FAQ

In order to qualify for the Together Now fund program, you must… 

  1. Own / operate a business or not-for-profit in Chicago with no more than 100 employees and
  2. Have experienced economic distress and loss due to COVID-19 on or after March 1, 2020 (i.e., at least 25% revenue loss) or have experienced damage or theft from the events on the weekend of May 29, 2020 and beyond.

The following businesses are not eligible:

  • chain businesses (regional or national chains), including franchises
  • not-for-profit social clubs or not-for-profit organizations that have a national affiliation
  • branch banks
  • pay day loan stores
  • pawn shops
  • astrology or palm reading establishments
  • night clubs (excluding music venues, which are eligible)
  • adult bookstores
  • massage parlors
  • strip clubs or adult entertainment facilities
  • track waging facilities
  • trailer-storage yards
  • junk yards
  • cannabis dispensaries
  • religious institutions / places of worship
  • any uses similar to those listed above

Any not-for-profits with a cultural or commercial business component are eligible (e.g., workforce training center or free health center).

Yes, property owners are eligible. However, the property owner and business owner for the same business location may not both receive the same infrastructure repair grant.

Undocumented business owners are eligible for infrastructure repair grants but not for operational cost grants due to restrictions with the respective funding sources.

The grants are meant to provide small businesses and not-for-profits in Chicago with the resources they need to reopen and continue to operate. Two grant types are available: physical infrastructure repair grant and operational cost support grant.

  • The infrastructure grant must be used to repair physical infrastructure damage (e.g., broken window, door, security gates, interior walls, or building mechanicals) that was experienced as a result of the events on the weekend of May 29, 2020 and beyond.
  • The operational cost grant must be used for necessary operating cost needs (e.g., replenishment of inventory) that arose as a result of economic losses experienced due to COVID-19 on or after March 1, 2020.

Grants may not be used for severance pay, workforce bonuses other than hazard pay or overtime, property taxes, legal settlements, expenditures that will be reimbursed through another federal program, or reimbursement to other parties for goods or services previously donated. Each business owner is eligible to apply for up to one infrastructure grant and one operational cost grant.

No, only W-2 employees are included in the number of employees.

To be eligible, a business must have 100 or fewer Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employees. Part-time employees contribute to the FTE count.

Businesses must have had 100 or fewer employees prior to the COVID-19 outbreak (~March 2020).

The application must be completed and submitted by the owner of the business. If two or more owners have equal ownership of the business, then one of the owners must complete the application. For not-for-profits, the Executive Director must be listed as the business owner in the application, and if selected, the grant will be awarded to the organization.

Applications will be accepted online from June 20, 2020. The application deadline is June 29, 2020.

(stars indicate required documentation)

Proof of Identity

  • Driver’s License, State ID, CityKey ID, or Consular Identification Card

Proof of Ownership

  • Business bank statement from 2020 that includes the business address and name, or Schedule C (sole proprietorship) or tax documentation (i.e., proof of business address)
  • Valid Chicago business license, State license (if required), or other proof of business or not-for-profit operations within the City
  • Completed Form W-9 (access a fillable form here: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf)
  • Site lease or deed
  • 501(c)(3) approval, if applicable

Proof of Damage

  • Photos of physical infrastructure damage and any other available proof, if applicable
  • Copy of insurance claim, if applicable
  • Copy of building permit / application, copy of signed contract listing scope of work and costs, invoice for completed landmark building repair work, and photographs of completed work, if applicable
  • Copy of repair quote(s) from vendors, if applicable

The following community-based partner organizations will assist in screening applicants and confirming eligibility:

  • Accion Serving Illinois and Indiana
  • Chicago Community Loan Fund
  • Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives Micro Finance Group
  • Chicago Urban League
  • SomerCor
  • Women’s Business Development Center

The partner organizations will select grant recipients through a lottery system and distribute funds via bank transfer within 4-6 weeks after the application deadline (or after submission of paid invoice(s) for any landmark building receiving a physical infrastructure grant).

Grants will be distributed after the application deadline through a lottery system. Funds will be allocated equitably across the City based on economic loss experienced due to COVID-19 and damage or theft experienced from the events on the weekend of May 29 and beyond.

Applicants will be notified of their status via email within 3 weeks after the application deadline.

Each business owner is eligible to apply for up to one infrastructure grant and one operational cost grant to help recover from economic loss experienced due to COVID-19 on or after March 1, 2020 and damage or theft from the events on the weekend of May 29, 2020 and beyond.

Recipients of infrastructure grants will receive up to $10,000 via bank transfer for damage or theft from the events on the weekend of May 29 and beyond, and recipients of operational cost grants will receive up to $4,000 via bank transfer to help recover from economic loss experienced due to COVID-19 on or after March 1, 2020.

Submitting bank account information helps us process payments for grant recipients as quickly as possible. The online application process is fully secure, and you can be assured that none of your information will be sold or shared beyond the partner organizations.

Yes. The information you provide will not be sold or shared beyond the partner organizations.

Questions can be submitted via these webforms: