Archdiocese joins call to support faith-based nonprofits

March 31, 2020

The White House, Department of Treasury, and the Small Business Administration are moving fast to finalize implementing regulations for the Paycheck Protection Program (forgivable loans) in the recently passed CARES Act. 
We concerned that religious nonprofits will be disqualified and/or severely deterred from applying for forgivable loans under CARES. We ask you to contact your member of Congress and advocate for SBA regulatory and other agency guidance that will ensure the inclusion of faith-based nonprofits in this program. We have created a tool for you to easily contact them via OneClickPolitics, which you can access HERE.
First, Catholic institutions may be disqualified due to the size of our dioceses under affiliation rules in CARES. 
Second, without access to these forgivable loans, we believe many faith-based nonprofits and their employees throughout the country, who perform extraordinary works of ministry for the least of these, will themselves face severe financial hardship during this pandemic.
As a result, it is critical that SBA regulatory and other guidance on loans available to nonprofits under the CARES Act make the following explicit:  
Based on Trinity Lutheran and related case law, no otherwise eligible nonprofit organization will be disqualified from loan eligibility because of the organization’s religious affiliation, its religious speech or activity, or the degree of its religiosity. 
Owing to the marked differences between for-profit and nonprofit operations and the difficulty of applying to nonprofits affiliation and franchise rules designed for and applicable to for-profits, and in accord with Congress's intent to provide broad relief under the CARES Act, the following nonprofit organizations will be regarded as distinct entities, such that the employees of related organizations, even if affiliated, will not be counted in determining whether the entity has 500 or fewer employees: 
-a school, 
-a day care center, 
-a child care provider, 
-a senior center, 
-a provider of food or of nutrition assistance, 
-a provider of clothing, 
-a provider of housing or other shelter 
-a provider of financial assistance for housing or other shelter, 
-a provider of adoption or foster care services, 
-a job training or job placement provider,  
-a place of worship. 
Consistent with existing charitable choice provisions, a religious nonprofit that receives a loan or other funding under the Act shall retain its independence, autonomy, right of expression, religious character, and authority over its governance, and no religious nonprofit shall be excluded from receiving funding under the CARES Act because leadership with, membership in, or employment by that nonprofit is limited to persons who share its religious faith and practice.    
No funds received by a religious organization under the CARES Act shall be deemed to be “federal financial assistance” for purposes of compliance with federal requirements outside the specific program in which the funds are sought or received. 
Please use the OneClickPolitics tool in the email link above to advocate. Thanks for your advocacy to protect faith-based nonprofits!