If you don’t see your question/or have further questions, please email grants@merchantsfund.org.

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We have an amazing group of partners throughout Philadelphia, who are experienced and able to assist in the application process. A list that is broken down by geographic region/neighborhood can be found HERE or you can reach out to grants@merchantsfund.org to be connected to a partner.

No, we ask that you complete these tax returns to meet eligibility requirements. Please contact one of our partners or grants@merchantsfund.org to be connected to potential tax preparers and accountants.

We ask that you either submit a profit and loss statement and/or tax returns from the prior year. This gives us a better picture of the business’s current financial health. If you do not have a bookkeeping system that can prepare them or an accountant that can prepare them, you can use this simple template found HERE. Additionally, you can learn more about how to create a profit and loss statement watching this VIDEO. Lastly, if you are struggling to complete this, you can reach out to coach@merchantsfund.org for more assistance.

Firstly, we understand how hard it can be to operate a small business. Multiple members of our staff have owned or currently own small businesses in Philadelphia. It is often exhausting, rewarding, stressful, exhilarating, and axciety enducing all wrapped into one! However, TMF Stabilization Grants are not to be used for monthly expenses. Unfortunately, we do not gift funds to cover cash shortfalls.

(Example: George’s Restaurant makes $20,000 a month but spends $25,000 in expenses. The restaurant is behind on rent, utilities, and may not meet payroll this month. Though George tries, the business is simply not covering its bills.) These past due bills and typical monthly expenses are ineligible for a TMF grant.

One time large expenses or events–a broken piece of equipment, a road closure that disturbs foot traffic, a flood event, are all eligible for TMF grants.

No. Any legally operating business is eligible to apply.

A debt schedule is simply all of your business debts compiled into one place. To prepare for the application, we ask that you have a list of all of your current business debts and the associated interest.

For example, a list may look like:

  • Family Loan – Original Amount $50,000, Current Amount $20,000, Monthly Payment N/A, Interest Rate 0%.
  • Chase Credit Card – Current Amount $10,100, Monthly Payment $250, Interest Rate 12%.
  • SBA Loan – Original Amount $25,000, Current Amount $5,500, Monthly Payment $200, Interest Rate 5.5%.

Businesses must show a clear need for a grant. The grant should help a business sustain or grow operations.

An example to sustain business operations: George’s Bakery experienced an electrical issue that destroyed its’ deck oven. George’s bakery requests $10,000 to replace the oven and continue operations.

An example to grow business operations: Joe’s Barbershop is seeing an increase in customers. Lines are long and they have to turn people away. Joe would like to purchase 3 new barber chairs to service more customers but doesn’t have the money to do so. Joe requests a $10,000 TMF grant to purchase more chairs and grow the business.

Businesses can only apply for a stabilization grant once per calendar year, regardless of whether the request was funded or denied. We trust that businesses will apply when they have a specific need for the grant.

Businesses that have already received a grant from TMF within the last 24 months are not eligible to apply again. (Emergency grants do not count) Our goal is to help as many businesses as possible in the City of Philadelphia.

TMF Stabilization grants will have multiple grant cycles spread throughout a calendar year. Grant cycle dates will be posted on the stabilization page as well as our social media pages and newsletters.

Emergency Grants are approved on a rolling basis as funds are available.

All TMF grantees are eligible for free business coaching. Email coach@merchantsfund.org to schedule your first appointment. Likewise, you can learn more about our business coaching by clicking HERE. If you are ultimately awarded a grant, you will then become eligible for business coaching. Likewise, if your application is ultimately denied, we will provide the reasons for denial, action items to assist you and your business, and–if available–access to TMF coaching.

During a Stabilization Grant Cycle, applications are open for a month. We review all applications as they are submitted. Once the application closes, we will make grant decisions and disburse grant funds by the end of the following month. For more information on grant cycle dates, visit our stabilization grant page.

Emergency grant funding decisions will generally be made within 2-3 weeks of submission. This timeline is based upon applicant’s response time to potential follow-up questions. 

If deemed necessary, TMF will request a site visit with an applicant where we will meet you in person at your place of business and learn more about your business’ operations, your business story, and your goals. No additional action is required, except scheduling the meeting. It is one of our favorite parts of the job – learning about our grantees, their businesses, and helping them achieve their goals.

You can check out the glossary HERE if you’d like some definitions of common business terms.

Examples of Eligible Uses of Funds:

  • Replace failing equipment or upgrade equipment to meet new opportunities or customer needs;
  • Repair issues with the commercial space or upgrade the commercial space to meet new opportunities and customer needs;
  • Take advantage of new growth opportunities (upgrade e-commerce platform, purchase new payment processing systems, purchase new equipment or items to increase your revenue streams or product lines);
  • Use funds to operationalize business (bookkeeping, website creation, etc.). This is often done in tandem with TMF support and coaching. 

In very specific circumstances, Stabilization Grants can be used to pay down debt or purchase inventory. Specific instances may include: accrued debt used to continue operations during a disaster (flood, road closures, fire, etc.), purchasing bulk inventory to save on costs or prepare for a large event, assisting a stable/profitable business to pay debts that were accrued when the business was struggling, etc.

Examples of Ineligible Uses of Funds:

  • Building cash reserves or a “rainy day” fund; 
  • Normal working capital expenses such as rent, payroll, day-to-day inventory, or past due debts due to lack of profitability;
  • Owner salary;
  • Unclear, ambiguous grant asks (e.g. ‘I will use the money to improve my business and help my customers.’)

In order to be eligible for a TMF grant, businesses must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Located in Philadelphia
  • Independently owned and operated
  • In operations for a minimum of two years
  • Is the owner’s primary source of income
  • Operates a storefront or physical location (food trucks and kiosks are eligible)
  • Is in compliance with all federal, state, and local taxes (or on an approved payment plan)
  • Has the required federal, state, and local licenses and permits to operate legally
  • Has been in current operations for the last 90 days and plans to continue operating
  • Businesses that have received a grant within the last 24 months are ineligible (emergency grants do not count)
  • Businesses can only apply for a stabilization grant once per calendar year (regardless of whether the application was funded or denied)
  • Annual sales/revenue in the last tax year were more than $50,000 and less than $750,000
  • Must demonstrate financial need for a grant
  • Nonprofits are ineligible, as are certain types of businesses/industries
    • Childcare Centers (home based or commercial) are also ineligible