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Federal Loan Programs Available to Nonprofit Organizations

Nonprofit organizations are among the organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. While several relief programs are available through the federal government, determining when your organization is eligible for each program can be confusing, due to differing criteria. Here, we explore three loan programs offered through federal government programs or federal legislation due to the COVID-19 crisis and the eligibility of nonprofit organizations to apply.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans
The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) is a program, administered through the SBA, that is available to eligible organizations suffering economic injury due to a declared disaster. Because COVID-19 is considered a declared disaster, these loans are available in all 50 states as well as Washington D.C., Guam, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. Loans awarded to nonprofit organizations are up to $2 million, carry a 2.75 percent interest rate, and are amortized over a period of up to 30 years. Payments are deferred for the first year.

The following nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply:

  • Private nonprofit organizations that are non-governmental agencies or entities that currently have an effective ruling letter from the IRS granting tax exemption under sections 501(c), (d), or (e) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954,
  • Private nonprofit organizations that have satisfactory evidence from the State that the non-revenue producing organization or entity is a non-profit one organized or doing business under State law, or
  • Faith-based organizations. (For more information regarding faith-based organizations, please visit the SBA's Faith-Based Organizations FAQs page).

In addition to the loan, applicants may apply for an emergency advance (or emergency grant) of up to $10,000, based on the organization’s employee headcount. While this advance or grant awarded does not need to be repaid (even if the applicant declines the loan), it will reduce forgiveness on the Paycheck Protection Program loan, which is discussed further below.

Currently, the EIDL program is only accepting new applications from agricultural enterprises due to funding limitations. It is unknown whether additional applications from other organizations, including nonprofit organizations, will be accepted in the future. Organizations who already applied for this program may check on the status of their application by contacting the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov.

June 15, 2020 UPDATE: The SBA is once again accepting applications from all eligible organizations. It is unknown how much funding is still available, but applicants are awarded funds on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested organizations should visit sba.gov/disaster.

Paycheck Protection Program
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a loan program created through the CARES Act which was passed by Congress and signed into law on March 27, 2020. Unlike the EIDL program, the PPP is administered by lenders such as banks. The program offers eligible organizations loans equal to roughly 2.5 months of 2019 payroll costs (up to $10 million in total loan proceeds), to be used on specified payroll costs, rent, mortgage interest, and utilities. If borrowers spend the funds in accordance with the guidelines and maintain employee headcount and salaries and wages, the loan may be forgiven up to 100 percent. Loan proceeds not forgiven will be subject to a 1 percent interest rate and 2-year amortization period.

Some nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply for PPP loans. Specifically, CARES allows 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, 501(c)(19) veterans organizations, and certain tribal business concerns to apply. Note that the organization must have under 500 employees (or otherwise meet the SBA Size Standard for its NAICS code), as well as agree to certifications that can be found on the PPP application and PPP forgiveness application.

Funding is still available for this program and nonprofit organizations can still apply. Interested organizations should contact their lender to begin the application process. Note that guidance on this program continues to evolve, and the latest updates on both the loan process and the forgiveness process can be found at https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares/assistance-for-small-businesses. In addition, as Congress continues to negotiate changes to the program applicants and borrowers should watch for changes or stay in touch with their advisors to ensure they are complying with the latest program guidelines.

June 15, 2020 UPDATE: While funds remain, loans will only be issued through June 30, 2020. Interested organizations should contact their lender to begin the application process.

Main Street Lending Program
The Main Street Lending Program (MSLP) offers loans to eligible small and medium-size businesses affected by COVID-19. The program offers loans, starting at $500,000 based on the business’s debt structure and 2019 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA).

According to the program’s Frequently Asked Questions, nonprofit organizations are currently not eligible for this program. The document states:
“While non-profit organizations are not currently eligible under the Program, the Federal Reserve acknowledges the unique needs of non-profit organizations, many of which are on the front lines providing critical services and research to fight the pandemic. EBITDA is the key underwriting metric required for the [loan program]. The Federal Reserve recognizes that the credit risk of non-profit organizations, as a matter of practice, is generally not evaluated on the basis of EBITDA. The Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department will be evaluating the feasibility of adjusting the borrower eligibility criteria and loan eligibility metrics of the Program for such organizations.”

For more information on this program, visit https://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/mainstreetlending.htm.

June 15, 2020 UPDATE: The Federal Reserve announced that it is seeking feedback through June 22 on its proposal to expand this program to small and medium-sized nonprofit organizations. If approved, eligible nonprofits may include organizations that:

  • are considered a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) of the Internal Revenue Code
  • were in sound financial condition before the coronavirus pandemic and could benefit from additional liquidity to manage through this challenging period
  • employee a minimum of 50 and maximum of 15,000 employees
  • have operational history of at least five years
  • have endowments of no more than $3 billion.

Additional financial thresholds based on operating performance, liquidity, and ability to repay debt may apply.

In addition, the Main Street Lending Program has also been expanded for all organizations with a new minimum loan size of $250,000.

To learn more regarding the proposal to expand the program to nonprofits, visit the Federal Reserve’s press release at https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/pressreleases/monetary20200615b.htm. For additional information about general program changes, visit https://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/mainstreetlending.htm.

For more information about relief options available to nonprofit organizations, contact your HBK Advisor.

About the Author(s)
Amy Reynallt is a Manager with the HBK Manufacturing Solutions Group in the Youngstown, Ohio office of HBK CPAs & Consultants. She is experienced in navigating the strategic and financial matters associated with small businesses and works closely with owners to help them plan, execute, and meet their short- and long-term financial goals.
Hill, Barth & King LLC has prepared this material for informational purposes only. Any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or under any state or local tax law or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding the matter.

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