Loan Match Grant

Application Deadline: Please stay tuned for our next deadline in the Fall of 2017.

The Merchants Fund is committed to providing for the economic needs of the merchant community with modest grants.  Merchants must be located in Philadelphia for a minimum of three years.  Grants of between $1,000 and $20,000 are available to current merchants in several forms, including Business Loan matches from accredited government programs and banks.  Loan matches may not be used to pay off debts or existing loans or a loan to be obtained.  We recommend starting the loan application simultaneously to the application to TMF.

The Merchants Fund does not support:

  • New ventures
  • Home businesses moving to commercial real estate and the related expenses
  • Businesses holding only an off premises liquor license
  • Working capital grants
  • Excluded businesses: lawyers, doctors, accountants, brokers (insurance, real estate, stock), consultants, and other professionals. Please call if you are unsure whether your business is qualified to be considered for a grant.

The Merchants Fund does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, or disability.

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Be a US Citizen (including naturalized citizens) or resident alien.
  2. Operate in Philadelphia.
  3. Have been in business no less than 3 years.
  4. Be a Sole Proprietor or the majority owner and an active employee of an incorporated business.
  5. Depend upon the business as a primary source of income.

Instructions & Application Process

If you meet all of the qualifications, please complete and submit the application form (PDF) by the deadline. Fill in all the blanks and answer all questions. If a question does not apply to you, answer ‘Not Applicable.’ Provide three references including phone numbers.

Please send all required supporting materials to, or by mail to 1528 Walnut St. Suite 1004, Philadelphia, PA 19102. Please note: All supplemental materials must be submitted the same day as your application, whether it’s an online submission or a mailed submission.   If you are mailing documents to our physical address, please make sure the post-marked date coincides with the date of your electronic submission. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Successful applicants for grants from The Merchants Fund demonstrated some or all of the following qualities:

  1. strong ties to the community
  2. a partnership with a sponsoring agency such as a community development corporation (CDC)
    assisting the merchant before and after the grant process
  3. a clear plan for the use of the grant with details about short term and long term goals for
    stabilization, improvement and growth i.e. solutions to problems or concrete plans for the
  4. the capacity to generate increased revenue or other new business opportunities as a result of the grant
  5. improvements made to the merchant’s business are also good for the surrounding community,
    corridor, or are part of a plan for the neighborhood
  6. realistic budgets or good estimates of the cost of projects, capital improvements, equipment
    purchases, etc. which equal the grant amount requested including loans or personal funds or
    contributions from state, city and agency funds
  7. in the case of facade improvements there should be an understanding of aesthetic conventions such as attractive signage, neighborhood color schemes, involvement of a designer or other professional, visual marketing, see-through security grates, respect for existing architectural detail, etc.

The review process is very thorough and will touch on all aspects of your business from customers to financials.  A preliminary review may require written responses to specific questions mailed or emailed to you. Respond to all questions in a timely fashion and in writing so that your responses can be added to your file. Again, please call if you questions.  If you chose not to respond, your application review will not proceed.

Preliminary decisions are issued a few weeks after the grant deadline. TMF does not give out grant decisions over the phone. You will be sent an email or a letter.

Checks and grant documents are issued as soon as possible after the Program Committee meets.  We issue checks and payments to the vendor. TMF never repays already paid commitments.

Your application will be reviewed by a member of The Merchants Fund staff. He or she may make a site visit to your place of business. You may also be asked additional questions about your business and or your grant request. If your application passes preliminary review you will be required to submit supporting business and financial documentation outlined below and other documents as specified. If your application passes preliminary review, it will be reviewed by the Program Committee of The Merchants Fund Board of Managers. The Program Committee will determine if you will receive a grant or business loan match. Again, there is no guarantee of funding. You will be notified in writing of the Program Committee’s decision.  You will be notified in writing of the Program Committee’s decision.  Provide required financial documents.

Proof of income and expenses are:

  • 3 years of state income tax returns
  • 3 years of Philadelphia city income tax returns (if applicable)
  • 3 years of federal income tax returns
  • Current profit and loss statement

Other documentation that may be required are as follows: 

  • Copies of current business licenses
  • Current business plan, if available

** Don’t forget to sign your application.**

Please refer to our Applications Page to access the PDF and electronic applications