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What you Need to Know About Facebook’s COVID-19 Grant Program in Des Moines

By Glenn Martin | Digital Marketing Director
the skyline of downtown Des Moines at sunrise

Facebook announced that they would be awarding up to 30,000 grants to eligible small businesses in more than 30 countries where they operate. Because Facebook has a large presence in Altoona, Iowa, these grants are available to any business in Polk County. Facebook believes that for small businesses, a little financial support can go a long way, so they are offering a $4,000 grant for the recipients in the US ($2,500 cash, $1,500 in optional ads credits) to help during this challenging time. To be eligible to apply, you must:

  • Be a for-profit company
  • Have between 2 and 50 employees
  • Have been in business for over a year
  • Have experienced challenges from COVID-19
  • Be in or near a location where Facebook operates

Gather Your Documents

To complete your application, you’ll need at least one of the following documents:

  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
  • Partnership documents
  • Business license
  • Proof of incorporation
  • Official registration

The application for a Facebook grant will ask you to share your contact information, brief summary about your business, and how you would use the cash grant.

Plan How to Help Your Community

In your application, help Facebook understand how you would use your grant funds to make an impact on your business or in your community. For example, you could use the grant to continue paying employees, or to provide critical services through pickup and delivery methods.

What to Expect After you Apply

After applications become available in your area, you will have approximately 2 weeks to apply before the application deadline. In Polk County, the applications are open from April 11 9:00 AM until April 28, 2020 10:59 PM (CDT). Facebook will then need a few weeks to review your application, ask follow up questions, and select their finalists before announcing grant recipients.

The Application Process

Step 1: Go to the Facebook Grants Page

Begin the application process here: https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/grants

Step 2: Click on ‘See Available Locations’

Once the window pops up, choose the location of the United States and the city/area of Altoona, IA / Polk County.

screenshot of the online application

Step 3: Continue to Partner Site

Click the continue button at the bottom of the page, which will open up a page with Ureeka, the partner Facebook is using to collect applications.

Step 4: Register

Click the ‘Register’ button in the top right corner of the page and create an account. You can either use your Facebook, Twitter or G-Suite account to create an account, or register using your name and email.

Step 5: Fill out Eligibility Profile

The next step is to determine if your business is eligible for the grant. It is important that you answer these questions correctly the first time, because you cannot change the responses once they’re saved.

The questions you need to answer are:

  1. Is your company headquartered in an eligible US state or territory? (must answer “yes” to be eligible)
  2. Where is your company headquartered? (must choose ‘Altoona’ for Polk County)
    1. What zip code or postal code is your company headquartered?
    2. The application will list only the eligible Polk County zip codes
  3. Are you the founder or business owner of the company you’re applying for? (must answer “yes” to be eligible)
  4. Is your business for-profit? (must answer “yes” to be eligible)
  5. How many employees does your business have? (must be between 2 and 50 to be eligible)
  6. Has your company been established for at least one year? (must answer “yes” to be eligible)
  7. Can you provide proof that your company has been established for at least a year via legal documents (Incorporation, FEIN, Partnership, Official Registration, Business License)? (must answer “yes” to be eligible)
  8. Will the grant help your business offset the impacts of COVID-19? (must answer “yes” to be eligible)
  9. Does your business promote any of the following? (must answer “no” to be eligible)
    1. Products, services, or activities that are illegal
    2. Tobacco and Related Products
    3. Illegal, Prescription, Recreational Drugs, or Unsafe Supplements
    4. Weapons, Ammunition, or Explosives
    5. Adult Products or Services
    6. Penny Auctions
    7. Multilevel Marketing
    8. Third-Party Infringement
    9. Payday Loans, Paycheck Advances, or Bail Bonds
    10. Discriminatory Advertising
    11. Social Issues, Elections or Politics
    12. State Lotteries
    13. Cosmetic Procedures and Weight Loss
    14. Real Money Gambling
    15. Alcohol
  10. Are you, a member of your household (whether or not related), or any of your immediate family members an employee of either Facebook, Inc. or Ureeka, Inc.? (must answer “no” to be eligible)

Step 6: Apply for the Small Business Grant

If your business is eligible for the Facebook small business grant, the next screen will have information about it. Click more, and then “Apply” on the next page.

The application has six parts:

  1. Contact Information
  2. Company Profile
  3. Company Background
  4. Use of Grant
  5. Business Proof
  6. Terms & Conditions

Contact Information

Fill out your business’s contact information

Company Profile

Fill out your company profile, including your address and website. You will also need to create a 200-word introduction of your business that will help Facebook determine the success of their grant to your company. “They ask: We want to get to know you and your business so we can learn how to help you get through this.”

Company Background

Facebook is interested in the demographic information of people applying for their grant. It is not mandatory to answer these, but they ask questions about race, gender and other minority statuses.

Use of Grant

This is how you plan on using the $4,000 grant, if awarded. You will be asked how you plan to use the grant to help your business manage through COVID-19, and how you would use the grant to make an impact on your local community.

You will need to come up with another 200 words to describe your situation, which is vital here, because this is likely how Facebook will be determining who receives the grant.

Business Proof

This is a required section to provide your FEIN and upload proof that you have been in business for over 1 year. Forms of proof include Proof of Incorporation, FEIN, Partnership, Official Registration, or a Business License.

Terms & Conditions

Once you have completed the other areas of the application, you must agree to the terms and conditions of the grant. After that is complete, you are ready to submit your application.

The Next Steps

After you submit your application for the Facebook small business grant, they have stated that it will take approximately 2 weeks to respond and determine any winners of the grants.

Facebook has not announced how many grants are going to be awarded in each geographic area, but this will hopefully deliver some much needed relief to the Des Moines community because of the corona virus outbreak.

If you are a small business owner and have questions or need help navigating the application, feel free to reach out to the Webspec team. We’re here to help out in any way we can.

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Glenn Martin

Glenn grew up primarily in Ames and graduated from the University of Iowa with a double major of Russian and Linguistics. During high school and college, he studied abroad in the Czech Republic and in Moscow. Prior to joining Webspec, he worked at a large tech company, dealing with domains, websites and servers, ending up in a training role teaching others. In his free time, Glenn enjoys cooking, traveling, reading and spending time with his wife and dog Temari.