More than two months since Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency and ordered the statewide shutdown of most businesses, schools, and child care centers because of the coronavirus pandemic, dozens of Jewish charities, synagogues, and cultural organizations have received loans under the federal Payroll Protection Program.
Throughout the Greater Boston area, more than 40 Jewish nonprofits have received PPP loans, according to Combined Jewish Philanthropies, which got $2.8 million. Those funds will be used to support payroll, utilities, and other authorized expenses, under the terms of the program.
In total, area Jewish nonprofits have received in excess of $20 million through the program, according to Karen Kuwayti, a CJP spokeswoman.
“These resources will assist each agency in maintaining their payroll to ensure that their staff can continue to fulfill their most mission-critical work at a time when there are urgent and significant needs within the Greater Boston Jewish community,” Kuwayti said in an email.
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston received a loan of $312,000 and has made no changes to its full-time equivalent staffing, according to JCRC executive director Jeremy Burton.
With some of the group’s planned activities and programs set aside, staff has been redeployed to meet more urgent needs that have arisen as a result of the pandemic, Burton said in an email.
In ways that were unimaginable just a few months ago, COVID-19 has threatened the financial security and well-being of Jews across Greater Boston, including North Shore residents, said Nancy Kriegel, executive director of Yad Chessed Fund, one of CJP’s partnering charities that helps people in need pay their bills.
Yad Chessed received enough to cover payroll for its six full-time and part-time staff for two months, according to Kriegel. The number of new requests for help doubled in March and April, and in response the agency has sent out more than 1,300 grocery cards and distributed more than $40,000 for essentials like eyeglasses, heating oil, and medicine, she said.
The Anti-Defamation League received a PPP loan that is allowing it to continue fully employing its more than 350 staff across the country, including at its New England regional office, without furloughs or layoffs, according to a statement.
Locally, the Jewish Journal received a PPP loan in the program’s second round of funding. The $68,500 loan will be used to pay salaries, according to the Journal’s publisher and editor, Steven Rosenberg. There have been no layoffs or furloughs.
The Jewish Community Center of the North Shore in Marblehead also received a PPP loan, according to Marty Schneer, its executive director. He said the JCC will use the money primarily to help pay salaries.
To date, only a few staff have been brought back since the building is still closed, Schneer said. Many programs have shifted online, even its popular Jewish film festival, which attracted a large number of viewers this month.
In addition, Swampscott’s Temple Shirat Hayam and Marblehead’s Epstein Hillel School also received PPP loans. And in Peabody, the North Suburban Jewish Community Center in Peabody received a PPP loan for just under $100,000, according to Executive Director Susan Toltz Callum. All of its 24 staff members were hired back beginning April 27.
They are now waiting to hear when they will be able to reopen, Callum said.
While they are located on the campus of Chelsea Jewish Lifecare, the NSJCC has its own entrance and the playground is also separate.
Amid the isolation and the devastation of illness and loss that many are experiencing, the arts have offered a welcome refuge, according to Laura Mandel, executive director of the Newton-based Jewish Arts Collaborative. The organization’s $80,000 PPP application was approved, according to Mandel.
The nimble organization has adapted its offerings to online audiences, including concerts, tours of prominent local artists’ studios, and a May 28 program in partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts Boston that will feature Simona Di Nepi, the MFA’s Judaica curator.
“Ultimately, our mission is to bring people together to celebrate everything Jewish,” Mandel said. “We are still bringing people together. People are really turning to the arts.”