New Jersey Community Stage Relief Grant Program
By Lisa Haime, Senior Manager, Tax & Business Services
The New Jersey Community Stage Relief Grant Program (NJCSRGP) is available to for-profit venues, businesses, and sole proprietors that host, organize, promote, produce, or manage live events or performances by performing artists and have experienced economic harm as a result of the pandemic. The $17.5 million program provides grants equal to 30 percent of a qualified establishment’s decline in operating revenue from 2019 to 2020, up to a maximum grant award of $300,000. Thirty-three percent of total funding will be set aside to support establishments that have a commercial business address in a census tract eligible to be selected as a New Jersey Opportunity Zone.
- Venues that host live performances with a capacity not exceeding 2,500
- Event promoters
- Managers and management companies that work with live performers
- Booking agents
- Other businesses and sole proprietors who are paid to organize, manage, promote, or host live events
Summary of Eligibility Criteria
For-profit business establishments that host regularly occurring live performances or events that:
- Have one of the following NAICS Codes: 711410, 711310, 711320, 711110, or 711130; or make 50% or more of operating revenue from the organization, hosting, promotion, production, or management of live performances
- Experienced harm as a result of COVID
- 25% or greater operating loss between Q2 2019 and Q2 2020
- Have a venue capacity of 2,500 or less
- Host at least two live performances per week or a total of 26 events, over any consecutive 13-week period beginning January 1, 2019
- Events featuring multiple artists can count as multiple “performances,” with each artist counting as one performance (i.e., an event with three performers would count as three performances)
- Collect admission fees or sell tickets for events
- Pay artists for performing at their events
- Qualified applicants may receive grants of up to 30% of their decline in operating revenue from 2019 to 2020 ($300,000 max).
- Funds received through the NJCSRG can be used for working capital expenses (e.g., payroll, rent, mortgage, inventory supplies).
Application Process and Timeline
Applications for the New Jersey Community Stage Relief Grant Program will open at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 17, 2021.
Applications should be completed online at forms.business.nj.gov/communitystage.
Applications are on a first come, first served basis. Only applications that are fully completed will be considered for funding.
All applicants must be in good standing with the New Jersey Department of Treasury-Division of Taxation, New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD), and the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) (if the applicant is regulated by the ABC).
All applicants will be required to fill out an affidavit identifying all funding the applicant entity has received related to COVID-19, such as other NJEDA COVID-19 relief, insurance, Small Business Administration loans and grants, Shuttered Venues grants, forgivable portions of Payroll Protection loans, and Economic Injury Disaster grants.
In addition, applicants will need to provide:
- Current New Jersey Tax Clearance Certificate
- 2019 and 2020 income statements
- 2019 and 2020 New Jersey business tax returns
- Documentation demonstrating involvement in an average of at least two live performances or events per week (a total of at least 26 events) in any consecutive 13-week period beginning January 1, 2019
- Examples include ticket system reports, payment processor reports, and receipts
- Documentation demonstrating the collection of admission fees for events
- Examples include reports provided by a third-party ticket seller or payment processor
- Documentation showing mutual agreements between four (4) different artists or their representatives and the applying entity or host venue, which clearly demonstrate the performing artists were paid
- New Jersey Certificate of Occupancy (venues only)
The NJCSRGP could provide much-needed relief to the performing arts industry in New Jersey. As applications will be reviewed on a first come, first served basis, businesses and sole proprietors should quickly familiarize themselves with the program and determine if they may be eligible. The NJEDA strongly encourages all applicants to review the sample application and prepare all required business information and documentation prior to the day the application opens.