Monroe County announces additional CARES Act funding

Stock photo.

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello has announced the launch of Fast Forward Monroe 2.0, an expansion of the Fast Forward Monroe Small Business Grant Assistance initiative.  

Under FF 2.0, the county will join with the Urban League of Rochester, PathStone Foundation and Ibero-American Action League to make the program more accessible and provide application help and support.    

“Small businesses are a key economic engine for our local economy and they face unprecedented hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bello said. “That’s why I launched the Fast Forward Monroe Small Business Grant Program last year. But, just like this pandemic is not over, the economic stress on our business owners has not ended and we know that minority-owned small businesses have suffered an even more dramatic hit. Through these important partnerships, Fast Forward 2.0 recognizes these ongoing difficulties and helps make it easier for applicants to gain access to the help they need." 

The initial Fast Forward program, launched in October 2020, helped over 1,500 local small businesses survive the pandemic with $22 million of funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. 

FF 2.0 is funded with $20 million in CARES Act money, which must be distributed by the end of this year. In addition to offering businesses more personalized help with completing their applications via the partnership with Urban League, Ibero and PathStone, the Monroe County Department of Planning and Development added nine temporary workers to make the approval process faster.     

Eligible businesses can receive grants of $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000 depending on the number of full-time employees. The money can be used for rent, payroll, operating expenditures or COVID-related business expenses and other funding shortfalls. 

Businesses that did not receive funding in the first version of the program will be given priority under Fast Forward 2.0. Applications are due Oct. 8. Visit for information.