From providing critical community relief to planning out various scenarios for keeping the Olympic Trials going, federal loans helped nonprofit organizations continue key work during the coronavirus pandemic.
Between April 2020 and May 2021, $868.6 million came into Lane County from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which aimed to provide relief to businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The federal government, through private lenders, doled out loans to around 6,500 businesses in Eugene, Springfield and the rest of Lane County, according to a Register-Guard analysis of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s data.
Read more:*For subscribers* Lane County employers got $868.6 million in PPP loans. Where did the money go?
That analysis also found at least 264 of the loans, totaling $58.9 million, went to nonprofit organizations.
People who head two of those organizations say the loans were significant and impactful for keeping things running.
Which organizations got loans?
According to SBA data, around 260 organizations classified as nonprofits got loans.
But some organizations that have 501(c)(3) status were not marked as nonprofits in the federal data. For example, the Cascades Raptor Center is marked as a professional association and Lane Arts Council is listed as a corporation.
Organizations labeled as nonprofits got $55.6 million, according to the SBA.
The top 10 nonprofits got $19.2 million, based on current approval amounts, which sometimes differ from the initial amount an employer was approved to receive:
- Willamette Community Health Solution: $2.54 million
- Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon: $2.13 million
- University of Oregon Bookstore: $2.02 million
- Options Counseling Services of Oregon: $1.99 million
- Looking Glass Community Services: $1.98 million
- Northwest Christian University: $1.92 million
- Oregon Research Institute: $1.88 million
- Alvord-Taylor: $1.82 million
- Addiction Counseling and Education Services: $1.58 million
- Northwest Youth Corps: $1.34 million
Use the dropdown menu below to find organizations and see how much money they received as well as other details
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Other organizations that have nonprofit status but weren’t categorized that way got at least $3.3 million, based on the Register-Guard analysis, but a scan of the records could have missed other similar instances.
What difference did the loans make?
Loans helped TrackTown USA keep staff working to plan out various scenarios for the USA Track and Field trials after they were delayed a year, CEO Michael Reilly said.
When the trials were postponed, he said, TrackTown “took advantage of that extra year to really plan out a variety of different scenarios that we could be facing.”
The impact of the virus was changing constantly, Reilly said, and getting two loans kept the “entire staff intact working rigorously through all the hard planning for those different scenarios.”
TrackTown got around $300,000 between two rounds of loans, according to SBA data.
When state regulations changed in late May, things shifted yet again from anticipating no spectators to being able to have thousands, he said.
“The only way we were able to change was because staff was able to plan for that set of scenarios,” Reilly said.
Without the loan facilitating that planning, he said, TrackTown might have needed to downsize its staff or even downsize the trials and the surrounding events.
Kept employees working to help deliver basic needs
A loan also helped United Way of Lane County keep its staff at full capacity, CEO Noreen Dunnells said.
The organization got just shy of $226,000 in the first round of PPP loans.
That amount was “pretty significant for us,” Dunnells said.
The money, she said, helped United Way keep staff employed, create emergency funds and mobilize volunteers.
United Way established a fund that raised around $1 million and created a process to distribute money to other nonprofit organizations every other week for about 12 weeks, Dunnells said.
In total, the organization distributed 135 grants to organizations all across the Lane County she said, including groups focused on housing support, telehealth, food security and other basic needs.
About a month after United Way finished distributing that money, she said, the organization mobilized again when the wildfires started. United Way then raised $1.7 million to distribute for wildfire relief.
“If not for the PPP, we wouldn’t have been able to do any of that, so it was pretty critical,” Dunnells said.
United Way also helped support other nonprofit organizations through virtual meetings each week. In those meetings, United Way assessed needs and helped connect other nonprofits to various resources, which included providing information about PPP loans.
The loans were probably a topic of discussion for four to six weeks, Dunnells said, to “ensure that they knew about the funds so that they could apply for their own organizations.”
Nonprofits did need the help, she said, because many rely on annual fundraising events that they couldn’t host during the pandemic.
A lot started doing virtual events in the fall and spring, she added, but many struggled during the first six months because of canceled events.
Federal PPP loans “plugged the hole to some degree,” Dunnells said, and helped nonprofits be “a little more operationally sound.”
United Way also teamed with other organizations to form the Lane Emergency Response Network, adopting 15th Night’s text program to centralize communication between groups in need and those who can help.
Read more:Help is a text away: Nonprofits connect advocates to supplies, volunteers
The pandemic isn’t over, Dunnells added, and organizations can still use help.
People always can give to United Way, she said, since the organization funds others in the community. They also can donate directly to organizations that center around their interests, she said.
Now that restrictions are lifting, she said, there also are “lots of opportunities to volunteer.”
Contact city government watchdog Megan Banta at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @MeganBanta_1.