On November 13, 2020, the NJEDA Board approved the creation of the Sustain and Serve NJ program, a $2 million grant program that will provide funding to organizations which will be used to purchase meals, in bulk, from restaurants that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which will be distributed at no cost to New Jersey residents.
This program is the latest in a number of NJEDA initiatives supporting New Jersey restaurants impacted by COVID-19, which most recently included $35 million in targeted grant funding for restaurants the Authority made available through Phase 3 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program.
Under the Sustain and Serve NJ program, eligible organizations can receive grants of at least $100,000 to support prospective costs associated with the bulk purchasing of meals from New Jersey-based restaurants.
Applications for the program are now open and must be submitted by 11:59:59 p.m. on Friday, January 8, 2021. Apply for the Sustain and Serve NJ Program.
Who is eligible to apply?
Restaurants may not directly apply for this grant. Restaurants interested in the program are recommended to contact an entity with an established bulk meal purchasing and distribution program to discuss potential partnership. Restaurants interested in providing meals for Sustain and Serve NJ grant recipients may opt to have their information posted publicly on the Sustain and Serve NJ page on the NJ COVID-19 Business Information Hub by clicking here. The program will be open to any eligible entity, including 501(c) non-profit organizations, that are legally registered to do business in New Jersey and are in good standing with the Department of Labor and the New Jersey Division of Taxation. The entity must also demonstrate to the Authority that they have sufficient capacity to bulk purchase meals with the NJEDA’s grant. The guidelines the NJEDA has established to demonstrate this is that the applying entity must be able to show as part of the application that they have purchased more than 3,000 meals at a total cost of no less than $50,000, from NewJersey-based restaurants, between March 9, 2020 and December 16, 2020. The grant applicants will identify to NJEDA, as part of the grant application, the restaurant or restaurants from which they will be purchasing meals with the grant funding. Restaurants may not directly apply for this grant. To qualify as a participating restaurant for Sustain and Serve NJ, restaurants must:
50 or fewer employees (based on the restaurant’s most recently filed WR-30 with NJDOL);
A physical commercial location in New Jersey;
Legal registration to do business in New Jersey and good standing with the New Jersey Department of Labor and New Jersey Division of Taxation;
Good standing with the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (where applicable);
Valid certification from municipal or county government inspection showing a current rating of Satisfactory per the New Jersey Retail Food Establishment Rating system; and
Restaurants will also have to certify that they were in operation on February 15, 2020, and detail how their business has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Applicants who are seeking participating restaurants for Sustain and Serve NJ may refer to the Interested Restaurants registry. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority as to eligibility for Sustain and Serve NJ. All parties are strongly advised to exercise due diligence when selecting participating restaurants.
What can the grant funding be used for?
Grant funding from the NJEDA can only be used for prospective costs associated with the bulk purchasing of meals. Specifically, this means any costs incurred between the date of execution of grant agreement, and April 30, 2021. The NJEDA will not provide reimbursements for meals purchased prior to the execution of a grant agreement with the NJEDA. While the NJEDA cannot require establish specific parameters around specifically who the meals are distributed to, grantees are prohibited from re-selling any meals purchased with NJEDA grant funding.
Grant funding awarded through Sustain and Serve NJ will be restricted to expenses related to the direct cost of purchasing meals, as determined by the grantee’s restaurant partner or partners. This cost may include the restaurant’s cost of food and ingredients, labor, packaging, facilities, and profit margin. Sales tax and/or gratuity is not an eligible use of grant funds. While the restaurant may charge the grantee recipient any amount, the NJEDA’s grant award amount will be capped at a calculation of $10 per meal. No other expense incurred by the grantee, whether in support of the meal purchase from the restaurant or otherwise, is eligible.
Grantees will be incrementally disbursed grant funding as costs are incurred and demonstrated to the Authority.
How does my entity apply?
Applications for the program are now open and must be submitted by 11:59:59 PM on Friday, January 8, 2021. Apply Here.
Prospective applicants who wish to view a sample application prior to starting their own, click here.
Restaurants may not directly apply for this grant. Restaurants interested in the program are recommended to contact an entity with an established bulk meal purchasing and distribution program to discuss potential partnership. Restaurants interested in providing meals for Sustain and Serve NJ grant recipients may opt to have their information posted publicly on the Sustain and Serve NJ page on the NJ COVID-19 Business Information Hub by clicking here.
Applications for Sustain and Serve NJ are completed in three parts:
The applicant is required to submit this application form, which includes listing proposed restaurants for meal purchases;
The restaurants the applicant lists will then receive an email from NJEDA, with instructions to complete a short form (applicants and restaurants may review a sample form here). Restaurants must complete that form if they wish to be eligible for meal purchased through Sustain and Serve NJ; and
Applicants will receive restaurant form submissions by email, as they are completed; you must then review and approve each one. These approvals must be completed by the application deadline for consideration for meal purchase reimbursement through Sustain and Serve NJ.
Valid Business Registration Certificate (BRC) – see Business Registration Certificate Guide for more information.
Tax Clearance Certificate – it is recommended to provide this as part of the application if available. It can alternatively be provided after application, but prior to execution of grant agreement.
Documentation verifying purchase of at least 3,000 meals worth $50,000 between March 9, 2020 and December 16, 2020 (e.g., receipts, invoices).
Valid Business Registration Certificate (BRC). see Business Registration Certificate Guide for more information.
Current and valid certification from a municipal and/or county government, with Satisfactory rating as per New Jersey Retail Food Establishment Rating system (e.g. risk-based assessment report, door placard copy, municipal or county health department report)
Applicants are responsible for ensuring restaurants have submitted required materials and applicants have completed review and approval by 11:59:59 PM on Friday, January 8, 2021. Applicants should allow sufficient time for submission of both their and listed restaurants’ materials. Grant applicants/recipients are responsible for providing to the Authority any necessary supporting information and documentation from the restaurants to verify eligibility – whether that be as part of the application process, prior to grant agreement (if any), or following execution of any grant agreement, as part of an audit the NJEDA, U.S.Treasury, or any other relevant State or federal entity may conduct.
Applicants seeking restaurants they can purchase meals from as part of Sustain and Serve NJ may refer to the list of restaurants that have expressed interest. Please note that inclusion on this list is not an endorsement from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority as to eligibility for Sustain and Serve NJ. All parties are strongly advised to exercise due diligence when selecting participating restaurants.
Where do I go if I have more questions about Sustain and Serve NJ?
If you have additional questions, you may email SSNJ@njeda.com or call 844-965-1125 for assistance.