NSC Alliance Endorses Call for Clarity on COVID-19 Business Loan Program

The NSC Alliance has joined with other organizations representing museums, zoos, and aquaria to endorse comments from the National Council of Nonprofits to the Small Business Administration. The comments were in response to the SBA’s Interim Final Rules on Business Loan Program Temporary Changes; Paycheck Protection Program.

The museum groups wrote:

As you implement the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Health Care Enhancement Act (the “interim” COVID-19 act), which expands and replenishes the small business programs enacted in the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES)” Act, we are writing to request additional guidance about PPP loan qualification and forgiveness. Further guidance is needed to ensure the non-profit museums that are recipients of federal funds can make payroll for their employees and remain in business.

Collectively, the nation’s aquariums, zoos, and museums are losing millions of dollars a day due to closures. Our members’ economic stability depends on revenue generated from our visitors. Our member institutions are important to every community, connecting residents to creativity and education and enhancing their quality of life. We serve as community anchors, addressing challenges in times of crisis. Unfortunately, we expect increased hardships to be faced by our member organizations in communities across the country in the days and months ahead.

We join the National Council of Nonprofits’ comments and recommendations to improve the PPP. Specifically, the terms for forgiveness were and continue to be ambiguous. Our members have been given no contractual guarantee of loan forgiveness or guidance about how to comply with the rules. Additionally, insufficient guidance has been given to lenders and non-profit leaders about how they should go about getting their loans forgiven. Conflicting information at a time of uncertainty can be harmful to the significant goal of the PPP and its overall success. Because borrowers like our members are responsible under the CARES Act for determining whether PPP proceeds were used as Congress intended, it is imperative that these regulations are clear and explicit so public serving non-profits can make the right decisions about how to spend the funding and how to be assured in their original certification. Finally, the program currently is leaving out larger nonprofits that are facing serious economic hardships because of the pandemic.