You need to know about this.
Financial Relief May be Yours: The CARES Act
Week #3 of Isolation (seems like the word “Isolation” should now be capitalized…it’s that important). And, how are we all doing? After working on my lifestyle brand, I am now defeated. Days go by and I have no idea what I accomplished. What day is it? Another Zoom call? Yes, please! Human interaction! Not that my spouse doesn’t provide that, mind you…but by now, you understand. Let Zoom Happy Hour commence!
News is bleak but the Federal Government may soon be able to provide your church or non-profit with financial relief. Everyone’s had to become a quick study on the CARES Act (aka the Payroll Protection Program) through the Small Business Administration (SBA). If you haven’t heard about the PPP – time to catch up. I am no expert (the legislation is 800-pages long) but here’s what I have gleaned from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Forbes.com, and The Agitator:
$350 billion dollars has been made available to help small businesses keep people employed during the pandemic. This money is a loan that may actually be turned into an outright grant – if employees are kept on the payroll.
In order to be eligible (among other things):
- Have fewer than 500 employees
- Be a 501(c)(3)
According to Forbes:
“Loans are forgiven when the proceeds are used for any of these costs:
- Payroll costs, excluding prorated amounts for individuals with compensation greater than $100,000
- Rent pursuant to a lease in force before February 15, 2020
- Electricity, gas, water, transportation, telephone, or internet access expenses for services which began before February 15, 2020
- Group health insurance premiums and other healthcare costs.
…In order for the amounts to be forgiven, you must maintain the same average number of employees for the first eight-week period beginning on the origination date of the loan as you did from February 15, 2019 - June 30, 2019 or from January 1, 2020 until February 15, 2020. If you don’t meet this requirement, the amount forgiven is reduced.”
The way to apply? Through a commercial lender who is already setup to make SBA 7(a) loans. Go to your current bank first. If they don’t do these kinds of loans, Google “SBA lender.” This SBA form also needs to be completed.
There’s lots of information out there for you to digest. Please contact your accountant, treasurer, or finance person to help you. Talk to your bankers, they are your friends through this process. Watch for special information coming from your Annual Conference or other outlets.
Most importantly, do not sit around for too long waiting to take action. This is something to work on now, not later. While $350 billion is an amazing amount of money, there will be fierce competition for these funds. Don’t dawdle.
Hero of the week: In the midst of all this bad/sad news, there are heroes. Thanks to all the first responders, grocery store clerks, to-go restaurant people, postal workers, and any and all hospital personnel. You deserve our gratitude.
In the midst the coronavirus blues, the Rev. Joseph Lowery passed away on Friday, March 27 at the age of 98. Known as the “Dean of the Civil Rights Movement,” Rev. Lowery was a United Methodist minister who was friends with and marched with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a Christian agitator and famously said during his 2009 benediction at President Barack Obama’s inauguration: “We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back; when brown can stick around; when yellow will be mellow; when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right.”
Last week (if church met) we were going to sing this gospel-inspired tune, “Walk in Love.” It is a fitting tribute to Rev. Lowery. RIP.