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Find Support for Health Care Providers, Education, the Arts and More 

By Lisa Cirincione, Senior Resource Development Associate at Joining Vision and Action

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), signed into law March 27, has many implications for Americans, nonprofits and small businesses. 

It includes $150 billion to help the health care industry, $500 billion for state and local governments and companies, and $350 billion in loans and assistance for small businesses. 

There is a lot in this 854-page law, and this blog is intended to provide the highlights that impact the majority of Joining Vision and Action’s clients. To make it easier for you to navigate, I’ve broken up the important things to note by category. 

For info on additional steps the legislation takes to help nonprofits stay afloat, see my accompanying blog, CARES Act Loans, Credits and Other Support for Nonprofits

Health care 

As you might expect, there is a lot in here that pertains to health care to help the country respond to COVID-19. 

  • The act provides $200 million in grants for telehealth networks and telehealth resource centers to provide health care providers with devices to facilitate telemedicine services. For these grants, mental health and treatment for substance use disorders is included in the act’s definition of health. An additional $25 million will be allocated to a grant program to help rural communities purchase broadband equipment for telemedicine.
  • The act also makes at least $250 million available for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic Expansion grants. The grant program will prioritize rural areas and medically underserved areas. 
  • Training for an expanded number of health care workers plays a prominent role in the CARES Act. The act reauthorizes health professions workforce grant programs. It includes a priority for funding for qualified applicants that train residents in rural areas, including tribal organizations. 
  • The act also provides funding for the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program and Clinical Nurse Specialist Program. 
  • It also provides funding for demonstration projects to address health professions workforce needs. 
  • Grants for up to five years are also authorized for rural health care services outreach, rural health network development and small health care provider quality improvement.
  • There is funding available for grants to construct state extended-care facilities by modifying or altering existing hospitals, nursing homes and domiciliary facilities in state homes.
  • The Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund will receive $100 billion to reimburse health care providers for health care-related expenses or lost revenues that are attributable to COVID-19.

Children and youth 

The CARES Act supports several grant programs to benefit children and youth, including:


  • To help address students’ basic needs, transition to online learning and support college students who are challenged as a result of closed campuses, the Education Stabilization Fund will receive an additional $30.8 billion. 
  • Project SERV [School Emergency Response to Violence] will receive $100 million to clean and disinfect schools and address the impact of COVID-19 on students, including their mental health needs.
  • Funding is included for an Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund to help principals to address the needs at their schools; 90% of the grant funds awarded will go to local educational agencies.

Low-income people 

Other unique target populations

  • To respond to the needs of older adults, the act increases the flexibility that state agencies or area agencies on aging have in using their funds, allowing them to be responsive to changing needs without prior approval. It includes $50 million to maintain housing stability for low-income older adults. 
  • The Administration for Community Living will receive $955 million for aging and disability programs, including senior nutrition, home and community-based support services, family caregivers, elder justice and independent living. 
  • The act includes $15 million to help people with disabilities receive housing.
  • Family Violence Prevention and Services will receive $45 million in additional support for domestic violence shelters.
  • Funding to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will include $100 million for emergency response grants to address mental health and substance use disorders, and to provide resources to youth and those experiencing homelessness. SAMHSA will also receive $50 million for suicide prevention.

Arts and humanities 

The arts have not been overlooked in the CARES Act. 

  • Additional funding for both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities is included. 
  • The Act also includes funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in fiscal stabilization grants to public telecommunications entities to maintain programming and services and preserve small and rural stations threatened by declines in non-federal revenues.
  • The act includes grants through the Institute of Museum and Library Services for states and tribes to expand digital network access, purchase internet accessible devices, and provide technical support services.

There’s a lot of information here—too much to cover in depth in a single blog. For details and support in applying for grants or otherwise securing funding to help your organization meet the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak, please feel free to email me directly. And be sure to read my companion piece to this blog, CARES Act Loans, Credits and Other Support for Nonprofits.