Recent Updates

Working Washington Small Business Grant Portal Now Open

Round 3 small business grant applications are now being accepted. For businesses with less than $5M annual revenue. Grants up to $20,000. Emphasis on businesses most impacted by recent restrictions (e.g. restaurants, gyms, bowling alleys, music and events venues, etc.). Visit Washington State Department of Commerce link below for details. These grants are NOT administered through Thurston Strong.

Working Washington Grant Application Update

Please see below for latest info on upcoming Business Grant opportunity – applicant training webinar Dec. 3 at noon – application portal opens SAME DAY.

Up to $20,000 in emergency funding is available to Washington State eligible small businesses in Round 3 of Working Washington Small Business Grants. These grants are prioritized for businesses in sectors most impacted by the recent public health measures as well as businesses that have experienced significant, cumulative impacts. Learn more about Working Washington Small Business Grants in this Washington SBDC webinar facilitated by Steve Burke, SBDC Certified Business Advisor. Topics include:

  • Eligibility
  • How to show your business is impacted
  • How to apply
  • What the grant pays for
  • Documents and info to have ready to upload into Grant Portal which will be active by December 3

Register at:

Working Washington Grants Webinar

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Resources

The Disadvantage Business Enterprise (DBE) Supportive Services program is now being administered by the City of Tacoma’s Minority Business Development Agency. If you are DBE Certified, consider applying for services that can help you grow your firm. Click here for the contact inquiry form.

New Working Washington Business Grant and Loan Funding Announcement

Thurston Strong has not yet been informed of logistical details regarding disbursement of additional Washington State CARES funding. As a result, we are posting the announcement in its original form with links to specific resource pages: please follow these links on your own in case we don’t receive clarifying info quickly. We will post/email updates to subscribers as soon as we receive them. The new grant application process is expected to start this week.

This is an update to help businesses prepare for the Working Washington business grant application process that will open early next week.

Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee announced an additional $70 million for business grants. $50 million of that is for a new round of Working Washington business grants. The remainder will go toward funding all qualified businesses that applied in earlier rounds of our resiliency grant program. (NOTE: Businesses who applied for resiliency grant will not need to take any action).

The application portal and additional information will be posted at

Who can apply?

These grants are prioritized for:

  • Small businesses with annual revenues of $5 million or less in 2019
  • Businesses in sectors most impacted by the recent public health measures as well as businesses in sectors that have experienced significant, cumulative impacts. Examples include full-service restaurants, fitness centers, bowling alleys and music/event venues.
  • Certain nonprofits may also be eligible if they have a primary business activity that falls into a similar category as noted above. Example – a nonprofit full-service restaurant or nonprofit music venue.

If the state Department of Commerce is able to fund all the eligible applicants from the priority pool, and funds remain, Commerce may be able to provide grants to additional businesses or nonprofits from other sectors or who have annual revenues larger than $5 million.

What does the grant pay for?

  • The maximum grant award will be up to $20,000.
  • The grant can only cover expenses or costs incurred due to COVID-19 and that were necessary to continue business operations.

How can I apply?

  • The online application portal will open early next week (the week of Nov. 30). The portal link will be available at Additional information about eligibility and prioritization will also be posted there.
  • Priority will be given to applications received by Dec. 10. If Commerce is able to fund all the eligible applicants who submit by that time, we may be able to consider eligible applicants who submit after the 10th.
  • Checklist of the information you’ll need to have ready:
    • Applicant W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number
    • Copy of valid government issued photo I.D.
    • For Tribal-member owned businesses: license or certification if business activity is conducted outside the tribal jurisdiction; letter or certification from the tribe recognizing you as a business if business activity is within the tribal jurisdiction.
    • Copy of 2019 Tax Return/ other confirmation of Gross Revenues for 2019.
    • For businesses with a physical location, evidence of that location, such as lease, tax statement, utility bill, etc.
    • NAICS code or clear description of primary business activity. A NAICS code is helpful, but not necessary. If you have never used a NAICS code, you can learn more here: What is a NAICS Code? and explore NAICS codes to see which one fits your business.

[Closed] New Grant Funding for Childcare Providers, Nonprofits and Businesses

These grant funds are now closed.

Thanks to a major new infusion of CARES Act funding from Thurston County, Thurston Strong is expanding the volume and range of funding support available to local organizations. Over $7 Million in grant funding is now available through the fund categories described below.

Together with prior outlays, this new funding brings Thurston Strong reinvestment in the local economy to just under $12 Million. Other contributors include the Cities of Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater, Washington State, The Community Foundation and Thurston Economic Development Council.

While we know it isn’t enough to undo the damage community businesses and nonprofits have suffered over the past six months, we hope it will help sustain them until conditions trend upward once again.

Childcare Stabilization Fund

Funding for this grant is now closed. All applications received to date are being processed.

Childcare providers have long operated with thin margins, and the pandemic has only exacerbated the situation. Yet, more working families are returning to work and in-person schooling is on hold. The Childcare Stabilization Fund provides temporary support grants to offset COVIC-related impacts for local entities, including licensed facilities and a growing number of non-profit daycares operating in partnership with local school districts. Applications will be reviewed in the order received through October 31 or until funds are depleted.

Nonprofit Grant Fund

Funding for this grant is now closed. All applications received through Oct. 30 are being processed.

Local nonprofits have seen steep declines in revenue. Yet, we depend on them more than ever to provide essential services. And we want to make sure they are still there when we get on the other side of the pandemic. Applications will be reviewed in the order received through October 31 or until funds are depleted.

Restaurant and Retail Grant Fund

Funding for this grant is now closed. All applications received through Oct. 30 are being processed.

Independently-owned retail and restaurant operators have experienced an outsized economic impact during the pandemic. The Restaurant and Retail Fund provides bridge grants to those fighting to remain open or attempting to reopen under new and difficult conditions. Applications will be reviewed in the order received through October 31 or until funds are depleted.

Agriculture Business Grant Fund

Funding for this grant is now closed. All applications received to date are being processed.

Farmers, farmers markets, value-add food manufacturers and food and farm coops have experienced declining markets, labor challenges and supply chain ruptures. The Thurston Strong Ag Grant is designed to help them with response and recovery efforts. Applications will be reviewed in the order received through October 31 or until funds are depleted.

Continued Grant Funding for Microbusinesses and Childcare Providers

In addition to the new round of investment, grant funding remains available within several ongoing programs, including:

Micro-Business Standup Grant Fund

Funding for this grant is now closed. All applications received to date are being processed.

Funding is still available through the original $1,500 Thurston Strong Micro-Business Grant Program. To review eligibility requirements and other details, please visit Grants will be issued until October 31.

Childcare Provider Grant Fund

Funding for this grant is now closed. All applications received through Oct. 30 are being processed.

Funding is still available through the original Thurston Strong Childcare Provider Grant Program. Grants range from $1,500 to $13,300 depending on the size of licensed (or enrolled) care capacity. To review eligibility requirements and other details, please visit Grants will be issued until October 31.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Resources

Funding for this program has been exhausted. All applications received through Oct. 30 are being processed.

Thurston Strong still has disposable masks and 1-gallon bottles of hand sanitizer. All businesses and nonprofits are eligible, including those who have previously received orders. Requests will be accepted until resources are depleted. To obtain masks or sanitizer, please visit

Scale-Up Business Training

Thurston County grant funds will also be used to provide technical training for eighty businesses seeking to recalibrate their business models. Each training grant is valued at $4,000.

Washington State Grants Available for Nonprofits

The Department of Commerce is partnering with School’s Out Washington to distribute $9 million in CARES Act funding to respond to the impact of COVID-19 by supporting programs serving school age kids and young adults facing significant challenges to educational and economic opportunity. School’s Out Washington developed application criteria and will award grants between $10,000 – $50,000, based on an organization’s 2019 budget. Priority consideration will be given to programs that serve youth with lower access to educational opportunity and whose leaders are reflective of the populations they serve.

For more information:

Grants Available for Olympia Arts and Culture Organizations

The City of Olympia is offering matching grants up to $5,000 for arts projects to registered non-profits. To be eligible, organizations must have a minimum two-year history serving Olympia. Approval is based on innovative and diverse projects, organizational strengths, and capacity for community engagement. In 2021, the City will award up to $20,000 in grants for the year.

New CARES Act Funding available for Arts and Culture Nonprofits in Washington

In partnership with Washington Department of Commerce, the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) is now accepting CARES Act Relief Grant applications from Washington State-based nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, including tribal organizations, and fiscally sponsored groups impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations are eligible to apply for up to $10,000 from a total of $1.5 million made possible by a grant awarded by the U.S. Dept. of the Treasury.

Grants will be awarded and distributed in December. Eligible organizations must have federal tax-exempt status or be sponsored by a qualifying non-profit that has arts, culture, and/or heritage in their mission. Applications will be evaluated under three criteria: Financial need, Arts + Cultural Programming, and Communities Served. To ensure geographic distribution, applications will be evaluated by regional panels serving the northwest, southwest, central, and eastern regions of the state. Applications will be accepted through 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 23, 2020.

Looking Forward

Thurston Strong will continue to search for new revenue to grow and expand grant and community reinvestment programs. Updated information will be shared accordingly. Stay strong Thurston.

Washington State Pursuing Federal Lost Wages Assistance for Workers

Governor Inslee has announced that the Employment Security Department (ESD) will apply for the Lost Wages Assistance program through the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) by Friday, Aug. 21. The Lost Wages Assistance program is a temporary emergency measure to provide additional unemployment benefits to eligible claimants

Upon approval, this will allow ESD to provide an additional $300 per week for three weeks to those who have lost work due to the COVID-19 crisis and are receiving unemployment benefits.

The benefit is currently time-limited to only a three-week period, between July 26 and Aug. 15, 2020, and not everyone who has filed an unemployment claim will be eligible. ESD will continue to work with FEMA and the U.S. Department of Labor to pursue any additional funds for Washingtonians that may remain after the initial three-week period of benefits are distributed.

A press release and FAQ on this program is posted at will be

Local Business Resiliency Videos Now Posted at New “Thurston Stories” Site

Wondering how local enterprises are getting through this difficult time?  Take a look at some stories from around Thurston County at: Or visit the YouTube channel at:

Featured businesses include Gabbi’s Cards and Comics, the Port restaurant, Orca Books and more.

Many thanks to Experience Olympia and Beyond for organizing this effort and sharing these inspirations stories of support and resiliency.

Thurston Strong Extends Support for Small Businesses and Childcare Providers

Over the past month, Thurston Strong partners have provided over $1.1 million in grant support to local childcare providers and small businesses. The majority of this funding comes from federal CARES Act dollars approved by Congress and allocated to individual States earlier this year. Major pass-through investors include Thurston County and the Cities of Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater. These totals do not include prior grant funding provided through the City of Lacey or Working Washington Grant program offered by Washington State.

Specific Thurston Strong resource contributions include:

  • Micro-business grants ($600,000 – over 400 businesses served)
  • Childcare provider grants ($521,600 – over 120 childcare providers served)
  • PPE gear (64,000 masks, 765 gallons of sanitizer and 150 no-touch thermometers – over 800 businesses, non-profits and other institutions served)

While these grants can’t replace or fully-mitigate the financial impacts suffered by small businesses and childcare providers, they do serve several interim purposes including:

  • Building a temporary financial bridge for small businesses and essential care providers until more assistance arrives or the virus subsides, and conditions begin to return to normal
  • Ensuring safe and adequately-staffed childcare options for essential worker families
  • Circulating federal dollars through the local economy

Micro-business grant and childcare funding is expected to last through August. For more information, please visit

Childcare Grant Recipient Feedback

  • As a single mom, I solely depend on childcare. It is the only reason I’m able to work to provide for my two children. I would be completely out of work without it.
  • Without childcare, I would not be able to work as much. I know I’m not alone in feeling immensely grateful. For my family, it has been a lifesaver and a true staple in allowing me to continue to provide care to the patients in our community.
  • Thank you for your tremendous support of childcare in our community. The financial impact of the pandemic on our organization has been significant. New staffing requirements, mitigation procedures, and school closures have worked together to increase the costs of providing high quality, licensed care.
  • The support from Thurston Strong will play a key role in enabling us to continue operating childcare sites throughout our region. This service is critical for parents returning to work as well as children who need support in both academic and social/emotional skill building.
  • Thank you Thurston Strong for being here to support our work. It takes a village!

Business Grant Recipient Feedback

  • We cannot thank you enough for coming to our rescue being one of your grant recipients.  This has been the worst hit our small business of 15 years has ever seen.
  • THANK YOU. With this grant, I am able to pay July and August rent at my shop. My heart is full, and I am beyond thankful for the assistance from Thurston Strong.
  • Thank you for your hard work on this project, especially during these times where small businesses need some extra love.
  • Thurston Strong has been amazing in supporting small business through this pandemic!
  • Thank you so much; we are so incredibly appreciative of this support and your help with this. It truly does make a difference and will be put to good use, as we are currently implementing some new ideas/concepts to adapt to successfully serve our clientele and community while in-house dining is temporarily not a viable option.

Thurston Strong Micro-Business and Childcare Provider Grants Close Aug. 14

Thurston Strong will continue to accept applications for micro-business and childcare provider grants through August 14. At that time, we will evaluate capacity to extend or pause the program until additional funding can be secured. To review eligibility and apply, please visit and click on the applicable link on the landing page. If you have already applied, there is no need to resubmit. All received applications are being reviewed and processed now.

Thurston Strong Resources Reaching Businesses

Over the past several weeks, Thurston Strong has offered a variety of resources to help business and institutional partners as they work through the challenges of remaining open or reopening to the public. To date:

  • We have served 800 entities seeking protective masks and hand sanitizer
  • Are reviewing nearly 400 (and counting) applications for microbusiness grants
  • Are reviewing over 120 (and counting) applications for childcare provider grants

For more information, or to apply, please visit

Arts Leaders of Color Emergency Fund Opportunity

In March 2020 the Arts Administrators of Color Network set up an Arts Leaders of Color Emergency Fund, which supports BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) artists & arts administrators impacted by COVID-19 through $200 microgrants. As of June 2020, over 11,000 arts leaders have express financial need through the emergency fund application. To apply or donate, please visit