Lancaster Small Business Emergency Fund to Help Local Businesses During COVID-19

April 23, 2020
Nichole M. Baer

Modified from image by Joseph A., Flickr

The Lancaster Small Business Emergency Fund is a new fund composed of grants and loans designed to provide COVID-19 relief to small businesses located in the City of Lancaster. There is $1.45 million available in the fund, with $200,000 of that available as grants. The fund will offer the remaining amount as low interest and flexible loans.  

A variety of entities helped to create this new fund, including the:

  • City of Lancaster
  • Community First Fund
  • EnCourage Lancaster Crowdfunding Campaign (you can contribute here on their GoFundMe page)
  • Fulton Bank
  • Ferree Foundation
  • High Foundation 

The funds will be managed by ASSETS and Community First Fund, which are both Lancaster 501(c)(3) nonprofits.  


To apply for a grant, a business must

  • be located in Lancaster City 
  • have under $500,000 in annual revenue

To apply for a loan, a business must

  • be located in Lancaster City 
  • have under $1,000,000 in annual revenue

If an individual owns multiple businesses that qualify, they can only apply for funding for ONE of their companies. 

Application Process

This is NOT a first-come, first-serve fund.  They will consider all applications submitted before the deadline based on the following characteristics: 

  1. longevity in business
  2. long term sustainability
  3. historic profitability
  4. local economic and community impact of business
  5. positive business practices
  6. location of the business in Lancaster City
  7. impact on the streetscape of Lancaster City
  8. number of employees
  9. likelihood of survival of funds are received, and 
  10. severity of current need

As this is a new program, the Review Committee might also add further priorities or otherwise change eligibility criteria.  

However, the application process promises to be simple and with a low barrier. There will be two separate applications, one for the grant and one for the loan.  

The Review Committee will receive applications from April 29th to May 10th, 2020. Interested applicants can find the forms on the Lancaster Small Business Emergency Fund‘s website when they are posted.  

Required Documents

For the grant application, required documents include:

  •  the most recent federal tax return of the business.  

For the loan application, required documents include a: 

  • 2018 business tax return
  • 2019 business tax return or internally prepared financials for December 31st, 2019
  • listing of all personal assets, liabilities, and net worth, and 
  • list of all business and personal debt

The fund will also pull credit reports and conduct lien searches on businesses if applying for a loan through the fund.  

Nichole Baer is an attorney at Russell, Krafft & Gruber, LLP, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She received her law degree from Stetson University, College of Law and practices in several areas including BusinessCommercial Real EstateEstate Planning, and Estate Administration.