Over the past several weeks, through a collaborative Chugach Regional Response Group that includes the village corporations, non-profits and other key stakeholders in the region, Chugach has been evaluating how to disburse the funds to benefit Chugach shareholders and communities that have experienced economic and financial losses due to COVID-19.
On Sept. 8, 2021 Chugach’s Board approved Resolution 21-19 funding two shareholder COVID-19 grant relief programs, two COVID-19 grant relief programs for Chugach region affiliates and entities, and one COVID-19 grant relief program for statewide Alaska Native non-profits organizations (shown below). To track and administer the funding, Chugach is using Submittable, a social impact platform for grant management. Submittable will allow shareholders to complete and track application status online, and allow Chugach to track the use of Coronavirus Relief Funds.
Funding recipients have the discretion to determine the assistance programs they establish in response to COVID-19. However, these programs must be structured to ensure that assistance is determined to be necessary in response to COVID-19 and otherwise satisfies the requirements of the CARES Act and other applicable law.
Subsection 601(d) of the Social Security Act, as added by section 5001 of the CARES Act, states that the funds can cover only those costs of the State, Tribal government or unit of local government that:
- Are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19;
- Were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020 (the date of enactment of the CARES Act) for the State or government; and
- Were incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020 and ends on Dec. 31, 2021.
Funds may not be used for a special shareholder dividend, corporate bonuses or to offset lost revenue. Chugach is also subject to reporting and auditing requirements by Treasury to assess how funds are used and assure compliance with the CARES Act.
Funds received must cover costs that were incurred by Dec. 31, 2021. All unspent funds must be returned to the Department of the Treasury.
Payment amounts to Tribal governments from the Coronavirus Relief Fund are determined by the Secretary of the Treasury in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior and Indian Tribes.
For more information on the consultation process and allocation determination, click here.
Alaska Native regional and village corporations are “tribes” under the CARES Act and are therefore eligible for funding. Treasury has determined that Alaska Native regional and village corporations as defined in or established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act are eligible to receive payments from the Fund in the amounts to be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury.
For more information on ANCs’ eligibility under the CARES Act click here.
Of the $150 billion in direct assistance, tribes are eligible to receive $8 billion in set-aside funding for tribal governments. After a lengthy delay due to litigation, on June 25, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Alaska Native Corporations are eligible to receive a portion of the tribal government CRF set-aside. Each CRF recipient has the flexibility of how and when to use their funds to meet immediate needs but must follow and adhere to federal guidance and requirements. On Aug. 9, Chugach received its allocation of CARES Act funding, which will be used to offset unanticipated necessary COVID-19 related expenses for Chugach operations, shareholders and the Chugach region that were incurred between March 1, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2021.
On March 27, 2020 the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President of the United States in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The CARES Act established the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) through the U.S. Department of Treasury that provides $150 billion in direct assistance for states, tribal governments, units of local governments, D.C. and U.S. territories. This assistance is to help pay for unanticipated expenses related to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
For more information about our grant programs or application process, feel free to reach out to COVID19Relief@chugach.com.