on the hill

Fourth stimulus package passes Congress, replenishing SBA loan funds

Jewish groups received more than $260 million from stimulus bill, according to a JFNA survey


Eric Fingerhut

The House of Representatives passed a $484 billion stimulus package Thursday night to address a looming economic crisis as unemployment continues to rise. Some of the funds will go to reboot the drained Small Business Administration loan program. The bill passed with an overwhelming majority, despite a handful of no votes, including from Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Jody Hice (R-GA).

Not without controversy: The disbursement of the SBA funds, meant to help small businesses make payroll, has come under fire following revelations that national chains including Shake Shack and Potbelly, as well as institutions like Harvard University, applied for and received loans as part of the program, which ran out of its $349 billion in funding quickly after applications opened on April 3. Some of those recipients have since said they will return the funds.

Community stats: More than 1,000 Jewish organizations applied for funding, according to a survey released this week by the Jewish Federations of North America, which lobbied lawmakers to include non-profit and faith-based organizations in the stimulus package passed earlier this month. Of the 1,131 organizations that responded to JFNA’s survey, roughly half had their loan applications — ranging from $5,000 to $4.9 million — approved. 

Looking ahead: JFNA CEO Eric Fingerhut is hopeful that the package approved Thursday will provide much-needed assistance to those who haven’t yet received a response from their lenders. More than $280 million has already been dispersed to Jewish groups.

‘Extraordinary’: “This is a very important response by government,” Fingerhut told JI. “Let’s not forget, this is an historic piece of legislation, this paycheck protection program in the CARES Act. Never before when we’ve experienced significant economic downturns or turmoil — not 9/11, not 2008, when there were major trillion dollar federal packages of support for the business community — never before has it included the non-profit community. I think it’s an extraordinary recognition of the importance of the non-profit community and the faith-based community.”

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