WHATCOM RESTART Business Assistance Grant

ReStart Applications are now closed.

9/8/2020 Update: Awards Announced!

Following a comprehensive review of 628 applications for the Whatcom ReStart business grant, 269 top-tier applicants that were impacted by COVID-19 were identified for $2.5 million in grant funding. 

The maximum grant amount was $15,000. Whatcom County and the cities of Bellingham, Blaine, Everson, Ferndale, Lynden, Nooksack, and Sumas all contributed CARES Act funds to the grant program and each played an integral role in identifying the top applicants in their respective jurisdictions. In total, 269 businesses will be receiving grants made possible by CARES Act funds pooled by the County and cities to boost economic recovery.

As noted in below, the application scoring criteria was based on three assessment categories: Adaptivity/Business Strength (40%), Impact/Need (40%) and Community Contribution (20%).

Click here to see the full list of awards for businesses located in the City of Bellingham and ground-floor businesses in the City Center and Fairhaven.

Click here to see the full list of awards for businesses located in unincorporated Whatcom County, Blaine, Everson, Ferndale, Lynden, Nooksack, or Sumas.


Grant period open:                            July 16-31, 2020

Grant review:                                     August 3-21, 2020

Notification begins:                            September 8, 2020

Grant funding dispersed:                   September-October 2020


  • For-profit business or nonprofit organization physically located in Whatcom County that has experienced a reduction in revenue greater than 25% directly attributed to COVID-19. If you previously applied and had difficulty with the automatic calculations regarding revenue reduction, please consider re-applying.
  • Total number of employees shall not be more than 25 FTE as of January 1, 2020 (including full time and part-time). To calculate number of PT employees: Add all PT employees hours for a week and divide by 40 hours. The application calculator has been updated.
  • Current on all City, County, State and Federal taxes prior to March 2020 and child support or regularity fines, actions or penalties.
  • Free of any pending litigation or legal action, suspension/debarment from use of federal funds, and federal restrictions on the use of the funds.
  • Licensed in the state of Washington and registered with the City of Bellingham (if operating within Bellingham city limits).
  • Self-attested compliance with the Washington State Health Department directives and guidelines related to reducing the transmission of COVID-19.
  • Majority ownership in Whatcom is no longer an eligibility requirement.


  • Payment of rent or required monthly loan payments.
  • Payments of regular wages, employee benefits and taxes; provided such expenses have not been and, to the best knowledge of the Recipient, will not be reimbursed under any federal, state or regional program, including any grant or loan programs such as EIDL and PPP.
  • Expenditures involved in typical operating costs, including those set forth on an income statement as a regular, ongoing cost of operating the business.
  • Typical draws or wages paid on a regular interval to the owner; provided such draws or wages are consistent with those paid to the owner in previous corresponding quarters, years or other appropriate time intervals.
  • Expenses for compliance with COVID-19-related public health measures, including personal protective equipment and supplies, plexiglass barriers or other similar equipment and expenses reasonably necessary for the protection of public health and the health of Recipient owners and employees.


  • Political campaign contributions or donations.
  • Charitable contributions or gifts.
  • Bonus payments to Recipient owners, officers or employees.
  • Payment of wages to any member of the Recipient owner’s family who is not a bona fide employee.
  • Draws or salary to Recipient owner that exceeds the amount paid over a corresponding interval, quarter, or year in 2019.
  • Paydown or payoff of debt by more than the monthly amount required by the underlying debt instrument.
  • Payroll and other employee- or business-associated costs for which the Recipient has received or expects to receive reimbursement from other federal, state or regional funds (e.g. Payroll Protection Program or unemployment insurance).
  • Damages covered by insurance.
  • Reimbursement to donors for donated items or services.
  • Severance pay.
  • Legal settlements.
  • Any expenses not considered an eligible business expenses by the Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service.


Applications will be scored on the strength and adaptivity of the business (40%), the demonstrated financial impact and need (40%) and contribution to the economic or cultural vitality of the county (20%).


Grantees will be required to submit an electronic report to the grant administrator no later than December 31, 2020 with current status of the business.

Frequently Asked Questions

Watch this SBDC webinar with Gina Stark answering some FAQs on the program!

For assistance or more information, email Whatcomrestart@cob.org

APPLICATION CLOSED 7/31/2020 at 11:59 PM PST.