Christian ministries among religious organizations receiving $6 billion in pandemic aid for small businesses
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) -Churches and Christian non-profits were among religious organizations that received at least $6 billion in COVID relief loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) run by the Small Business Administration (SBA), Ministry Watch reports. In order to receive PPP funds, applicants must claim: “Current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant.” PPP beneficiaries in the religious organization category also included mosques, synagogues and other houses of worship.
According to Ministry Watch, “religious organizations receiving more than $150,000 received a total of at least $3.5-billion and possibly as much as $7-billion in forgivable loans.
Religious organizations receiving loans of less than $150,000 received a total of at least $2.7 billion, putting the church bailout total at between $6.2 and $9.7 billion at a minimum.”
Using a list released by the SBA this week, Ministry Watch published the names of a number of well-known evangelical ministries that received funding.
Those that received at least $5 million in loans included: Willow Creek Community Church (founded by Bill Hybels), Joyce Meyer Ministries, Oklahoma City-based Life Church, (led by Craig Groeschel). Among those receiving at least $2 million in funds were: Redeemer Presbyterian Church (formerly led by Tim Keller), Potters House (T.D. Jakes), Jews for Jesus, Ligonier Ministries (founded by R.C. Sproul), and Summit Church (led by Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear), Ministry Watch reported.
Megachurches were approved for some of the largest payments, including Robert Jeffress’ First Baptist Church of Dallas, which received between $2 million and $5 million in April, Newsweek reported.
Released as structured loans, PPP loans are 100% forgivable if used for payroll and other essentials, Ministry Watch reported. “That means that these payments are, in effect, grants to the funded businesses and organizations,” Ministry Watch noted. Regarding the fact that non-profits are not normally eligible for SBA-guaranteed small business loans, the US Treasury Department reportedly said the exception was made to enable aid during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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