A Third of Grant Applicants to Receive Funds



A Third of Grant Applicants to Receive Funds

There has been a good bit of news for some restaurants around Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware this week. A third of them that applied have been awarded Revitalization Fund grants to put into their establishments during these tough times. Although many states are opening back up, restaurants were the hardest hit of the businesses. Fast food and delivery restaurants did okay, but dine-in restaurants were forced to close down in these states across the board, and around 80% of them shut down completely. Of the remaining 20% that managed to weather the storm, they're still struggling a lot, but at least a third of them got some good news this week about their potential future in business.

These grants average out to a little over $200,000 each, but many thousands of restaurants applied. These are the same federal grants you may have heard about that came from the government stimulus bill and then made their way to the Small Business Administration. The recipients were announced at the end of June, so many of the recipients have already started to receive that money. Unfortunately, most businesses that did not receive grants will not be notified. They will simply not receive any money and will have to figure it out. There's really not enough infrastructure, they claim, to notify all of these businesses individually. Unless you have been awarded a grant, you'll never end up hearing about it.

There are stipulations on these grants. The money has to be used toward the restaurant itself. Perhaps fixing it up, paying down outstanding bills, paying employees, etc. The owners cannot pocket the money to pay any of their personal expenses. Since the money is for the revitalization of restaurants, that's what it has to be used for.

With a lot of government grants handed over during the pandemic, the government added some stipulations that basically turned them into loans. A loan isn't a grant, of course. A grant is money that's given without the expectation of repayment. However, government did expect repayment for many of their grants though still insisted on calling them grants. As far as we can tell here, the Revitalization Fund grants do not have to be repaid by these restaurants, so they are technically what grants are supposed to be. The government figures that a successful business is tax revenue, so they chalk it up to an economic investment that should pay off regardless.

Don't Worry; the Math Never Adds Up

There have been quite a few of these stories over the past few weeks. "Only 1/3 of grant applicants receive funds from $10 billion grant pool." These stories differ in dollar amount but hardly ever in percentage of applicants vs. recipients. So, what happens to the rest of the money? Where does it all go? The truth is, nobody really knows. Media, which used to cover these sorts of things intently up until around the Vietnam war, now totally ignore these stories. It might have something to do with the fact that the same few corporations own all the media, or it could just be that they don't view trillions of dollars in monetary waste as news. No one really knows.

What we do know, however, is that grant programs claim poverty but can never actually prove it. For instance, the Small Business Administration had nearly $100 billion to hand out in grants after the first Covid relief bill of 2020. By the time the second bill came along, they claimed they were out of funds and needed more, though in actuality they only awarded around 1/3 of the grants they were supposed to deliver. So, where did that money go? Again, no one knows. All we know is that it's the same story, time and again. It seems like for every dollar the government spends, $0.66 is unaccounted for and life goes on without anyone ever really investigating the issue.

It's a good thing that a third of the restaurants that applied for revitalization grants got them, but it's a bad thing that this is very likely only a third of the money that was available in the pool. This means that two-thirds of the restaurants will not receive a single penny in funding and will have to fend for themselves. There's something extremely broken in the American federal grant system, and nobody seems too eager to even discuss it, much less fix it.



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