Loan Match Grant

Application Deadline: Applications are currently close.  The next grant cycle will open in January 2018.

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. Business Stabilization grants of up to $10,000 are available to help small businesses remain stable and viable in the face of economic challenges, changes, opportunities, and crisis.

The application process is competitive. There is no guarantee of an award. We recommend that merchants explore other funding sources simultaneously to the grant application process. Please make sure to read the entirety of this page before you submit your Stabilization Grant application.

 

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. Operate in Philadelphia
  2. Have been in business no less than 3 years
  3. Be a Sole Proprietor or the majority owner and an active employee of an incorporated business
  4. Depend upon the business as a primary source of income

For examples of past grantees and their projects, please visit our Grantee Stories page.

Instructions & Application Process

If you meet all of the qualifications on page one of the application, please complete and submit the rest of the application form (PDF or online) by the deadline. NOTE: You must call 215-399-1339 to review your project proposal with our Executive Director and determine your eligibility. Fill in all the blanks and answer all questions. If a question does not apply to you, answer ‘Not Applicable.’

You will be asked to submit supplemental materials with your application. Please send all required supplemental materials via email to info@merchantsfund.org, 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.

Supplemental Materials due with your application MAY include a:

  • Current Year-to-date profit and loss statement
  • List of depreciated assets
  • Detailed project description
  • Any licences or permits we may request
  • And any other supplemental materials request at the time of the applications submission
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
    business
  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 after your application submission may require responses to specific questions.  The Merchants Fund may email, call, or follow up with you via USPS mail.  Respond to all questions in a timely fashion and we may ask you to respond specifically 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 with your grant decision and instructions on how to proceed. 

Checks and grant documents are issued as soon as possible after the Program Committee meets.  We issue checks and payments to the vendor NOT the grantee. 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.  You must provide required financial documents and supplemental materials.

Proof of income and expenses are:

  • 3 years of Philadelphia city income tax returns (if applicable)
  • 3 years of state income tax returns
  • 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