Working in partnership with the office of South Carolina governor Henry McMaster and private sector sponsors, the S.C. African American Chamber of Commerce (SCAACC) is hosting a small business grant workshop later this week to assist “minority and small businesses” and nonprofits.
The workshop aims to help these businesses and organizations recover funds that could help them as they navigate treacherous economic times following recent Covid-19-related societal lockdowns.
This week’s event is being held in conjunction with the SC Cares Grant Management Program, “a statewide recovery program” administered with funds from the federal coronavirus stimulus bill.
That program began accepting grant applications on October 19, 2020. The deadline for submitting applications is November 1, 2020. To be eligible, a business must have 25 or fewer employees, be physically located in the Palmetto State and have been in operation since September 13, 2019.
Most importantly, businesses seeking these grants must be able to “demonstrate a financial or operational impact due to Covid-19.”
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Grants range between $2,500 and $25,000 for small businesses and between $2,500 and $50,000 for nonprofits.
“This grant opportunity, particularly for those businesses that are Mom and Pop businesses with 25 employees or less, can be a game changer to sustain small businesses during these unprecedented times,” said Stephen Gilchrist, SCAACC chairman. “We encourage business owners and non-profit leaders to apply.”
According to a news release posted on its website, the SCAACC event will be held on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 (a.k.a. tomorrow) from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. EDT via webinar.
Businesses and nonprofits interested in registering for the event are encouraged to click here. A 3,000-participant limit is set for the gathering, but the McMaster administration will post a recording of the session to its AccelerateSC website as soon as the session is complete.
Our view? As we have previously noted, small businesses are in a bad way in South Carolina right now … so any help they receive is urgently needed.
From the beginning of this crisis, we have argued that relief ought to go where it is needed most (which is actually an echo of our argument during the 2017 tax relief debate). To the extent these grants provide such direct relief, we support them.
We do have concerns, however, that efforts to market this relief program to one segment of the population over another is violative of fundamental fairness – to say nothing of our constitutionally prescribed equal protection standard.
Why not just market these grants to all small businesses?
Furthermore, we have concern that nonprofits in South Carolina are posing an increasingly pernicious threat to liberty and prosperity – and doing so with growing stacks of taxpayer-provided funds.
Back in the spring, S.C. treasurer Curtis Loftis – one of the few elected officials in the Palmetto State who has walked the walk on the issue of spending transparency – wrote a letter to McMaster urging him to be on guard in appropriating funds to these entities.
“While some organizations may be helpful, I am concerned about the lack of requirements for meaningful audits, programmatic oversight and review of these organizations,” Loftis wrote in his letter (.pdf). “Frankly there is little accountability and transparency.”
We share Loftis’ concerns, and do not believe taxpayer-provided coronavirus relief funds should go toward nonprofits that engage in political activism (liberal, conservative or any other type).
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