Updates on Illinois Business Interruption Grants

Illinois has launched Round 2 of its Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program, making $220 million available to help businesses impacted by COVID – with emphasis on Highly Impacted Industries and Priority Industries, including the arts. Click here for more information.

We hosted a webinar (watch the recording) recently to cover the “ins and outs” of applying for the grants. We’ve just received critical clarifications from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity on eligibility and how to apply.

Q: My performing arts organization does not own or operate a venue. Is my organization still considered in one of the BIG program’s focus areas?

YES. If an organization, such as a theatre company, produces or presents performing arts events, it is considered within one of the program’s focus areas even if it does not own or operate a venue. Specifically, it falls under “support services for arts and events” and is considered a Priority Industry.

On the application:

  • If you are this type of organization, select “None of the above” when asked “Is your business in any of the following Heavily Impacted Industries?
  • When asked, “Is your business in any of the following industries or activities?”, select “Support service of arts or events.”

Q: My organization is not as active in July and August as in other months. To show my losses, may I submit bank statements from two months other than July and August?

YES. DCEO recognizes that some organizations, such as those with performance seasons, do not have consistent income throughout the year. If this is the case for your organization, you do not need to submit July & August statements. Instead, you may submit any two adjacent months going back to March 1, 2020, compared to the year before (for example, uploading April & May 2020 vs. April & May 2019).

On the application:

  • There is a comment box with the document upload feature. In that box, include a statement such as the following: “Due to the seasonality of our business/program model, July/August are not indicative of our losses, and we have chosen alternate months.”

Q: My organization is a nonprofit, should I include donations when I determine the revenue to report in the application?

For the various types of Highly Impacted Industries and Priority Industries, eligibility requires that over a certain percentage of the organization’s revenue be derived from, for example (for venues), “ticketing and entrance fees, as well as food and beverage sold, to attendees.”

In the case of nonprofits organizations, this means a percentage of earned revenue. Nonprofits should not include donations in determining this revenue.

Q: What counts as a utility cost?

The following are considered utility costs:

  • water
  • sewer
  • electricity
  • gas
  • internet
  • phone
  • waste management

If you have additional questions, please visit DCEO’s BIG program page. You can also get assistance, including with technical problems, by using the online assistance form, available in English and Spanish.

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