California Relief Grant

ROUND 4 & 5

For updates on availability visit here.

On February 23, Governor Newsom signed into law a comprehensive package providing urgent relief for the small businesses of CA.  The package provides an additional $2 billion – a four-fold increase over the $500 million currently being distributed – for grants up to $25,000 for small businesses impacted by the pandemic, and allocates $50 million of this total for non-profit cultural institutions.

Round 4: (Arts & Cultural Program)

  • No waitlist; either accepted or not accepted
  • Applicants can apply for Round 5
  • Round 4 closes March 26th
  • Start of Selection Notifications: March 31st

Round 5:

  • Starts March 25th and closes March 31st
  • Start of Selection Notifications: April 5th
  • Waitlisted applicants from rounds 1 and 2 automatically roll over to Round 5
  • 2019 tax returns required; if they did not upload it in Rounds 1 & 2, they will have to upload it once they get selected.
  • If applicant did not apply for Rounds 1 and 2, they can apply for Round 5.

Round 6: TBD - No dates yet

Round 3 is a CLOSED round and only available to eligible applicants that have been waitlisted in Rounds 1 and 2. Applicants will be selected from the existing pool of waitlisted applicants. Applicants do not need to reapply.

Important Dates for Round 3

Closed Round Opens: March 05, 2021
Closed Round Closes: March 11, 2021
Start of Selection Notifications: March 05, 2021

Round 4, The Arts & Cultural Program, will support California eligible nonprofit cultural institutions defined as registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit entities that satisfy the criteria for a qualified small business, but with no limitation on annual gross revenue, and that are in one of the following North American Industry Classification System codes:

(A) 453920 - Art Dealers
(B) 711110 - Theater Companies and Dinner Theaters.
(C) 711120 - Dance Companies.
(D) 711130 - Musical Groups and Artists.
(E) 711190 - Other Performing Arts Companies.
(F) 711310 - Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events with facilities.
(G) 711320 - Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events without facilities.
(H) 711410 - Agents and Managers for Artists, Athletes, Entertainers, and Other Public Figures
(I) 711510 - Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers.
(J) 712110 - Museums.
(K) 712120 - Historical Sites.
(L) 712130 - Zoos and Botanical Gardens.
(M) 712190 – Nature Parks & Other Similar Institutions
Important Dates for Round 4

Application Opens: March 16, 2021
Application Closes: March 23, 2021
Start of Selection Notifications: TBD


For SBDC Assistance: 

The California SBDC network is your committed business partner and we're standing by to help you overcome the economic challenges in today's marketplace. 

Northern California Businesses

For assistance, connect with your local SBDC office:
Find your nearest NorCal SBDC office.

Central California Businesses

P: 559-241-7406 


Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara SBDC Network

P: 866-588-SBDC (7232) 

Orange County Inland Empire SBDC Network

P: 800-616-SBDC (7232) 


San Diego Imperial SBDC Network

P: 619-482-6388 




Important Application Timelines

ROUND 1 [Closed as of Jan 13, 2021]

Applicants who submitted their application and submitted all documentation in the first round do not need to reapply; qualified applications will be automatically rolled over into the next funding round for consideration.;


- Application Opens TBD
- Application Closes TBD
- Start of Approval Notifications TBD

Round 2 is the final application window for the Program. Grant awards for businesses in the second application window will be made in two decision rounds for funding.



Grant Amounts and Eligibility



A small business or small nonprofit must satisfy the following criteria to be eligible to receive a grant award:

1. Must meet the definition of an “eligible small business”. An “eligible small business” means

(i) a “small business” (sole proprietor, independent contractor, 1099 work, and or registered “for-profit” business entity (e.g., C-corporation, S-corporation, limited liability company, partnership) that has yearly gross revenue of $2.5 million or less (but at least $1,000 in yearly gross revenue) based on most recently filed tax return) or

(ii) a “small nonprofit” (registered 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) nonprofit entity having yearly gross revenue of $2.5 million or less (but at least $1,000 in yearly gross revenue) based on most recently filed Form 990)

2. Active businesses or nonprofits operating since at least June 1, 2019

3. Businesses must currently be operating or have a clear plan to re-open once the State of California permits re-opening of the business

4. Business must be impacted by COVID-19 and the health and safety restrictions such as business interruptions or business closures incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic

5. Business must be able to provide organizing documents including 2018 or 2019 tax returns or Form 990s, copy of official filing with the California Secretary of State, if applicable, or local municipality for the business such as one of the following: Articles of Incorporation, Certificate of Organization, Fictitious Name of Registration or Government-Issued Business License

6. Business must be able to provide acceptable form of government-issued photo ID

7. Applicants with multiple business entities, franchises, locations, etc. are not eligible for multiple grants and are only allowed to apply once using their eligible small business with the highest revenue.


First, applications will be reviewed to determine whether the applicant meets the eligibility requirements. Eligible businesses will then be scored based on COVID-19 impact factors incorporated into the Program’s priority criteria so that distribution can take into account priority key factors, including the following:

1. Geographic distribution based on COVID-19 health and safety restrictions following California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy and county status and the new Regional Stay At Home Order;

2. Industry sectors most impacted by the pandemic; and

3. Underserved small business groups served by the State supported network of small business centers (i.e., businesses majority owned and run on a daily basis by women, minorities/persons of color, veterans and businesses located in low-to-moderate income and rural communities).


Ineligible Businesses

1. Businesses without a physical location in California 
2. Nonprofit businesses not registered as either a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) 
3. Government entities (other than Native American tribes) or elected official offices
4. Businesses primarily engaged in political or lobbying activities (regardless of whether such entities qualify as a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6)) 
5. Passive businesses, investment companies and investors who file a Schedule E on their personal tax returns 
6. Churches and other religious institutions (regardless of whether such entities qualify as a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6)) 
7. Financial businesses primarily engaged in the business of lending, such as banks, finance companies and factoring companies
8. Businesses engaged in any activity that is illegal under federal, state or local law
9. Businesses of a prurient sexual nature, including businesses which present live performances of a prurient sexual nature and businesses which derive directly or indirectly more than de minimis gross revenue through the sale of products or services, or the presentation of any depictions or displays, of a prurient sexual nature
10. Businesses engaged in any socially undesirable activity or activity that may be considered predatory in nature such as rent-to-own businesses and check cashing businesses
11. Businesses that restrict patronage for any reason other than capacity
12. Speculative businesses
13. Businesses of which any owner of greater than 10% of the equity interest in it (i) has within the prior three-years been convicted of or had a civil judgment rendered against such owner, or has had commenced any form of parole or probation (including probation before judgment), for commission of fraud or a criminal offense in connection with obtaining, attempting to obtain, or performing a public (federal, state or local) transaction or contract under a public transaction; violation of federal or state anti-trust or procurement statutes or commission of embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, making false statements, or receiving stolen property, or (ii) is presently indicted for or otherwise criminally or civilly charged by a government entity, (federal, state or local) with commission of any of the offenses enumerated in subparagraph (i) above 
14. “Affiliated” companies (as such term is defined in 13 C.F.R. § 121.103)
15. Multiple business entities, franchises, locations, etc. are not eligible for multiple grants and are only allowed to apply once using their eligible small business with the highest revenue


Find answers to commonly ask questions on this FAQ. Please Note: FAQ will open in a new browser window.

FAQ | California Relief Grant


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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.