Stabilization Grant

2020 Grant Cycle will be open April 20th to May 29th*.

The Merchants Fund is committed to providing for the economic needs of the merchant community with modest grants. Merchants must be located in Philadelphia for a minimum of three years. Business Stabilization grants from $500 to $10,000 are available to help small businesses remain stable and viable in the face of economic challenges, changes, opportunities, and crisis.

The application process is competitive. There is no guarantee of an award. We recommend that merchants explore other funding sources simultaneously to the grant application process.  Please make sure to read the entirety of this page before you submit your Stabilization Grant application.  

The Merchants Fund does not support:

  • New ventures or start-ups

  • Home businesses or businesses moving to commercial real estate or related expenses

  • Businesses holding only an off-premise liquor license

  • Working capital (except in limited circumstances)

  • Excluded businesses: lawyers, doctors, accountants, brokers (insurance, real estate, stock), consultants, and other professionals. Please call if you are unsure whether your business is qualified to be considered for a grant.

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Operate in Philadelphia

  2. Have been in business a minimum of 3 years

  3. Be a Sole Proprietor or the majority owner and an active employee of an incorporated business

  4. Depend upon the business as a primary source of income

For examples of past grantees and their projects, please visit our Grantee Stories page.

Funding Priorities

Based on input from our referring partners, sponsoring agencies, and past grantees, the TMF Board of Managers has identified the following funding priorities. Through our grantmaking TMF seeks to:

  • fund businesses that are a necessity for their community and add to the quality of life in the community they serve.

  • make grants that will have a demonstrable impact. For example, the grant will help a merchant overcome a specific challenge and stabilize their business; the grant will help a merchant take advantage of an opportunity to grow their business; the grant will benefit – or help to contribute to – the stabilization of a struggling neighborhood or corridor.

  • fund businesses where the merchant is actively involved in their business and adds to their community in a positive way.

  • fund businesses that have demonstrated a financial need and would not be able to secure funding elsewhere.

Instructions & Application Process

Application Available: Monday, April 20th

Application due date: Friday, May 29th (online submissions preferred; paper applications must be postmarked May 29th)

Site visits: June-July

Notification of grant decisions: August

Disbursement of grant funds will begin immediately after grant decisions are made. All projects must be completed, and funds disbursed, by November 1st.

Successful applicants for grants from The Merchants Fund demonstrated some or all of the following qualities:

  1. strong ties to the community

  2. a partnership with a sponsoring agency such as a community development corporation (CDC) or business association who assisted the merchant before and after the grant process

  3. a clear plan for the use of the grant with details about short term and long term goals for stabilization, improvement, and growth (i.e. solutions to problems or concrete plans for the business)

  4. the capacity to generate increased revenue or other new business opportunities as a result of the grant

  5. improvements made to the merchant’s business that also benefit the surrounding community/corridor or are part of a plan for the neighborhood

  6. realistic budgets or good estimates of the cost of projects, capital improvements, equipment purchases, (including relevant taxes and shipping fees, if applicable), etc. which equal the grant amount requested, including loans or personal funds or contributions from state, city, and agency funds

  7. in the case of facade improvements there should be an understanding of aesthetic conventions such as attractive signage, neighborhood color schemes, involvement of a designer or other professional, visual marketing, see-through security grates, respect for existing architectural detail, etc.

You will be asked to upload supplemental materials with your application. Such materials due with your application include:

  • A current year-to-date profit & loss statement

  • A list of assets and liabilities/debts (balance sheet)

  • A detailed project description and budget (the budget should include any applicable taxes or shipping costs)

  • Any licences or permits related to the operation of your business

  • Tax return from the most recently completed tax year

  • And any other supplemental materials requested to help us better understand your business or the project

The review process is very thorough and will take place on a rolling basis as applications are received. The process will touch on all aspects of your business from customers to financials. A preliminary review after your application submission may require responses to specific questions. The Merchants Fund may email, call, or follow up with you via USPS mail. Respond to all questions in a timely fashion. If you choose not to respond, further review of your application will not take place.

If your proposed project is compelling and fits TMF’s funding priorities, you will be contacted to schedule a site visit. A site visit is an opportunity for TMF staff to learn more about you and your business, as well as the proposed project for which you are seeking funding.

Grant decisions will be made in September by the Board of Managers. Again, there is no guarantee of funding. TMF does not provide grant decisions over the phone. You will receive an email notifying you of grant decisions.

Disbursement of grant funds will begin immediately after grant decisions are made.  We issue checks and payments directly to the vendor, NOT the grantee. TMF will not repay already paid commitments or reimburse for purchases/payments already made.

Please refer to our Applications Page to access the online application (available on April 20th).

The Merchants Fund does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation or identity, marital status, disability, or any other protected class.