Cobb County nonprofits returning millions in unused grant money

Cobb County gave millions of dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act to local nonprofits. Now, some of those organizations are giving the money back. 

"We're not terribly surprised because we knew going in that the money had to be spent in a certain manner," said Cobb County Communications Dir. Ross Cavitt. 

The county is getting back at least $1.7 million that they gave to nonprofits. It's federal money from the American Rescue Plan Act that was given to communities to help recover from the pandemic.

"Some of the nonprofits knew when they got the allocations it would be difficult to not only spend the money as the guidelines show, but also to do the reporting requirements," said Cavitt.

The bulk of the money being returned is coming from Cobb Travel and Tourism.

"They had an employee retention program throughout the travel and tourism industry in Cobb County. They ran that program twice and couldn't use up their initial allocation, so they returned now about $1.6 million to us," said Cavitt.  

SelectCobb is also returning money. 

"SelectCobb had a program for daycares to help them hire employees to keep their operations going, but they couldn't use all that money as well," said Cavitt. 

The returned money is going into a contingency fund. The Board of Commissioners will determine how it will be spent.

"Figure out if other non-profits that we've identified can use the money, if there are projects that we initially rejected that may be able to now come back and get some of those funds or if there are other eligible programs," said Cavitt.

All the money has to be allocated by the end of 2025, it has to be spent by the end of 2026.

"One of the things we look at as we talk to these non-profits, are you on a pace to use up these funds by 2026," said Cavitt.

County officials believe more money could be returned. They've been checking with non-profits who haven't used a significant portion of their money to see if they'll be able to use it by the deadline.