HArT Recovery Grant Program
Rhode Island Hotel, Arts & Tourism (HArT) Grant Program Solicitation for Applications
On the week of November 3, 2020, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation will begin accepting applications for Rhode Island Hotel, Arts & Tourism (HArT) Grants. The State has allocated $20 million for the program, with eligible businesses and nonprofits able to receive grants of up to $1 million on a competitive basis.
The Rhode Island HArT Grant Program is a competitive grant program that aims to prevent closure of arts, culture, hospitality & tourism businesses and institutions while also building resilience to shifts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, supporting their workforce, and engaging with their communities.
Of the $20 million grant allocation, $10 million will support Engagement, Service, and Resiliency activities (“ESR” Funds). ESR funds are designed to spur economic activity, create safe convening opportunities, and allow increased and accessible artistic and tourist-friendly opportunities. Some examples of ESR activities could include: hosting COVID-appropriate events or activities, providing hotel vouchers and or discounts to those wishing to work or learn remotely, hosting safe meetings; and enabling virtual and remote events. Additionally, $10 million will come in the form of direct support for hotels, arts, culture, and tourism organizations.
ESR applications closed as of Wednesday, November 25th, 12:00PM
Direct Support applications closed as of Monday, November 16th, 5:00PM
Please note: The application can be filled out on your device using Adobe Reader (if you don’t have Adobe Reader, please download here). Open Adobe Reader then select ‘Tools’ and then ‘Fill & Sign’. Select the downloaded application, fill in your info, and save again when completed.
Questions on the application and completed applications process may be submitted to Hart.Recovery@commerceri.com
Who is eligible for a HArT Grant?
To be eligible for ESR funds, the applicant must:
- Be a business, sole proprietor, or non-profit located in Rhode Island in the arts, culture, event, entertainment, or hospitality/hotel industry.
- Have experienced a year-over-year revenue loss for Q2 and Q3 that is larger than the amount of ESR funding requested plus any federal grants that have been received for COVID-19 direct support.
- Be open or have a plan to reopen in the coming months and in line with ESR activities.
In addition to the eligibility requirements listed above, to be eligible for Direct Support Funds, an eligible applicant must:
- Have already documented ways applicant has reduced costs, secured outside funding, and/or otherwise adjusted their business/organization.
- Commit to maintaining or increasing current employment
Specifically, hotels must:
- Have experienced a year-over-year revenue loss for Q2 & Q3 of at least 70%.
- Commit to remaining open through at least April 1, 2021
- Have more than 200 hotel rooms
And arts and cultural applicants must:
- Have experienced a year-over-year revenue loss for Q2 & Q3 of at least 50%
- Commit to remaining open or running some degree and type of programming (e.g. virtually) through at least April 1, 2021
- Have a minimum annual operating budget of $150,000
- Own the venue in which it operates, and/or use at least 20 percent of annual budget to pay for rental space, performance space, or compensation of staff.
- Be one of the following types of organizations:
- Arts and cultural events venues
- Performing or visual arts organizations
- Arts education organizations (not including institutions of higher education)
How will selections be made?
Applications will be reviewed to determine whether the applicant meets all eligibility requirements and—for ESR grants—has a clear and workable plan for grant funded activities to be completed by December 30, 2020. Selections will be made competitively based on:
- financial need
- responsiveness to required commitments re: the institution’s ongoing operations, etc.
- impact of the institution on and its contribution to our economy and community, and
- the impact of the proposed funded activities.
Qualifying applicants are able to apply for both direct support and ESR. At least $3 million of the total will be awarded to arts and cultural organizations. Applications may be considered separately by industry. Awards may not exceed the organization’s demonstrated revenue loss plus increased costs less other federal funding received, including other funding secured through the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
For arts and cultural institutions, selections will be made in partnership with the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA).
What kinds of expenses are supported by this grant?
Eligible expenses must be consistent with the uses permitted under the Coronavirus Relief Fund, as defined, with updates from time to time, by the U.S. Department of Treasury, and incurred between date of engagement and December 30, 2020. Applicants must familiarize themselves with this guidance and adhere to it.
Grant funds may be used for operating costs (including salaries), reopening costs, critical repairs/maintenance, adaptive upgrades, technical assistance, marketing support, activities to boost community wellbeing, and other activities to build up the sustainability and resilience of the hospitality & tourism industry in Rhode Island.
 Treasury’s Guidance is available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Coronavirus-Relief-Fund-Guidance-for-State-Territorial-Local-and-Tribal-Governments.pdf
Treasury FAQs on the Guidance are available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Coronavirus-Relief-Fund-Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf
Are there ineligible expenses for these funds?
Only direct costs are allowable, and only if:
- They are necessary expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- They were incurred during the time period beginning at the start of the period of performance and ending December 30, 2020.
- Expenditures must be direct and allocable to the specific proposed project.
Program funds cannot be used for the following purposes:
- Expenses that have been or will be reimbursed by any other source, including other federal, state, local, and charitable sources, such as the FEMA Public Assistance program, PPP, EIDL advance, Restore RI, or other state-sponsored COVID relief programs;
- Expenses that can be recouped from consumers through ticketed sales;
- Reimbursement of donors for donated items or services, previously donated; this includes reimbursement for items purchased by the nonprofit with funds specifically donated and designated for the response to COVID-19;
- Any expense not related to the current COVID-19 public health emergency;
- Damages covered by insurance;
- Workforce bonuses, other than hazard pay or overtime
- Severance pay;
- Legal settlements;
- General economic development or capital improvement projects that are not necessary expenditures due to the COVID-19 public health emergency;
- Any costs incurred prior to March 1, 2020.
- Any costs incurred after December 30, 2020.
 The State of Rhode Island Department of Administration’s Indirect and Administrative Costs policy is available at: https://rigov-policies.s3.amazonaws.com/PRO_CRF_Indirect_and_Administrative_Costs_7.28.20.pdf
 Specifics on allowable expenses are available through Treasury at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Coronavirus-Relief-Fund-Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf
What is an Engagement, Service, and Resiliency (ESR) Activity Grant?
The ESR Activity Grant aims to enable hospitality, arts, culture, and tourism businesses and organizations to implement the programming and activities they’d like to undertake, produce, and host but that are currently cost prohibitive due to COVID-19 restrictions. It may be that functions, events, programs, and activities must be held with too few people for them to work financially without the grant or that a business or organization wishes to offer a discount on a rate, a cost, or a price for a service, product, or offering but needs a grant in order to cover part or all of the discount. Examples of ESR Activity Grants are things like:
- Hosting COVID-appropriate events or activities.
- Providing hotel vouchers and/or discounts to those wishing to work or learn remotely—including hosting safe meetings.
- Investments to enable virtual/remote events.
- SafeCation promotions which combine access to COVID testing with safe, small, and/or outdoor activities.
I was awarded a Restore or Take It Outside grant. Am I eligible for the HArT Recovery Program?
Yes; however, the applicant (1) may not use any award dollars received through Restore or Take It Outside to support an application under the HArT Program and (2) the total level of support from Restore, HArT, and any other award programs may not exceed the total revenue loss established by the Applicant. You are additionally eligible to apply for both the direct support and ESR programs as long as your total award does not exceed $1M.
Is the grant awarded to a business or an owner?
Awards are made to the business. Businesses with shared ownership are limited to applying for one grant, and funds cannot be used for costs already covered by other federally funded programs.
What is the grant timeline?
Applications for Direct Support are due on Monday, November 16th at 5:00 PM EST.
Awards for ESR funds will be made on a rolling basis beginning Monday, November 9th. Applications for ESR funds will be accepted through Wednesday, November 25th, at 12:00 pm (pending availability of funds).
Please note the extended date as well as the noon deadline.
Restore Rhode Island Grant Program
Restore Grant Program web page
Business Adaptation Grant Program
Business Adaptation Program web page
Rhode Island COVID-19 Business Guidelines
Public health information:
Department of Health
Department of Business Regulation