Half of Jewish groups that applied got government loans totaling $ 264 million, survey finds

(JTA) – A new investigation has found that Jewish organizations received at least $ 264 million in loans from the U.S. government under the recently passed stimulus bill.

Right now, federal loans collectively represent the largest injection of money into the Jewish organizational world since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. But even by conservative estimates, the money meets less than half of the anticipated needs of Jewish nonprofits.

A document produced last month by the Jewish Federations of North America, an umbrella group of community fundraising organizations, says Jewish organizations will need at least $ 650 million to weather the crisis. Other leaders cited higher numbers.

Jewish Federations CEO Eric Fingerhut said “it wouldn’t surprise me if it was higher.”

Fingerhut, whose group released its survey of American Jewish nonprofits on Wednesday, said the government “will prove to be the biggest contributor to filling the hole” in the near term.

He said the grants are “a huge, huge benefit” – but they will need to be supplemented.

“Private philanthropy will play a very, very important role. But the government will turn out to have been the biggest part, which is appropriate, ”Fingerhut said. “This is a government-wide crisis.”

The survey of Jewish federations gathered more than 1,100 responses from Jewish nonprofit associations that requested loans. About half of the respondents, 579 groups, said their applications were accepted, according to early results.

Loan amounts ranged from $ 5,000 to nearly $ 5 million, with a median of $ 256,000. Jewish federations estimate that in total Jewish groups could receive up to $ 500 million in government loans.

Some donors have pledged funds to help Jewish groups. This week, a coalition of prominent Jewish philanthropic foundations created an $ 80 million fund for groups that focus on “education, engagement and leadership.” Some Jewish federations, which act as communal funding bodies, have also announced COVID-19 relief funds. The New York UJA federation spent $ 44 million on organizations during the crisis.

The survey of Jewish federations indicated that in addition to the accepted applications, 418 others were still awaiting a response.

The government’s initial stimulus package, which began receiving demands earlier this month, provided nearly $ 350 billion in loans to small businesses and nonprofits. This pool, called the Paycheck Protection Program, has since been exhausted.

On Tuesday, the Senate approved a stimulus package that included an additional $ 320 billion in loans for small businesses. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the package this week.

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