Officials said that more that 545,710 programs and organizations received funding from the CARES Act, to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For many people across Tennessee, coronavirus relief programs provided important lifelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials said that they awarded around $2.3 billion from the CARES Act.
The Financial Stimulus Accountability Group, which was formed to oversee how money from the CARES Act was spent, released a year-end summary of the programs on Tuesday. In it, they said that there were 545,710 recipients across the state.
Around 40% of the funds were to help with unemployment insurance, and another 37% was distributed as economic and pandemic relief to Tennesseans. They said that another 14% was distributed as public health and state expenses and that 9% of funds are still available.
The programs included in economic and pandemic relief to Tennesseeans included broadband support, non-profit funding, and loans and payments to help small businesses. In total, $882 million was spent on economic and pandemic relief, with 36.86% given to small businesses.
Officials also said that 450,000 people received help from the unemployment trust fund. The fund had $939 million to help people who applied for benefits.
The Tennessee Emergency Broadband Fund also helped improve digital infrastructure and help ensure families had access to the internet during the COVID-19 pandemic. It received $55 million and officials estimated that 55,000 more Tennesseans were connected to the internet through the fund, mostly in Middle Tennessee.
Officials named three large grants that helped K-12 Education in Tennessee during the COVID-19 pandemic: The Remote Technology Grant, the Connectivity Grant and the Reopening Grant. They allowed educational institutions to purchase technology that would keep students and staff connected during virtual learning.
They also said $21.45 million was allocated to help higher education institutions transition to online learning and to help create socially distanced environments on campuses. Those funds went to 82 colleges and universities in Tennessee.
The Coronavirus Agricultural and Forestry Fund was meant to help businesses facing new costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to help improve meat processing capacities in Tennessee. It distributed $25.2 million to 371 recipients, officials said.
Around $23.6 million was used to benefit 9,500 people working in health care and to administer the first round of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Around $200 million was also approved to help 27,973 businesses through the Tennessee Business Relief Program, officials said, with around 70% of those payments going to businesses with less than $500,000 in annual sales. They said $18.5 million when to minority-owned businesses and $24.5 million to women-owned businesses.