The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program, long delayed in its launch after it was included in the $900 billion stimulus passed by Congress in December 2020 (yes, you read that right) as the Save Our Stages Act, has had a bumpy rollout to say the least.

The program is designed to provide $16 billion in dedicated funding for beleaguered live music, theater and entertainment venues like the Sweetwater Music HallThrockmorton Theatre and Marin Theatre Company, which have been hit the hardest in the 94941 arts community.

The SVOG program was rumored to be nearing the starting line throughout the first quarter of 2021 via the Small Business Administration, before eventually launching at the end of April. Six weeks later, a handful of venues have gotten good news, but it’s just a tiny fraction of those who applied, and none of the Mill Valley applicants have heard anything yet.

According to the New York Times, the Volcanic Theater Pub, a 250-capacity music and performance venue in Bend, Ore., was awarded about $140,000. Organizations are eligible for a grant equal to 45% of their 2019 gross earned revenue OR $10 million, whichever is less. For organizations that began operation after January 1, 2019, grants will be for the average monthly gross earned revenue for each full month the organization was in operation during 2019 multiplied by six (6) OR $10 million, whichever is less.

Other applicants got grimmer news. Bob Hansan, the managing partner of Bobby McKey’s, a piano bar near Washington, received a cryptic email Tuesday afternoon that began: “Your name appears on the Do Not Pay list with the Match Source DMF,” meaning the government’s Death Master File, a record of more than 83 million people whose deaths have been reported to the Social Security Administration. “It’s this continual drip-drop of delays,” he said, the Times reported.

Approximately 13,000 people applied, seeking a total of $11 billion. Only 50 venue operators and live performing arts businesses have been funded since April, according to a report from the Small Business Administration. As of midday on June 3, 13,783 grant applications have been, meaning that the number of grants that have been awarded totals just 0.3%. 3,471 of the submitted applications are under review, while the remaining 10,262 are awaiting review. A total of $52.4 million in funds have been dispersed to date.

Stay tuned.

Want to know what’s happening around town? Click here to subscribe to the Enjoy Mill Valley Blog by Email!