Dear APAP Members,
Thank you to those of you who have already taken the APAP COVID-19 Relief survey and for sharing with us your experience accessing much needed funding. The information you provide is crucial as APAP continues to advocate on your behalf. If you haven't taken the survey, please take the survey now.
To those of you considering applying for a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, we are reaching out to address some common concerns about SVOG in the hopes of bringing clarity to this process which is still being developed. An application open date has not yet been announced.
While the SBA has the final authority in handling applications, APAP, in its work with advocacy partners, has ascertained the following from the legislation and the FAQs the SBA has provided to date.
Here are answers to a few of the questions you and your colleagues have raised so far.
Do you need to own a venue to be eligible?
No. By our reading of the SVOG FAQs, not owning a venue does not disqualify you from eligibility. However, if you are a live venue operator, producer or promoter, the venues at which you promote, produce, manage or host events need to meet the eligibility criteria.
Is application priority based on gross revenue or gross earned revenue?
As far as we have been advised, this is still being determined. However, for the purposes of preparing to apply for the grant, you should calculate the extent of gross earned revenue loss you experienced between 2019 and 2020, as "applicants must demonstrate a minimum 25% decline in gross earned revenue in one calendar quarter of 2020, compared to the same quarter in 2019, to qualify to apply."
Are live performing arts producers eligible?
There is no reason we see that producers could not be eligible per the legislation, guidelines and FAQs.
Can a performing arts center owned and operated by the government be eligible?
Yes. It is clearly noted in the SVOG FAQs that being such an entity does not disqualify you if you meet all other eligibility requirements.
If your organization is part of a university or college, could you be eligible?
The new FAQs state that "If a university-based eligible entity lacks separate legal existence from its parent university, or has separate legal existence but is majority owned and controlled by the university, it will have to look to the gross revenue of its parent university when determining whether it passes the barrier against having more than 10% of its 2019 gross revenue come from Federal sources (excluding disaster assistance). If a university owns less than a majority of an eligible entity with separate legal existence, the entity only needs to consider whether more than 10% of its own 2019 gross revenue came from Federal funding." Although we don't have statistics on which university or college-based performing arts organizations are majority-owned, this eligibility requirement would appear to be unfavorable to many. Please let us know if this impacts you by taking the survey or updating your survey responses.
When will the application process open?
At the time this email was sent, an application open date had not yet been announced, but an announcement is expected soon. We know that this has caused concern especially as it pertains to those deciding between SVOG, the Paycheck Protection Program and other relief options. We are voicing our collective concern to the SBA as we work to maximize support for the field.
Will the money run out?
While we cannot predict how many organizations will apply to SVOG, together with our advocacy partners, we have been advocating for the necessary funding to support the entire field, as well as helping to educate the SBA about our industry.
What do I need to prepare before applying?
While as of the release of this email, the application process has not yet opened, there are many things you can do to prepare. Be sure to closely review the Application section in the SVOG FAQs as the grant system requires that you preregister with the federal government. As you prepare, you may also find it useful to have the contact information for the SAM.gov Federal Service Desk (1-866-606-8220) and the information posted on the SAM.gov website and the SAM User Guides.
Where else might I get assistance?
While information on the process is still in progress, we recommend that you reach out to your local SBA office. Also, some regions have technical assistance available, such as the CIty of New York, so we recommend that you check with local and state government arts agencies or even do an internet search for possible resources in your region.
Thank you for your support as we work to share the latest information and to advocate on your behalf.
Lisa Richards Toney
President and CEO, APAP