Churches, church groups and religious schools in central Ohio were among those who received thousands, and sometimes millions, of dollars from the federal government’s coronavirus assistance program.
The Small Business Administration on Monday released a list of organizations that have received money from the congressional-approved aid program, and it includes more than $ 71 million for more than 80 church-based organizations in central Ohio, many of whom are Roman Catholics.
Taxpayer funding, called the Paycheque Protection Program, is intended to help businesses and other organizations pay their employees during the pandemic.
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The funding, which does not necessarily have to be repaid, would not be generally be available to religious organizations, but in April, the Small Business Administration clarified that they were eligible. The administration did not release the exact amount each organization received, just a range of the amounts the groups were eligible for.
A Dispatch analysis of SBA loan data found that the faiths, churches, nonprofit groups, and schools in central Ohio that received the money are predominantly Christian. Three Jewish organizations in the region also secured funding. No local Muslim organization has been funded.
No local church or religious school has been approved for more than $ 2 million, although loans have been offered up to $ 5 million, the data shows.
More than 40% of funds allocated to religious organizations in central Ohio have gone to Catholic churches, schools and nonprofits.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus received up to $ 2 million.
All but one of the 11 Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Columbus received funding, with Bishop Watterson High School and St. Francis de Sales High School in Columbus having the highest amount, up to $ 2 million.
More than 22 Catholic churches in the Diocese of Columbus received funding, most of them receiving up to $ 1 million.
Bill Davis, director of finance for the diocese, said all diocese-related organizations that provided loans used them on employee compensation and benefits while churches were closed during stay-at-home orders . Catholic churches closed in mid-March and reopened on May 25 for in-person services.
“Overall, given the significant drop in donations due to the closure of churches during the pandemic, cuts in public funding for schools, the cancellation of major fundraising events… and (paying employees) n ‘would not have been possible, in many places, without the help of PPP loans,’ said Davis.
Local Jewish groups that received the money included the Columbus Jewish Day School in New Albany, with up to $ 350,000; JewishColumbus, with up to $ 1 million; and the Greater Columbus Jewish Community Center, with up to $ 2 million.
Joel Marcovitch, chief executive of JewishColumbus, said the pandemic has led to a surge in demand for funding his organization provides to local Jewish programs.
“In order to meet the needs of our community by ensuring the financial well-being of our partner agencies, we must remain fully staffed and operational,” Marcovitch said.
Among the denominations in the area that received money, in addition to the Catholic Diocese, were the Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church, based in Worthington, with up to $ 2 million, and the Synod of the South Ohio Evangelical Lutheran Church, based downtown, with up to $ 350,000.
The Ohio Methodist Theological School, a Delaware seminary, received up to $ 1 million.