The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) today announced that applications are open for Sustain and Serve NJ, a $2 million grant program that will provide funding to organizations to purchase meals from New Jersey-based restaurants that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. More information and the program application are available at https://business.nj.gov/covid/eligibility-for-sustain-and-serve. Applications are due by January 8, 2021.
While restaurants may not directly apply for Sustain and Serve NJ grants, restaurants interested in providing meals through the program may opt to have their information posted publicly on the NJ COVID-19 Business Information Hub by completing the Sustain and Serve NJ Restaurant Interest Form available at https://forms.business.nj.gov/ssnj/restaurants/interest/.
“The NJEDA’s COVID-19 relief efforts have prioritized supporting industries and communities that have been the most severely impacted by the pandemic. We know the restaurant industry has been hit particularly hard, and we are committed to ensuring restaurants have the resources they need to stay in business while keeping their employees and customers safe,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Phase 3 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program committed more than $35 million in targeted funding to restaurants. Now Sustain and Serve NJ builds on that with additional relief for our restaurant sector. This is crucial to ensuring New Jersey’s communities and economy withstand the pandemic and are in a strong position to recover.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit restaurants harder than almost any other industry. Without assistance, 37 percent of New Jersey restaurant owners predict they will have to close in the next six months. To support restaurants impacted by the pandemic, Sustain and Serve NJ makes up to $2 million of funding from the NJEDA Economic Recovery Fund available to organizations in New Jersey. Eligible organizations will receive grants of at least $100,000 for bulk purchases of meals from New Jersey-based restaurants.
The program is open to entities that are legally registered to do business in New Jersey and are in good standing with the New Jersey Department of Labor and the New Jersey Division of Taxation, including 501(c) non-profit organizations. Grant applicants will be required to demonstrate prior bulk purchases of 3,000 or more meals valued at $50,000 or more from New Jersey-based restaurants since March 9, 2020.
In addition to meeting these requirements, applicants will need to identify the restaurant or restaurants from which they will be purchasing meals. To receive funding, participating restaurants must have 50 or fewer employees; maintain a physical commercial location in New Jersey; be legally registered to do business in New Jersey; be in good standing with the New Jersey Department of Labor, New Jersey Division of Taxation, and (where applicable) the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control; and possess valid certification from municipal or county government inspection showing a current rating of Satisfactory per the New Jersey Retail Food Establishment Rating system. Restaurants will also have to certify that they were in operation on or before February 15, 2020, and detail how their business has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Applications for Sustain and Serve NJ grants are due by January 8th, 2021. Restaurants may not directly apply for grants, but may express interest in the program and have their information posted publicly by completing the Sustain and Serve NJ Restaurant Interest Form. Applicants can refer to the list of restaurants that have expressed interest when deciding where to purchase meals. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement from NJEDA as to eligibility and applicants are strongly advised to exercise due diligence when selecting participating restaurants.
Grant funding awarded through the Sustain and Serve NJ Program will be restricted to expenses related to the direct cost of purchasing meals, as determined by participating restaurant(s). This cost may include the restaurant’s cost of food and ingredients, labor, packaging, facilities, and profit margin. Sales tax and gratuity cannot be paid for using grant funds. Reimbursement will be capped at $10 per meal. No other expense incurred by the grantee, whether in support of the meal purchase from the restaurant or otherwise, is eligible. Grant funding can only be used to support expenses incurred between the date of grant execution and April 30, 2021.
In addition to Sustain and Serve NJ, the NJEDA administers a variety of grant, low-cost financing, and technical assistance programs for small and mid-sized businesses impacted by COVID-19, including $35 million of targeted grant funding for restaurants through Phase 3 of the Authority’s Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. Comprehensive information about these programs and other State support for businesses impacted by the pandemic is available at https://cv.business.nj.gov.
About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.