Project Community: Helping Small Businesses

As Oregon prepares to reopen we’ve decided to turn our attention to small businesses, who've also been hit hard with unexpected challenges due to COVID-19.

When Project Community began, our goal was to fulfill needs in the communities we serve. Over the years, we’ve planted trees at an arboretum, painted classrooms, organized books at libraries, cleaned up city parks, and most recently surprised teachers with in-class donations fulfilling their special project wishes. 

This year, with the COVID-19 pandemic upending school districts' plans for the year, we donated $30,000 to school districts in our service areas to help offset the costs of supporting distance learning.

Now as Oregon prepares to reopen we’ve decided to turn our attention to small businesses, who've also been hit hard with unexpected challenges due to the pandemic.

We have a total of $30,000 available to help small businesses purchase personal protective equipment (PPE)! 

Applications closed on July 20, 2020. See the winners on our blog.

Grants for Small Businesses

This year, Project Community funding will allow qualifying small businesses and established nonprofits an opportunity to safely reopen and operate while protecting employees and customers from the spread of COVID-19.

Each grant can be up to $1,500 per qualifying small business or established nonprofit for purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE). 

Grants must be used for PPE and small physical modifications to business locations:

  • Cleaning & sanitizing products 
  • Eyewear 
  • Face shields
  • Gloves
  • Gowns
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Masks
  • Thermometers
  • Signage

Who Can Apply?

You can apply for a Project Community mini-grant if you meet these criteria:

  • Applicant businesses must be owned and operated in one of the fifteen Oregon counties that Northwest Community Credit Union serves: Benton, Clackamas, Coos, Crook, Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lane, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, or Washington. 
  • You do not need to be an NWCU member to apply or receive a grant. 
  • Your business must qualify as a small business as defined by the Small Business Association (typically 500 employees or fewer) or be an established nonprofit. 
  • You must be purchasing or plan to purchase PPE as listed above and your business must agree to make its best efforts to reopen as a result of this grant program. 

Employees or agents of NWCU, vendors, advertising or promotional agencies, and their immediate family members (parents, children, siblings, spouse, domestic partner) and members of their household (whether related or not) of such persons are not eligible to apply.

Application Deadline

Applications will close at 11:59 PM on July 20, 2020. Grant recipients will be announced August 5, 2020. 

Questions? Email us at!

Review and Selection Process

Submissions will be reviewed by a selection committee and collaborating partners. Awards will be based on purpose of funds, order in which application was received, size of business, essential business qualification, efforts to reopen, and location within NWCU's service network. 

Recipients will be awarded based on application date received of the request as indicated by the criteria and funded up to the award maximum. Recipient selection is limited by Northwest Community Credit Union funding.  Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until funds are completely expended. 

Eligible Uses of Grant Funds

Eligible uses of grant funds include costs incurred to acquire PPE and technological upgrades as outlined above. Only costs incurred after March 20, 2020, (the date of Governor Brown’s state of emergency declaration in Oregon due to COVID-19) will be eligible for reimbursement. NWCU may request proof of PPE expenses. This proof may include invoices for costs incurred and/or proof of payment. 

The applicant must agree to make best efforts to reopen as a result of this grant program.

Notification and Payment of Grants

All applicants will receive a notification via email by August 5, 2020 with the status of their application. Funds will be distributed at the time of notification and must be spent by December 31, 2020. 

Collaborating Partners

In awarding funds under this program, NWCU may coordinate with AHM Brands, Fast Signs Eugene, Deluxe Small Business, Fiserv.

Legal Disclosures

All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply. You are providing your information to NWCU and any information provided is subject to our Privacy Policy available at  NWCU is obligated to report to the appropriate federal, state or local agencies when required by law. Tax preparation and payment of all taxes are the sole obligation of the applicant.  Grant recipients should seek the advice of a qualified tax expert for their situation.

Agreement to Official Rules

By participating in this grant program, the applicant agrees to and accepts the above provisions as the Official Rules.  The applicant agrees to and accepts decisions made by the credit union and all decisions shall be final and binding in all respects.  Applicants release the credit union, its employees, agents, officers, directors, vendors, advertising, or promotional collaborating partners from any and all liability for injuries, losses, or damages of any kind caused by participation in this grant program.