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Community Navigator Pilot Program

Grants to USA Agencies, Nonprofits, IIHEs, and Tribes
to Support Small Businesses During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

Deadline Date:

07/23/21 11:59 PM Eastern Time


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Grants to USA states, local governments, nonprofit organizations, nonprofit IHEs, and Tribal governments and organizations to support small businesses during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take several weeks to complete. The program is intended to strengthen outreach to underserved businesses by partnering with organizations with deep roots in their communities.

The Administration is committed to ensuring that the nation’s small businesses receive the support they need to access federal relief programs that can help them weather the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The focus of this program is to reach, and support underserved small businesses, including micro and rural businesses, with emphasis and those owned by women, veterans and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.

Award Amounts:

  1. National - Tier 1: Eligible applicants must identify a minimum of five service areas (markets) not within the same state serving a total service population of greater than 500,000.
  2. State/Local - Tier 2: Eligible applicants must focus on supporting an individual state, region, municipality, or city with total service population of greater than or equal to 500,000.
  3. Local - Tier 3: Eligible applicants must focus on supporting a region, municipality, city, tribal or rural community with total service population of less than 500,000.

Community Navigator Model:

  • Under the community navigator approach, traditional business assistance organizations enlist trusted, culturally knowledgeable partners to conduct targeted outreach to specific sectors of the entrepreneurial community. This can take on several forms, from hiring dedicated staff to focus on these communities or partnering with specialized community organizations and chambers of commerce via a “hub and spoke” model.
  • Culturally Knowledgeable Staff: As SBA and its resource partners know well, completing applications for small business loans, government assistance programs, and other programs often requires business owners to produce tax documents, bank statements, profit and loss statements, business plans, and other documents. Preparing and assembling these documents can be a significant challenge for many small business owners. These challenges can be more significant for individuals with disabilities and/or in minority, immigrant, rural, and other underserved communities. Organizations seeking to support these populations can strengthen their engagement by hiring or contracting with culturally and/or linguistically knowledgeable experts – certified public accountants (CPAs), attorneys, and other professionals – to work with these business owners to complete their applications for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and other assistance programs.
  • Hub and Spoke “Navigator” Model: The hub and spoke approach features a lead non-profit – a “hub” – at the center of a network of “spoke” organizations that deploy trusted messengers to work with businesses in targeted communities. These networks leverage the business development expertise of the central hub organization and the community credibility of spoke organizations to better connect business owners in targeted communities with critical services and assistance programs.

More about the Hub and Spoke Model can be found starting at page 5 of the NOFO. See Attached Documents, below.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 196366

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Maximum of 100 awards

Estimated Size of Grant:

Under the Community Navigator Pilot Program, SBA is soliciting applications for three separate competitions:
- Tier 1 - $5.0M
- Tier 2 - $2.5M
- Tier 3 - $1.0M

Term of Contract:

The Community Navigator Pilot Program will be a two-year Project Period, not to exceed twenty-four (24) months. Funding Period of Performance from September 1, 2021 to August 31, 2023.


  • City or township governments
  • County governments
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility
  • State governments

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Additional Information on Eligibility:
- Economic Development Organization or Similar Organization
- SBA Resource Partners
- Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)
- Women’s Business Centers
- Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs)
- Community Development Financial Institutions and
- Nonprofit Colleges and Universities

Applicants will submit only one proposal in response to this NOFO. To the extent that they satisfy all eligibility criteria the same as all other applicant organizations, Religious Organizations are entitled to compete for Federal financial assistance (grants and/or cooperative agreements) used to support government programs. Generally, such organizations are not required to alter their religious character to participate in a government program, nor to cease engaging in explicitly religious activities outside the program, nor effectively to relinquish their Federal statutory protections for religious hiring decisions.

The following organizations will automatically be considered ineligible, and their applications will be rejected without being evaluated.
- Applications from individuals (including sole proprietorships) and foreign entities are not eligible.
- Any organization that owes an outstanding and unresolved financial obligation to the federal government.
- Any organization with an outstanding and unresolved material deficiency reported under the requirements of the Single Audit Act within the past three years.
- Any organization that is currently suspended, debarred, or otherwise prohibited from receiving awards of contracts or grants from the Federal government.
- Any organization that has filed for bankruptcy within the past five (5) years.
- Any organization that had an officer or agent acting on its behalf convicted, of a felony criminal violation under any Federal law within the preceding twenty-four (24) months.

Pre-Application Information:

- Applicants have until 11:59 P.M. Eastern Time, July 23, 2021, to submit their applications at
- Performance periods are projected to commence in September 2021.

Potential applicants should familiarize themselves with Federal platforms including,, and Grant Solutions including any account registration requirements that can be completed in advance of Community Navigator funding announcement(s). It is highly recommend that entities not currently registered in begin that process right away.

If your organization hasn’t already done so, it must register with, receive a DUNS number and register on before applying for this funding opportunity. Note: The SAM registration process, may take up to 4 weeks, must be completed in order to submit an application electronically. It is strongly suggested that you start the registration process immediately.

View this opportunity on

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

For more information on community navigator models, please contact Mark Madrid, Associate Administrator for the Office of Entrepreneurial Development, at

Point of Contact:

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

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