New Grant Programs Announced

September 25, 2020

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Periodically, the City of Oakland’s Economic & Workforce Development Department (EWDD) will send important updates to businesses, nonprofits, independent contractors and our partner organizations who support them. These are just highlights of available resources. For information on all of the support programs available, please visit our Business & Worker Resource web page.
CARES Act Grant Programs Launched
The City announced three grant programs that are funded by State of California CARES Act dollars to support small businesses, artists and nonprofits impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Consistent with City Council direction and the City’s equity goals, these CARES Act emergency support funds are targeted to those businesses, individuals and organizations that were most marginalized, and excluded from traditional relief sources, including businesses and individuals in Opportunity Zones and other low-income census tracts and those who experienced barriers to accessing relief capital, including previous federal programs.

Through the Oakland CARES Fund for Artists and Arts Nonprofits, $1.425 million in grants will go to support individual artists and arts nonprofit organizations, with awards of up to $20,000 to arts nonprofits and up to $3,000 for individual artists. The application period for artists and arts nonprofit grants will close at 1 p.m. on Friday, October 9, 2020. Eligibility requirements and online applications in four languages are available at:

The Oakland CARES Act Small Business Grant Program will distribute more than $4 million in grants to Oakland small businesses. The $10,000 grants may be used to cover day-to-day operating costs, such as worker payroll, rent and fixed debts. The application period for the small business grants will close at 5 p.m. on Monday, October 12, 2020. Eligibility requirements and online applications in four languages are available at:

A third program, the Oakland CARES Nonprofit Grant Fund, will distribute $850,000 in grants of up to $25,000 to nonprofits currently providing programs and services that address the impact of COVID-19 and the needs of low-income residents and businesses in the following areas:
·         Health & Human Services
·         Economic & Workforce Development
·         Legal Support
·         Food Security
·         Homeless and Renter Support Services
·         Education
The application period for the nonprofit grants will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 14, 2020. Eligibility requirements, webinar details and online applications are available at:

These are the latest CARES Act-funded grant program launched by the City of Oakland. Grant programs for low-income renters and homeowners as well as an RFQ to fund support for low- and moderate-income renters and homeowners were announced earlier this month. Learn more about the $36.9 million in CARES Act Funding at:
On September 17, 2020, a new law (SB 1159) signed by Governor Gavin Newsom expands access to workers’ compensation and makes it easier for first responders, health care workers and people who test positive due to an outbreak at work to get the support they need, including necessary medical care and wage replacement benefits. Read SB 1159 Frequently Asked Questions. The law took effect immediately.

The Governor also signed AB 685 to ensure timely notification to employees and local and state public health officials of COVID-19 cases at workplaces. This notification will help workers take necessary precautions such as seeking testing, getting medical help or complying with quarantine directives. The changes will be in effect from January 1, 2021 until January 1, 2023. Learn more at:

See the links to State Labor Law webinars below.
Alameda County Enters Red Tier
On September 22, the State of California announced that Alameda County is in the Red Tier of the color-coded four-tier Blueprint for a Safer Economy. In a press release, the County indicated there will be no immediate changes to permitted or prohibited activities. Through October 6, County health officials will monitor adjusted caseloads, positivity rates and other metrics to ensure they remain stable. For the list of activities that are currently open and not open in Alameda County, visit:
Grant Opportunity
Essential Business Support Fund and Returning California to Work COVID-19 Safety Protocol Fund is offering grants of up to $10,000 to State Fund policyholders to help defray the cost of safety expenses related to COVID-19 such as the purchase of goggles, masks, gloves, cleaning supplies and services, and worksite modifications. Costs must be primarily related to employee safety. See their FAQ’s for more information. The application period closes September 30.
Upcoming Online Workshops & Webinars
Increasing Customer Engagement During Challenging Times
Monday, September 28, 3 – 5 p.m.
Alameda County SBDC

Restaurant Current Best Practices During COVID
Tuesday, September 29, 9 a.m. – noon
East Bay SCORE
Regular Price: $40; Discounted Price: $15

State Labor Law and Payroll Tax Seminar
Tuesday, September 29, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
California Department of Industrial Relations & Employment Development Department

Make Your Website Work for You
Wednesday, September 30, 10 – 11 a.m.

12th Annual Bay Area Capital Connections Conference
Friday, October 2, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Alliance for Community Development

State Labor Law and Payroll Tax Seminar
Wednesday, October 7, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
California Department of Industrial Relations & Employment Development Department

Use YouTube to Grow Your Business
Wednesday, October 7, 10 – 11 a.m.
Go Biz

Finding Customers/Marketing Your Idea (Online)
Wednesday, October 14, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
East Bay SCORE
Regular Price: $40; Discounted Price: $15

State Labor Law and Payroll Tax Seminar
Wednesday, October 14, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
California Department of Industrial Relations & Employment Development Department

Get Your Business Online With Google
Thursday, October 15, 10:30 a.m. – Noon
East Bay SCORE
Resources for Re-Opening
Visit the City’s Planning Resources for Business Re-Opening website for the latest information on resources to support re-opening, including:
  ·  Alameda County Public Health Department’s Mask Required for Entry Posters
  ·  County screening guidance for employers in multiple languages
  ·  Self-assessment guidance for workers in multiple languages
  ·  Information on cleaning/disinfecting businesses
  ·  Workplace Safety
  ·  ReOpening Guide signs by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Oaklandish and the Economic Recovery Advisory Council, in four languages.

If one of your employees tests positive, please contact Alameda County’s COVID Workplace team at or call (510) 268-2101 to submit a case report and for guidance and next steps. Businesses are required to notify the Alameda County Public Health Department of all positive COVID-19 cases. To learn about COVID-19 testing sites in Oakland, visit

To help the City gauge COVID-19 impacts to your business and what resources would help, please take our brief Business Re-opening and Recovery Survey.
Ongoing Business Support
A list of up-to-date resources, including information about worker benefits, grants, loans and support services for small businesses, nonprofits and independent contractors, can be found on the City of Oakland’s Business & Worker Resource web page. The site is updated regularly as more information becomes available, so please check it often. You are encouraged to: 
  · Take the COVID-19 Business Impact Data Survey, which services as the City’s intake pathway to request one-on-one business assistance

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