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Guide to Navigating
Federal Emergency Management Agency
and Small Business Administration
Disaster Aid for Cultural Institutions

Up-to-Date Forms

Disaster Business Loan Application Filing Requirements
for U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
(2008 Navigation Guide Appendix E)

Disaster Business Loan Application (SBA)
(2008 Navigation Guide Appendix E)

Tax Information Authorization, IRS Form 8821 Instructions
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Revised 2012 (2008 Navigation Guide Appendix F)

Tax Information Authorization, IRS Form 8821
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Revised 2012 (2008 Navigation Guide Appendix F)

Request for Public Assistance Form
FEMA Form 90-49 (AUG 10)
(2008 Navigation Guide Appendix H)

PNP Facility Questionnaire
FEMA Form 90-121 (FEB 09)
(2008 Navigation Guide Appendix I)

Development of this resource was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Production and distribution in 2008 of a print version of this Guide is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Arts. Download or purchase a copy now.

The information on these pages is meant as a general guide to seeking federal funding to aid in disaster response and recovery. The steps outlined here are based on current Federal policies, some of which are under review. Heritage Preservation has tried to ensure the accuracy of the information provided. However, Heritage Preservation assumes no liability for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions in this publication. Please read carefully the policies and regulations cited.

Application Process

1. Has a Presidential declaration been issued?

Federal disaster assistance is available only if the President declares a federal emergency or major disaster. To find out if a declaration has been issued, check or call your state or local emergency management agency (see the blue pages in your phone book or

In some circumstances, Small Business Administration (SBA) loans may be available without a presidential declaration; click here to check for SBA disaster declarations.

2. Who is eligible to apply for assistance?

Libraries, museums, archives, zoos, and all other collecting institutions open to the general public may apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance if they are:

  1. an eligible private nonprofit* OR part of a state, local, or tribal government
  2. open to the public.

* Carefully review the appropriate FEMA policies: (1) 9521.3 Private Nonprofit Facility Eligibility, which states that museums, zoos, libraries, and arts organizations may be eligible, and (2) 9521.2 Private Nonprofit Museum Eligibility, which states: “private nonprofit museums are confined facilities which are constructed or manufactured whose primary purposes are to: preserve a documented collection of artistic, historic, scientific or other objects, and exhibit the documented collection to the general public.”

3. Where should we apply for assistance?

Nonprofit libraries, museums, zoos, arts organizations, and all other collecting institutions open to the general public:

State, local, or tribal government libraries, museums, archives, and all other collecting institutions open to the general public may apply to FEMA as part of their state, local, or tribal government’s application to FEMA for debris removal, permanent repairs and/or collections stabilization. (In some cases, a state may designate more than one of its agencies as being appropriate to make application to FEMA.)

Applications to FEMA or SBA: As long as an application is made to one of these programs by the stated deadline, the applicant will be assured of acceptance into and eligibility for either program.

4. What financial support is available?

SBA Support:The SBA can provide private nonprofit organizations (PNP) low-interest Physical Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged real estate, equipment, inventory, and fixtures. The loan may be increased by as much as 20 percent to protect the property against future disasters of the same type. These loans cover uninsured losses. The SBA also offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs, such as ongoing operating expenses to PNP organizations of all sizes. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the organization suffered any physical property damage.

FEMA Support: All FEMA assistance is on a reimbursement basis for documented expenses—in other words, you have to pay for services and supplies and then submit receipts to be reimbursed by an agency of your state.

The minimum federal cost share is 75 percent of the eligible cost; however, the percentage may be changed for a particular disaster. If your facility meets the eligibility criteria and deadlines for applying for assistance, FEMA may offer reimbursement for:

Collections: The FEMA Collections and Individual Objects Policy DAP 9524.6 states that funding may be available for damaged collections and objects of eligible public or private nonprofit facilities when the collections are:

This includes collections in state, local, or tribal government libraries, museums, archives, arts organizations, and all other collecting institutions that meet FEMA’s eligibility criteria.

Replaceable Library Books and Publications: FEMA will fund treatment of “special library collections” but not replacement of rare books and other fragile materials. General library books and publications are subject to the provisions of 44 CFR §206.226(i).

Animals: FEMA Replacement of Animals Associated with Eligible Facilities DAP9524.9 states that funding may be available for replacement of destroyed or damaged animals owned by an eligible applicant. These animals may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Police animals and trained and certified rescue dogs.
  2. Animals in museums, zoos, or publicly owned nature centers.
  3. Taxidermy specimens located in an eligible facility.
  4. Animals used by rehabilitation facilities as part of diagnosis or treatment.

IMPORTANT: If you qualify for FEMA support, funds will be disbursed by the state emergency management agency. You will not receive a check directly from FEMA.

Disaster Aid for Cultural Institutions | Applying for SBA Assistance | Applying for FEMA Assistance | How to Contact FEMA and SBA | What to Expect after You Have Filed with SBA | What to Expect after You Have Filed with FEMA | Resources

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