When Congress passed the CARES Act and it was signed into law in March 2020, $8 billion was set aside for tribal entities, which included nearly half a billion dollars for Alaska Native Corporations. Shortly afterwards, several Lower 48 tribes filed a lawsuit challenging ANC’s eligibility to receive those funds. The case reached all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court who ruled in June 2021 in a 6-3 decision that it was in fact Congress’ intent to include ANC’s in the CARES Act and, therefore, ANC’s were eligible to receive the funding.

The U.S. Department of Treasury was responsible for determining the amount each ANC received. Out of the funds set aside for ANC’s, Kootznoowoo, Inc. was allocated only $168,625.  Per an article published on September 3, 2021, by Coast Alaska, “According to the Treasury one of the factors [in determining each corporation’s disbursement was] the number of employees the corporation and its subsidiaries have.”

“Even though we didn’t get a large allocation of funding, we are still committed to ensuring that every Kootznoowoo shareholder has an opportunity to receive a portion of the CARES Act money the corporation received,” said Board chair Melissa M. Kookesh.
At the September board meeting, the Board of Directors reviewed and approved a plan from management that allows for each shareholder who applies to receive a flat $125 in pandemic relief.

Applications for the Kootznoowoo CARES program will open on October 1 and will close on November 1, 2021. Shareholders will be able to apply for CARES Act funding through the online Kootznoowoo Shareholder portal. To avoid any delays, those not signed-up for the portal should visit www.MyKootznoowoo.com and register before the application period opening on October 1.

Shareholders must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible to receive the funding:

  • Be a Kootznoowoo shareholder as of October 1, 2021.
  • Be a U.S. citizen.
  • Must be able to self-certify that they’ve experienced a negative financial impact (including increased costs or loss of income) of at least $125.
  • Expenses or income loss must be between March 1, 2020 to December 31, 2021.