Update on the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program

January 29, 2021

CONTACT: Johanna Tschebull

The Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act (Economic Aid Act – P.L.116-260) establishes a $15 billion Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program (SVOG), also commonly known as Save Our Stages, to support those businesses and nonprofit organizations negatively impacted from the current pandemic that own or operate live venues. The Office of Disaster Assistance within the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will administer the grant program and eligible entities will apply directly to the SBA. The SBA recently established the following website for eligible entities to track program developments. Additionally, the SBA released a FAQ document on January 29 to provide more guidance and information to eligible entities before the grant program is operational.

Dance/USA has been working with its partners across the performing arts community to not only successfully pass the grant program through the U.S. Congress in December 2020, but to ensure parity between for-profits and nonprofit organizations concerning eligibility requirements and award amounts under the program. Dance/USA will continue to work with the U.S. Congress and the SBA to ensure various concerns by its members and interested stakeholders are addressed prior to the SVOG program becoming operational. To that end, Dance/USA signed onto this letter to the SBA administrator  highlighting concerns and to ensure continued dialogue between the working group and the SBA going forward. Also attached are questions that have been sent to SBA for its review and response

Dance/USA participated in a January 29 call with Barb Carson, Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Disaster Assistance, SBA and Kevin Harber, Attorney Advisor, SBA to discuss the attached letter and to secure additional clarifications concerning ongoing concerns and the SBA’s interpretation of vagueness of certain eligibility requirements under the law. Please note the following key takeaways from the January 29 call.

  • The SVOG program is at least 3 weeks from being operational as the SBA continues to gather information from potential eligible entities and works on providing updated guidance and information concerning the program.
  • The SBA considers the program a one-time, temporary program to provide support to eligible entities.
  • The SBA will not formally issue regulations to implement the program, but rather issue updated guidance and information as the federal agency starts and maintains the program.
  • The SBA confirmed, as stated in its FAQ document, for eligible entities to receive SVOG grants, they will need to secure a Dun & Bradstreet (D-U-N-S) number and register with the System for Award Management (SAM) under the U.S. General Services Administration AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
    • The D-U-N-S number and SAM registration are free of charge.
    • The SBA urges immediate action on the part of businesses and nonprofit organizations because of potential processing delays.
    • Eligible entities will be applying for SVOG grants directly through a SBA portal or through www.grants.gov.
  • The SBA will hold the following multiple sessions at the national level for each eligible entity and at the state/local levels through its district offices prior to the start of the SVOG program: 
    • Informational session(s) – eligibility requirements
    • Information session(s) – revenue requirements
    • Information session(s) – How to apply
  • Once the SVOG program is operational, the SBA encourages eligible entities to apply as soon as possible. The SBA will sort the applications and distribute grants accordingly based on the various priority periods and set-asides.
  • Dual Application Issue – The SBA confirmed that eligible entities that applied for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) on or after December 27, 2020 will be disqualified from applying for the SVOG program unless their PPP application is declined by the SBA.
  • Clarification of the “revenue decline” provisions under the first two priority periods – The SBA, at this point, is interpreting the statutory language as “gross earned revenue” that does not include charitable contributions or other contributed income. Please note that the SBA’s interpretation may change, but this is how the SBA is interpreting the statutory language at this point. Please refer to page 6 (under REVENUE) of the FAQ document for SBA’s interpretation of the term “gross earned revenue.” The SBA will continue to update its FAQ document and other guidance on the website.
  • There has not been a determination yet on whether eligible entities will be able to leverage both the SVOG program and the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC). Statutory language does not preclude eligible entities from doing so.

Further inquiries can be directed to Tony Shivers, Dance/USA director of government affairs.

About Dance/USA
Propelled by our belief that dance can inspire a more just and humane world, Dance/USA will amplify the power of dance to inform and inspire a nation where creativity and the field thrive.

Established in 1982, Dance/USA champions an inclusive and equitable dance field by leading, convening, advocating, and supporting individuals and organizations.  Dance/USA’s core programs are focused in the areas of engagement, advocacy, research, and preservation. Learn more about Dance/USA at danceusa.org

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