Independent Sector Calls on Financial Organizations to Prioritize Nonprofits as Loan Recipients Under CARES Act

Small nonprofits and organizations serving communities of color are particularly at-risk of being overlooked in the SBA 7(a) loan provisions of the CARES Act

Washington, April 06, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Independent Sector, a national nonpartisan membership organization representing nonprofits, foundations, and corporate giving programs, called on financial organizations that administer and directly impact the recipients of 7(a) loans to prioritize nonprofits as loan recipients, recognizing them as essential to our nation’s safety net. Nonprofits account for a third of the country’s workforce and are the backbone of our recovery effort.

The impact of COVID-19 has been staggering across sectors, especially for those who are working on the front lines in this crisis. The nonprofit industry has been hit hard and need help now more than ever to keep doors open and services running for the public. Nonprofits at-large represent more than five percent of the national GDP and continue to operate during this time of need to meet the critical needs of our communities, when many businesses have been forced to close. Further, small, community-based nonprofits are extraordinarily dependent upon equitable access to the financial assistance provisions of the CARES Act, especially the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and the Coronavirus Economic Stabilization Act Program. As such, nonprofits should be prioritized in the loan approval process to ensure we can continue to provide services.

We stand ready with our nonprofit and philanthropic partners to work with government and private financial institutions to devise and deploy strategies that ensure there is equitable access to SBA 7(a) loans for all nonprofits that qualify for them.

“Nonprofits are vital to the health of civil society and the future of our nation’s recovery from this pandemic,” said Dan Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector. “The loan application process is new for many, so it is imperative that financial organizations prioritize these community-based organizations. Without this critical financial support, their ability to operate and provide necessary services to our communities during a time of need will be greatly hindered.”

Small nonprofits, especially those operating in underserved areas, may have limited existing relationships with major banks, which may make it difficult for them to successfully navigate the loan process. There is real concern across the nonprofit sector that charities, particularly those that are led by people of color or serving communities of color or tribal communities, may find themselves shut off from access to the financial resources critical to their survival.

It is imperative that financial organizations step up in this unprecedented time to prioritize nonprofits as they administer SBA 7(a) loans and help make a difference in our communities.

Read the letter to financial institutions here.


Independent Sector is the only national membership organization that brings together a diverse community of changemakers, nonprofits, foundations, and corporations working to ensure all people in the United States thrive. Learn more at


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