Encuesta-de-recuperacion-de-Berks