Local Jewish nonprofits receive millions in federal coronavirus salary loans – J.
After the statewide coronavirus lockdown went into effect in March, the Oshman family’s JCC shut down. No fitness center. No kindergarten. No concerts or live lectures. Nothing.
This meant that the Palo Alto institution and its 200 employees were facing economic upheaval. Holidays were inevitable. Then the federal government came to the rescue. The JCC quickly applied for and received a $ 2.5 million Payroll Protection Program (P3) loan to cover salaries, benefits, utilities and other expenses, at least for a while. .
“We feel very lucky,” said Nathaniel Bergson-Michelson, chief marketing officer. “It’s about a month of operations for us. We are following federal, state and county government guidelines, and we anticipate it will be some time before large gatherings are possible again. “
The P3 loans are part of Congress’ multibillion-dollar effort to prop up the economy as the virus destroys it. Along with nonprofits eligible for the loans, dozens of Jewish institutions have benefited. According to the Jewish Federations of North America, more than 500 Jewish nonprofits nationwide have collectively received $ 315 million in P3 loans administered by the Small Business Administration. 445 others submitted requests and were waiting to be heard.
A number of Jewish Bay Area institutions were among the loan recipients, but their names have not been made public. (This post also received a PPP loan, which will allow it to pay staff during the crisis.)
The San Francisco JCC received a $ 3.6 million PPP loan, which CEO Marci Glazer said “would support our workforce for two months during this period with no earned income.” Our goal is to continue to develop creative programming to engage with our attendees, develop digital content, and plan a return to activity in person in the safest and most convenient way.
The Sherith Israel congregation in San Francisco received $ 187,500, which will cover the payroll of its 12 full-time employees. The funding is expected to help the synagogue survive until June. “This allows us not to fire anyone,” said Sherith Israel executive director Gordon Gladstone. “Once approved, [the funds were] to our bank account within 48 hours.
Unlike many synagogues and JCC, Sherith Israel does not run her own kindergarten (although she does rent space from an independent school), so her income was not as affected by the closure as some. But, as Gladstone noted, he has “no idea what [the virus crisis] means long term in terms of charitable giving. There is no recession that does not affect charitable giving.
One of the advantages of a PPP loan is that it can be canceled under certain circumstances. Gladstone is happy with Sherith Israel’s chances. “It starts with a loan and then it is canceled if, at the end of the loan period, you demonstrate that the number of your employees has not changed,” he said. “This is the central pillar of the program: keeping people employed. “
Karen Wisialowski, executive director of Peninsula Temple Sholom in Burlingame, said it had become her “full-time job” to study all the legislation emanating from Washington, DC intended to help institutions like its synagogue.
“We ended up asking for $ 490,000,” she said, a figure that was granted. “Our motivation from the start was clear: we didn’t want to go down the road of leave, because we thought it would impact mostly kindergarten teachers, and we wanted them to know that they are important to we. It was high level value.
Unlike Sherith Israel, Peninsula Temple Sholom has its own preschool, and its closure hit the bottom line hard. Wisialowski said school fees had been suspended, but many parents rallied and donated to the synagogue. The PPP loan helped even more.
“The loan took us out of the discomfort,” she said. “It gives us leeway between now and June 30 so that we don’t have to make some dramatically horrific decisions.”
At the OFJCC, the team leaders know that the PPP loan only provides temporary assistance. Bergson-Michelson said they are meeting daily to determine next steps. “We are planning a reopening, which we are very anxious to do,” he noted, “but it will certainly be done in phases. “
Meanwhile, the JCC donated $ 15,000 worth of food and unused goods to a homeless shelter and food bank based in East Palo Alto, Project WeHOPE.
At Peninsula Temple Sholom, Wisialowski is confident that her synagogue will bounce back and is grateful that the government is helping make it happen,
“It’s actually kind of a miracle,” she says of the PPP loan. “Not only did they come to an agreement very quickly, but when you talk about a potential economic disaster, everyone is on the same side, making sure that the money keeps flowing into the economy.”