Dear Colleagues in Christ,
After extensive review of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and in consultation with the Conference of Bishops and churchwide lawyer, I recommend you consider applying for a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program. This government program is specifically aimed at providing payroll support to small businesses (including churches) so that they can retain their employees during this medical and economic crisis. If the program terms are carefully followed, the loan converts to a grant and repayment will be forgiven, with the congregation incurring no continuing debt.
How does this program work? It takes your average monthly payroll cost for the last 12 months (March 2019–March 2020)—and multiplies it by 2.5 to determine the loan amount. Keep in mind, this not only includes full-time and part-time staff, it can also include 1099 employees such as musicians, interns, and other monthly costs related to outsourcing to run the church.
Because the loan amount is based on congregational expenses, particularly the average of your monthly payroll expenses, it is suggested that you gather your 2019 and 2020 financial records in the following areas in preparation for the application process:
- Employee salaries and retirement contributions (including clergy)
- State & Local Payroll Taxes
- Insurance premiums (including Portico)
- Mortgage payments
- Rent payments
- Utility payments
If there are copies of any materials you believe only the synod has that your congregation needs to apply for the PPP, members of the staff will make a one-time trip to the Synod office to look for these materials. All requests must be submitted by Monday, April 6th, 9:00 AM to Katharyn Wheeler at firstname.lastname@example.org. The synod only has copies of materials that were sent by each congregation, so it cannot be guaranteed that copies of constitutions, articles of incorporation, etc. are in the synod files nor that they are the most up-to-date versions. However, the staff also understands the importance of working to help Metro D.C. congregations have the best opportunity at long term financial viability.
It is important to understand the urgency of this application. Enrollment begins tomorrow Friday, April 3. While the program will be offered through June, the monies will be distributed on a first come first served basis. Local banks who offer programs through the Small Business Administration (SBA) will be accepting these applications. It is suggested that you contact your primary bank, where you have your business checking account, to handle your application. It appears that this will be an online process, but please refer to your lender.
Details on the program are available at the US Chamber of Commerce site, where there is also a link to an application form.
You can also find reader friendly summary documents, a Powerpoint, and a video about the CARES Act from various resources on our website at metrodcelca.org/covidresources or in the Financial folder of the shared COVID-19 resources drive.
Rev. Leila M. Ortiz, Bishop