‘This gives us a little breathing room,’ says A Corp President Kathy Lueckert
by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE — Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation President Kathy Lueckert announced Monday that the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Small Business Administration had approved an $8.8 million application for a forgivable loan that will cover the A Corp payroll for 2.5 months.
So long as the A Corp maintains its current level of employment, the loan, part of the $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program, does not require repayment.
“God is good all the time,” Lueckert said Monday. “We are very grateful. This gives us a little breathing room while we sort all this out.”
Churches and small businesses have been hit hard by reductions in their revenue — giving, in the case of churches — since the coronavirus became a pandemic last month, shuttering businesses nationwide and forcing congregations into online worship, which has reduced giving levels for many churches.
A Corp has not laid off any employees since the pandemic was declared, and none are planned at this time, Lueckert said.
Lueckert said she’s not sure when the money will arrive. It’s part of the $2.2 trillion stimulus package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act passed last month by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Trump. “We are in the funding queue,” Lueckert said, “but there’s no timeframe attached.
The forgivable loan covers the payroll of A Corp employees who work in the Administrative Services Group, Presbyterian Mission Agency and the Office of the General Assembly. It also includes paychecks for employees of Stony Point Center and The Hubbard Press. Separate forgivable PPP loans were approved for the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation and the Presbyterian Investment & Loan Program, Lueckert said. The one entity still awaiting approval is Presbyterian Women, which must wait until a second round of funding is approved for the PPP.
“We will turn our prayer warriors in the direction of Presbyterian Women so they can get in the process of getting in the queue,” Lueckert said, adding that Congress and the White House “are close” to approving an additional allocation to the PPP. The program proved so popular that its funds were exhausted just two weeks after small businesses, faith-based organizations and others began applying.
“We worked really hard to get our application in two weeks ago today,” Lueckert said on Monday. “We weren’t the first in the door, but we were early on in the process. We are grateful to all the folks throughout all of A Corp who dropped everything two weeks ago and made this loan application happen. It wasn’t particularly straightforward,” she said of the online application process. “You never really knew what documents would be required” as staff worked their way through the many screens of the online application.
“It kept the application process suspenseful. Then we started hearing the money was more and more at risk, that the funds were running out,” she said. “It certainly is a great relief” to have received the approval.
The $8.8 million stimulus won’t affect the progress of having to adjust the 2020 budget as well as proposed budgets for 2021 and 2022, Lueckert said. Those upcoming budgets, unified for the first time, have received approval by their respective boards with the understanding that the budget proposals will be revisited before they’re approved by the 224th General Assembly. Those shaping and approving the budgets are given the difficult task of forecasting the long-lasting effects of the pandemic more than 2 ½ years out.
“This does not change the budgeting process,” Lueckert said. Instead, she said, it gives budget-making bodies 10 weeks of breathing room “while the implications of COVID-19 are better understood.”
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Categories: Communication, Office of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Tags: a corp, coronavirus, covid-19, kathy lueckert, paycheck protection program, presbyterian church (u.s.a.) a corporation, small business administration
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