Oregon IDA (Individual Development Account) Grant Application June 2021

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Our Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) assist Oregonians in saving money to start or grow a small business by enrolling them in a grant program. The program requires grantees to affordably save $84 a month, for a minimum of 12 months and maximum of 2 years, until $1,000 is saved. The $1,000 in savings is then matched with $5,000 in grant money provided by Mercy Corps Northwest for a combined total of $6,000 for their business. Our next application period will open on June 24th, 2021 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

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Step 1: See if you qualify for the IDA Program

Complete the IDA eligibility quiz online. This will help you determine whether or not you qualify for the program. Once you are sure that you qualify, we recommend that you attend one of our monthly orientations that share more information on the program. You can register for an orientation or information session here.

IDA Eligibility Requirements:

To be eligible for the Oregon IDA Program, an applicant must: 

  • Be a resident of Oregon
  • Own a small business located in Oregon (or if the business is not yet started or registered, the applicant must intend to start a small business located in Oregon) 
  • Have completed at least one of the business education prerequisites listed below under Step 2
  • Have a source of earned income to make a monthly savings deposit of at least $25 (up to $100/month maximum depending on savings timeframe selected)
  • Have less than $20,000 in total household Net Worth (your Net Worth is considered all household assets minus all household liabilities, not including your primary home and primary vehicle)
  • Have a household income that is less than the income limits listed below (80% of Area Median Income) OR have been a recipient in the last 12 months of one of the following public benefits: LIEAP, Low-Income Tax Credit Properties, Public housing, Section 8, SNAP, TANF, and/or WIC.
    Family size Income limit
    1 $54,150
    2 $61,900
    3 $69,650
    4 $77,350
    5 $83,550
    6 $89,750
    7 $95,950
    8 $102,150

Note: These figures are for Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill, Columbia, and Clackamas counties. To see the income limits for other counties in Oregon, download the following PDF: Income Eligibility Limits 2021.

Step 2: Confirm You Have Completed Your Education Prerequisites

IDA applicants must have completed at least one of the following business classes within the last 12 months* before applying:

  1. Mercy Corps NW Master Your Credit Seminar
  2. Mercy Corps NW Business Foundations I
  3. Mercy Corps NW Rebuilding Your Foundations
  4. Mercy Corps NW Business Plan Workshop
  5. Other business classes taken through other organizations can be considered for credit towards the requirements. Proof of class completion in the form of a certificate or letter from an instructor will be required to process your application. If you have taken a business class that comprises at least 12 hours, feel free to run it by us at [email protected].

*If you have not yet completed business education or completed it more than 12 months ago, you will not be eligible to participate in the IDA Program at this time.

Step 3: Apply to the IDA Program

In order to submit your IDA application, you will need to have the following documents ready. Please note that there are two different sets of documents required: Option 1 – For anyone who is a recipient of public assistance and Option 2 – For those who are NOT recipients any of forms of public assistance.

Option 1: For anyone who is a recipient of public assistance

For those who are recipients of public assistance including:

  • LIEAP
  • Public Housing
  • Section 8
  • SNAP
  • TANF
  • Low Income Tax Credit properties
  • WIC

The Five Documents Needed To Apply Are As Follows:

  1. Copy of Oregon ID
    • If you do not have an Oregon ID you can submit a utility bill or lease agreement in your name
  2. For any businesses already in operation, provide last year’s (2020) business tax return or a Schedule C  if you are a sole proprietor
  3. A public assistance certification letter* for any public assistance received in the past 12 months (must be official documentation from the public assistance provider, i.e. SNAP approval letter, WIC enrollment letter, verification of benefits letter provided by a case manager, etc. A photo of a SNAP card will not suffice.)
  4. Only if you completed business education at another organization besides Mercy Corps NW in the last 12 months: You will need to submit a certificate of completion or letter from your instructor that certifies your attendance.
  5. Optional: An explanation of any special circumstances to be considered

*If you can NOT provide documentation of public assistance participation certified within the last 12 months on letterhead or some other official document as described above, then you will need to follow instructions for submitting all documents under Option 2 below.

Option 2: For those who are NOT recipients any of forms of public assistance (or those unable to provide documentation of public assistance)

The Six Documents Needed To Apply Are As Follows:

  1. Copy of Oregon ID
    • If you do not have an Oregon ID you can submit a utility bill or lease agreement in your name
  2. For any businesses already in operation, provide last year’s (2020) business tax return or a Schedule C  if you are a sole proprietor
  3. 1 month of recent bank statements from May 2021 from each bank account in the household (personal and business)
  4. Proof of income for the last 2 months (April + May 2021): You need to provide at minimum one or more of the following forms of proof of earned income for your whole household for the last 2 months:
    • All pay stubs for this period for April and May 2021 to show your gross income
    • If you do not receive pay stubs, or are working “under the table,” please provide a letter that includes the following information: your full name, hours worked over the last two months, pay rate, and signature of employer.
    • A 2-month profit and loss statement if you have income from self-employment. A profit and loss sheet should show all of your business expenses, which are then subtracted from your gross sales to show your profit. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should allow us to understand how much you are earning from your self-employment.
    • A copy of your official unemployment letter if you received unemployment income in April and/or May 2021. If you no longer have a copy of your official unemployment letter, a screenshot of your online unemployment benefits account can be used instead, if it includes your name, dates of benefits received, and benefit amount.
  5. Only if you completed business education at another organization besides Mercy Corps NW in the last 12 months: You will need to submit a certificate of completion or letter from your instructor that certifies your attendance.
  6. Optional: An explanation of any special circumstances to be considered

Questions? Send them to [email protected] 

Application

Thank you for your interest in this grant. The application will open on June 24th at 3 p.m PST. Please plan at least 60 minutes to complete the application once live. You will need to include all required documents at the time of submission. To stay up-to-date with Mercy Corps Northwest sign up for our newsletter here.