Frequently Asked Questions
What is the San Mateo County Strong Fund?
The San Mateo County Strong Fund (SMC Strong) was established by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors on March 24, 2020 to assist individuals, families, non-profits and small businesses that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
How can I donate to the fund?
Donations can be made by clicking here. Donations are accepted via PayPal and credit card.
Will all the funds be distributed in San Mateo County?
Yes. All donations will go to assist residents of San Mateo County, non-profits that assist County residents and small businesses located in San Mateo County.
Did San Mateo County contribute to the SMC Strong Fund?
Yes. The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors approved a $3 million contribution of Measure K funds to the SMC Strong Fund on March 24, 2020.
How is the fund managed?
The San Mateo County Strong fund is managed by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The Foundation is charging a 1% management fee, a reduced rate from their usual 5% management fee.
Are contributions to the fund tax-deductible?
All contributions to the fund are treated as gifts to a public charity and are generally tax deductible, subject to individual limitations. We recommend consulting a tax professional if you have questions about the deductibility of your gift to the fund.
Who will decide how the funds are distributed?
The Board of Supervisors will approve a distribution plan for each recipient group, individuals and families, non-profits and small businesses adversely affected by COVID-19.
How can donors be sure their contributions are going to help people in need, non-profits or small businesses adversely affected by COVID?
As noted above, the County Board of Supervisors is approving distribution plans for all contributions to SMC Strong. For example, plans will require non-profit grantees to report on how awards are spent including number of people assisted and how grant funds are being applied to operating expenses. That information will be reported back to the Board on a monthly basis. See details on assistance for individuals and families below which includes documentation requirements for income and need along with payments for expenses to vendors, not cash payments to applicants. The details on the small business distribution program are still being developed, but the same type of fraud prevention measures will be included in that program too.
Assistance for Individuals and Families Affected by COVID
How will funds be distributed to individuals and families?
What kind of assistance is provided?
Housing assistance such as deposits, rent or mortgage payments
Utility arrears or deposits
Transportation assistance such as car repairs, vehicle registration or other transportation needs
Other essential needs, such as medical expenses, as determined on a case by case basis
What are the eligibility requirements for the COVID emergency financial assistance program?
To be eligible for COVID-19 emergency financial assistance, an individual or household must meet all the following criteria and provide the requested documentation about their household’s financial and housing situation in order to be considered for the available funding:
Be a San Mateo County resident; and
Demonstrate through paystubs, bank accounts and/or other documents a household income within the past 30 days at or below the income eligibility threshold, which is currently 60% of the Area Median Income. (Note: the specific income threshold may be shifted, as the COVID-19 situation/response evolves.); and
Demonstrate financial hardship resulting from COVID-19 such as proof of lost or reduction in income; and
Demonstrate financial need such as a letter for past due rent from a landlord, past due utility or medical bills, emergency car repair or vehicle registration which if not addressed would create hardship for the household; and
Ability to maintain housing or have a plan in place to maintain housing which will be determined on a case by case basis.
Are there eligibility requirements related to citizenship or documentation status?
No. All residents who meet the eligibility requirements, regardless of citizenship or documentation status may apply for COVID-19 Emergency Financial Assistance.
Where do I go to apply for COVID Emergency Financial Assistance?
What happens if I request financial assistance through the COVID Emergency Financial Assistance program?
How much money is available through the COVID Emergency Financial Assistance Program?
The Board of Supervisors directed $1 million of their contribution to SMC Strong to the COVID-19 Emergency Financial Assistance Program. If additional donations are received from private donors, charitable foundations or other sources, that amount will increase.
How much does each applicant receive from the COVID-19 Emergency Financial Assistance Fund?
For applicants who are eligible, whether or not they receive assistance and if they do, what amount of assistance they receive, is dependent on factors such as their household’s income, resources, and need and on the availability of funding, as funding is limited.
For clients who are eligible and determined that they will receive assistance, will they receive the assistance as cash?
No. The Emergency Financial Assistance Program will direct payments on behalf of approved applicants. For example, an approved partial rent payment would be made directly to the property owner or payment for emergency and necessary car repairs would be made directly to the repair shop.
What if I need help with other needs such as groceries or help applying for unemployment?
Small Business Grant Program
Are small business grants still available?
This grant opportunity is now closed. There are more than 150 agencies that will be placed on a waiting list until additional funding is received. For future opportunities, please check back on this website. You may also visit www.philanthropyca.org/covid-19-response for information on non-profit emergency grant opportunities.
How can I learn more about the Federal Stimulus bill or other State and Federal programs for small businesses?
Paycheck Protection Program FAQs for Small Business
Small Business Administration (SBA): Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
Small Business Administration (SBA): COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Application
Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR): Federal Stimulus FAQ
Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz): Coronavirus 2019
America’s SBDC California: COVID-19 – The Latest News & Resources for Your Business
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (Cal OES)
Non-Profit Grant Program
Are non-profit grants still available?
Are there other programs are offering grants to non-profit agencies?
Yes. You may also want to consider applying for the Regional Non-Profit Emergency Fund program through the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
In challenging times like these, it’s more important than ever that we all pull together.
Thank you for visiting this page and for your generosity.