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Federal government forgives the PC(USA)’s Paycheck Protection Program loan

Awarded in April 2020, the $8.85 million loan covered some payroll expenses during the pandemic

by Mark Koenig, PC(USA), A Corporation | Special to Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — On June 24, word arrived that the Small Business Administration had fully forgiven the $8.85 million Paycheck Protection Program loan received by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation in April 2020.

“We give thanks to God for this day and for the breathing room the loan gave us,” A Corporation President Kathy Lueckert said announcing the news. “While we expected forgiveness, we did not count on it. The uncertainty has been a burden.”

The Paycheck Protection Program was established by the CARES Act to provide loans to businesses to keep their workforces employed during the COVID-19 crisis. The Small Business Administration, with support from the Department of the Treasury, implemented the program. Loans carried the possibility of forgiveness, assuming certain conditions were met.

The loan covered the payroll of A Corp employees who work in the Administrative Services Group, the Presbyterian Mission Agency and the Office of the General Assembly. It also included employees of Stony Point Center and The Hubbard Press.

Conditions of loan forgiveness included that the loan proceeds be spent on payroll costs and other eligible expenses and that employee and compensation levels would be maintained. These, and all the conditions, were met.

Denise Hampton

Denise Hampton, Administrative Services Group controller, managed the team that monitored the forgiveness process and gathered the needed information for the forgiveness application. Hampton notes that this took longer than expected because the creation of a second round of loans “delayed the timing on the forgiveness process for the first round of loans.”

When the time came to apply for forgiveness, Hampton’s team went to work. Lueckert states, “The documentation required for the application was formidable, to say the least.”

Hampton agrees. “A great deal of work was required to complete the application. It proved a complex process that needed detailed information from a variety of sources. It was a team effort.”

Those working on the project included members of the Finance and Accounting team and the Human Resources/Payroll team. The Board of Pensions provided information. Consultations took place with the outside auditor and with the representative of PNC Bank who had handled the loan.

Hampton is quick to acknowledge the team that worked on this project. “I express my sincere thanks and deep gratitude to the people who put the time and effort into this work. Each person contributed. Together we made this happen.”

The loan fulfilled its intended purpose. “It helped us get through a difficult 2020,” Lueckert said.

“The agencies of A Corp were fortunate to receive the PPP loan and have it forgiven in full,” Lueckert said. “Not every congregation or small business was able to take advantage of the program. Many congregations have struggled financially, and in other ways, during the pandemic. Many congregations continue to face financial and other challenges.”

Recognizing these challenges, PC(USA) agencies and programs have created resources related to COVID-19 for congregations and mid councils. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance offers Emotional and Spiritual Care programs, including Compassion Fatigue and Resiliency workshops, for teaching elders, ruling elders, deacons and other congregational members. Contact Kathy Riley for more information or to schedule a program. The PC(USA) Mental Health Ministry has curated a list of resources to help individuals and communities cope with the emotional impact of the pandemic and to support resilience.

Receiving the loan forgiveness has future implications. “There is no longer a request to the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board to assist in funding the Conference Center Renovation Project” at the Presbyterian Center, according to Lueckert.

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