The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world as we know it, not only in regards to our physical health, but also socially, economically, relationally, and spiritually. In an effort to bring some financial stability and economic relief to our nation, the U.S. Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) at the end of March. In large part, this legislation is aimed at providing financial support to small businesses—including churches and nonprofits—to help bridge these uncertain times, to help keep small businesses operational, and to help people stay employed and off the unemployment rolls.
More specifically, the Paycheck Protection Program, which is part of the CARES ACT, enables small businesses, churches, 501(c)(3) nonprofits and some other entities to apply for loans through their local bank. The funds from these loans are to be used to cover payroll expenses (including medical insurance and retirement), rent or mortgage interests, and utilities. If the company uses the funds for these purposes and maintains a consistent level of employment, then the loan may be entirely forgiven, essentially converting the loan into a grant.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is responsible for administering the program, and thus far, it appears that local banks are utilizing a variety of different mechanisms to accept Paycheck Protection Program loan applications and supporting documentation. Some larger banks may utilize a more formal online application process, while smaller local banks may be accepting and processing applications in a less formal manner. For those planning on filing an application, you should at least be prepared to provide your bank with the following:
Of course, as with all programs of this sort, small businesses, churches and nonprofits who are considering application should consult with a Certified Public Accountant, attorney, and/or other knowledgeable professional.
The following are several resources NC Family has found to be helpful:
Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA): How the COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Bill Affects Churches and Nonprofits
U.S. Small Business Administration: SBA Clarifies Eligibility of Faith-Based Organizations to Participate in Paycheck Protection and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Programs
Ministry Watch: How Will the CARES Act Impact Churches and Nonprofit Ministries?