2021 City of Pasadena Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program

About the Program

The deadline to apply for this grant program has passed.

Para obtener una traducción de las pautas en español, haga clic aquí.

For a translation of these guidelines in Armenian, click here.

Information sessions will be available on Zoom. Dates and time are listed below.

Application information is at the bottom of this page.

The City of Pasadena’s Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program will provide pandemic-relief grant funding to brick and mortar small businesses impacted by COVID-19 in the form of a reimbursement.

Grant funds will be issued on a reimbursement basis. A reimbursement grant provides funding to grant recipients after expenses have been incurred. The grantee must submit proof of payment to obtain the reimbursement for project expenses. These funds do not need to be paid back.

The program is subject to the availability of funds, compliance with program guidelines and submission of the required application and supporting documentation.

The program will provide approximately 50 reimbursable grants of $7,500 each to qualifying small businesses. Source of funds for the program are provided by the City’s annual allocation of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). The Pasadena Community Foundation (PCF) received a federal award through the City of Pasadena.

Business owners that need assistance completing the program application can get support and guidance through the Pasadena Small Business Development Center (SBDC). PCF, with the support of SBDC, will conduct a virtual orientation and post it on the Pasadena Community Foundation website prior to the opening of the application window. The orientation session will outline the program, the application, and needed support documents for fund reimbursement. In addition, the SBDC will host a series of webinars to inform applicants and address questions that may arise during the application process.  In order to receive additional support in completing the application, we encourage applicants to sign up with the SBDC at http://bit.ly/PasadenaGrantInfo

Please carefully review these guidelines as successful applicants must submit complete applications before the deadline; provide documentation that they meet the eligibility requirements, terms and conditions; explain how the grant monies would be used toward necessary COVID-19 related business expenses; and supporting documentation required for reimbursement of eligible expenses.

Grant applications will be available starting January 25th, 2021 and due on Friday, February 12 at 5pm.

The eligibility guidelines and scoring criteria below will be used to evaluate applications. There is no guarantee that you will be awarded a grant.

Information sessions

Sessions will be available at the following dates and times:

  • Wednesday, January 20, Noon
  • Friday, January 22, Noon
  • Thursday, January 28, Noon
  • Saturday, January 30, Noon

The Zoom sessions can be accessed at this link: https://pasadenacf.org/info-session/

View a video about these guidelines and a see a tour of the online application system:


To be eligible to apply for the Small-Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, a business must meet all of the following criteria at time of application submission:

  • Business must operate out of street-level store front in the City of Pasadena and is legally operating under all local, state and federal laws and current on any and all taxes/fees/license owed to the City of Pasadena and does not have a current lawsuit pending against the City of Pasadena.;
  • Have experienced an economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic and can demonstrate at least 25% decline in revenues due to COVID-19 between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020;
  • Have a current Pasadena business license;
  • Must be a for-profit micro-enterprise with 5 or fewer employees including the owner(s);
  • Applicant must own 51%+ majority owner of business;
  • Must not have received past City grant program funds and must disclose receipt federal PPP or EIDL. Prior federal funding does not automatically disqualify, however, priority given to those who did not receive funding.
  • Demonstrate a stable track record of business operations under current ownership; and
  • Provide the dedication and wherewithal to remain open for a period of 12 months after receipt of the relief funds.

Ineligible Applicants

  • Do not meet the eligibility criteria listed above;
  • Non-profit organizations are not eligible businesses, and will not be considered for funding;
  • Other ineligible businesses include payday loan businesses, liquor and tobacco stores, pawn shops, firearm or other weapons dealers, life insurance companies, adult entertainment, passive real estate investments, home-based businesses, national or regional chains; and/or
  • Businesses currently in bankruptcy.

Reimbursement Grant Program

Eligible Use of Funds

Grant funds will be issued on a reimbursable basis to cover the following costs:

  • Utility Payments: gas, electricity, and/or water business expenses.  An eligible business will need to show proof of payment of its utility bill(s).


  • Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”): PPE to comply with State and/or County guidelines to protect staff and members of the public.


  • Rent: place-of-business rent payments

The grant can also be used for reimbursement of other day to day operating expenses such as payroll, mortgage payments, inventory and other similar expenses. Once all documentation has been verified and small business owner submit proof of payments for eligible expenses, PCF will issue checks.

Ineligible Use of Funds

Funds may not be used to:

  • Reimburse expenses incurred prior to application grant award
  • Pay-off non-business debts such as personal credit cards for purchases not associated with the business
  • Personal expenses, or support other businesses in which owner may have interest
  • Direct financing to political activities or paying of taxes and fines.

Priority for Low to Moderate Income

Under federal regulations, use of CDBG funds must meet certain national objectives to benefit persons of low- and moderate-income (“low-mod”). For the purposes of this program, the applicant will receive additional points during application evaluation if the business owner’s current household income is at or below 80% of the area median income, adjusted for household size.


The Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program application requires information about the small business, the number of employees in the business, location of the business, amount of time in business, how funds will be used, and other relevant information.  A link to the applications will be available on the Pasadena Community Foundation website, which will be linked on the City of Pasadena’s website.

Application Period

Grant applications will be accepted from January 25th – February 12th.

Application and Documentation Requirements

The following documents must be submitted for consideration of a grant request:

  • Complete grant application;
  • Owner’s 2019 personal tax return
  • Proof of income for all other adults living in the business owner’s household
  • Business federal tax return for 2019
  • Business payroll reports for the past 3 months of 2020
  • Monthly income statements for 2020 or 2020 Profit and Loss Statement
  • Copy of business owner’s government-issued photo identification.
  • A DUNS number (To get or look up your business here: https://www.dnb.com/duns-number.html)

The following documents will be required as a part of the grant agreement before official approval that the owner is accepted into the grant program.

  • Program grant agreement
  • IRS W-9 form
  • Verification of business license

Grant Review and Approval Process

The application and documents will be reviewed by PCF to determine application completeness.  If PCF determines that additional information or supporting documents are needed to review an application the application will be deemed incomplete and the applicant will be notified.

Scoring Guide

Please note, that even a business that meets these criteria is not guaranteed to receive a grant due to funding constraints of this program.

The scoring system will be designed to encourage reliable scoring of applications. Each application will receive points for each of the following:

  • Continuous business in the city of Pasadena for min. 5 years – 10 points
  • Business owner’s annual household income does not exceed 80% Average Median Income (AMI) – 8 points
  • Business located in a CDBG-eligible census tract block group – 5 points
  • Each full-time employee including owner – 1 point each
  • Each employee who lives in Pasadena including owner – 1 point each
    • 1st Tier Tie-Breaker – Business owners with the lowest total household income
    • 2nd Tier Tie-Breaker- Determined by lottery, with first round limited to applicants who have not received federal funding.

Top scoring applications will be recommended for approval. Each applicant will be notified in writing whether their application has been selected for a grant award or denied, pending verification of documents. Decisions will be made within 10 days of closing of application.

Support and Contact

Have you enrolled in Pasadena Small Business Development Center (SBDC)?
Sign-up just requires an email address and business name and is at the bottom of the page linked below.
Business owners that need assistance completing the program application, including help with the support documentation, can get no-cost support and guidance through the SBDC. Sign up here. 

For assistance in completing the Pasadena Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant or to set up a one-on-one consultation (at no cost), please contact the SBDC: sbdc@pasadena.edu.

For questions or additional information regarding the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Application, please contact Pasadena Community Foundation Program Officers Kate Clavijo at (626) 796-2097 x7 kclavijo@pasadenacf.org or Mike deHilster at (626)796-2097 x5 mdehilster@pasadenacf.org


Online Application

If you meet all eligibility requirements, please click here to create an account and apply.
(Beginning at 9am, January 25, 2021.)

Para una traducción al español de la aplicaciónhaga clic aquí.

For a translation of the application into Armenian, please click here.

For further assistance in the Armenian language with the grant application, please contact:

ARS Social Services
2242 E. Foothill Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91107
(626) 797-6187

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