The Paycheck Protection Program and How it Can Help Your Small Nonprofit Survive the Pandemic

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Minnesota Local History Blog.

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The Minnesota Historical Society’s Local History Services helps Minnesotans preserve and share their history. This blog is a resource of best practices on the wide variety of museum, preservation, conservation, funding, and non-profit management topics. We’re here to help.

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The Paycheck Protection Program and How it Can Help Your Small Nonprofit Survive the Pandemic

By: Todd Mahon | Funding | April 8, 2020

Nonprofits of all sizes and missions are struggling to maintain their financial health as the COVID-19 pandemic is shutting doors across the country. Congress has provided some relief for the small nonprofit community through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, otherwise known as the CARES Act. The PPP is administered by the Small Business Association (SBA). It provides forgivable loans to eligible organizations, including 501c3 nonprofit organizations. 


  • Includes 501(c)(3) nonprofits and 501(c)(19) nonprofits (veterans organizations)
  • Small nonprofits (500 or fewer employees)

What the Funds Can Be Used For

  • Payroll (and benefits), interest on mortgage, rent, utilities, and prior debt
  • Expenses incurred between February 15 and June 30, 2020

How Much Can Be Applied For

  • The average monthly payroll for the previous 12 months, multiplied by 2.5 -OR- $10 million---whichever is smaller.

What “Forgivable” Means

  • Forgiveness is available for the portion of the loan used for the following expenses during the covered period (8 weeks from origination)
    • Payroll costs (as defined above)
    • Interest on mortgage incurred before February 15, 2020
    • Rent obligation incurred before February 15, 2020 and
    • Utilities (electric, gas, water, transportation, phone, internet) for service that began before February 15, 2020

How to Apply

Resources and Links

The MInnesota Historical Soceity’s Local History Services office is interested in learning about the experiences of organizations that apply for these funds. We’d love to hear from you. E-mail us at