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Richland County hires third party vendor to consider funding for businesses, nonprofits

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Richland County is taking extra steps to equitably distribute $16 million in available funding because of overwhelming demand for a program that provides relief to businesses and nonprofits impacted by the pandemic.

 In August, the County was allocated the funding through the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to distribute to local businesses and nonprofits negatively affected by COVID-19. When the application period closed in October, the County had received 427 applications for funding, with requests totaling more than $107 million.

 “Because we had such a successful application period with many important projects brought to our attention, the County’s Coronavirus Ad Hoc Committee made the decision to slow things down to maintain integrity in the funding process,” said Richland County Councilwoman Gretchen Barron, who represents District 7. Barron serves as chair of the committee.

Richland County hired third party vendor Guidehouse, formerly Grant Thornton, to assess and score applications based on U.S. Treasury requirements for the funding. All businesses and nonprofits that scored 15 out of a possible 25 on a risk assessment of U.S. Treasury compliance measures will now be evaluated according to the County’s approved scoring rubric. Those applicants will then be considered for allocation of funding by category.

 “Guidehouse will help us determine which projects best meet the guidelines we outlined prior to the start of the application process,” Barron said. “This will allow us to utilize these funds to best meet the needs in our community.”

The County anticipates the process will be complete and Guidehouse’s recommendations ready for Council consideration in February 2023.  Once the process is complete, all applicants will be notified of their application status. Learn more about ARPA on Richland County’s website.

Reach Christina Lee Knauss at 803-753-4327.

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