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Michigan churches, synagogues, mosques get millions in federal PPP loans

Detroit Free Press logo Detroit Free Press 7/11/2020 Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press

Churches and other religious institutions across metro Detroit have received tens of millions of dollars in federal government loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), according to U.S. government data released this week.

The federal money has gone to organizations with a wide range of faiths — Jewish, Christian, and Muslim —  across the tri-county area, from the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit to Jewish synagogues in Oakland County to evangelical megachurches in Detroit suburbs such as Kensington, according to a Free Press review of data released by the U.S. Treasury Department and Small Business Administration.

The loans — which do not have to be paid back if certain rules are followed — are being given to businesses, nonprofits, and churches across the U.S. as part of an effort to help employers hurt economically by the coronavirus. The money is intended to pay for the salaries of employees, and other costs; at least 75% of the loans must go toward payroll costs for the loans to be forgiven.

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The data released this week only shows those employers and churches that received more than $150,000 in loans. A majority of the PPP loans were under $150,000 and so the list is not a complete look at who received the funds, but it offers a glimpse into who received PPP money.

The data does not specify the exact amount the groups received, but gives a general range: $2 to 5 million; $1 to $2 million; $350,000 to $1 million; and $150,000 to $300,000.

Three Catholic groups, two Jewish organizations, and a Presbyterian nonprofit in metro Detroit received the highest amount of loans.

Three Catholic groups in southeastern Michigan — the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit, Adrian Dominican Sisters in Adrian, and Vista Maria, a social services group in Dearborn Heights — are listed as receiving between $2 to $5 million in PPP funds.

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a view of a building: Three Catholic groups in southeastern Michigan — the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit, Adrian Dominican Sisters in Adrian, and Vista Maria, a social services group in Dearborn Heights — each got a $2 to 5 million Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. Several other Catholic groups, churches, and schools in metro Detroit also got PPP loans. Pictured is the Chancery offices of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit, 12 State St., Detroit. © Google Maps Three Catholic groups in southeastern Michigan — the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit, Adrian Dominican Sisters in Adrian, and Vista Maria, a social services group in Dearborn Heights — each got a $2 to 5 million Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. Several other Catholic groups, churches, and schools in metro Detroit also got PPP loans. Pictured is the Chancery offices of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit, 12 State St., Detroit.

The Archdiocese has 206 employees, Adrian Dominican Sisters has 335 employees, and Vista Maria has 324 employees, according to the PPP data released. Several other Catholic congregations, schools, or institutions in Michigan got more than $1 million.

Two Jewish groups in Oakland County also each received $2 to $5 million in PPP loans, according to the data: Yeshiva Beth Yehudah, a Jewish day school in Oak Park and Southfield, and Jewish Vocational Service and Community Workshop in Southfield.

Presbyterian Villages of Michigan, a faith-based nonprofit with 500 employees that has 30 locations and operates senior citizen homes, also got a $2 to $5 million loan, according to the PPP loan data.  

Faith leaders in metro Detroit contacted by the Free Press didn't specify exactly how much exactly their institutions received. 

Jeff Wagoner, chief financial officer for the Archdiocese of Detroit, told Detroit Catholic: “We are so grateful that these loans made it possible for the archdiocese and many of our parishes to support employment for hundreds of employees, including office managers who maintained the essential day-to-day operation of our parishes, program managers who kept food pantries open, and teachers who developed and implemented distance learning for thousands of students."

Rabbi Asher Lopatin, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee, told the Free Press: "My fellow Jewish agencies used the PPP loans to not only provide services to the elderly, needy and homeless, as well as their respective constituencies, but to also acquire the PPE protection in order to safely serve meals and care for their senior or disabled residents."

Jewish groups in metro Detroit who received PPP loans of $1 to $2 million each are: the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit, Jewish Family Service in West Bloomfield, and Temple Israel, a Jewish center in West Bloomfield that's one of the largest Reform congregations in the U.S.

Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfiled, the largest Conservative synagogue in Michigan, got a $350,000 to $1 million loan. Congregation Beth El Bloomfield Hills also got $350,000 to $1 million. 

a group of people in a room: Temple Israel in West Bloomfield received $1 to $2 million this year in PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans. The Jewish center is one of the largest Reform congregations in the U.S. Photo taken Oct. 2018. © Niraj Warikoo Temple Israel in West Bloomfield received $1 to $2 million this year in PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans. The Jewish center is one of the largest Reform congregations in the U.S. Photo taken Oct. 2018.

"As a rabbi, I saw how synagogues used the funds to keep their clergy and clerical staff employed so they could continue to reach out to their congregants by calling every member, making sure each one had food and access to health care, and continuing, unabated, religious services and classes through streaming services," Lopatin said.

In the city of Detroit, some of the prominent churches in the African American community that got PPP loans between $150,000 to $300,000 each are: Greater Grace Temple on 7 Mile Road, Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, Second Ebenezer Baptist Church, and Third New Hope Baptist Church.

Triumph Church in Detroit got $350,000 to $1 million. 

In the Muslim community, some of the Islamic centers in southeastern Michigan that got loans of more than $150,000 are: the Islamic Center of America, a prominent mosque on Ford Road in Dearborn, which got a $350,000 to $1 million PPP loan; the Muslim Community Association of Ann Arbor, which also got a $350,000 to $1 million loan; the Islamic Center of Detroit on Tireman Street, which got $150,000 to $350,000, and Islamic Center of Flint-Genesee Academy in Flint, which also got $150,000 to $300,000.

a castle on the side of a building: The Islamic Center of America, a prominent mosque on Ford Road in Dearborn, got a $350,000 to $1 million PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loan this year. They're one of many religious groups in southeastern Michigan who got PPP loans. © Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press The Islamic Center of America, a prominent mosque on Ford Road in Dearborn, got a $350,000 to $1 million PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loan this year. They're one of many religious groups in southeastern Michigan who got PPP loans.

Several evangelical churches in southeastern Michigan got PPP loans.

Kensington, the largest Protestant church in Michigan, got a $1 to $2 million PPP loan. Based in Troy, Kensington has 230 employees with a weekly attendance of about 12,000 at six churches in Michigan.

"The PPP was established to give smaller businesses and nonprofits the ability to retain staff, and to cover a few other items such as mortgage interest and utilities," Kensington Church spokesman Justin Warns said in a statement to the Free Press. "We were so grateful to be able to do just that during these difficult and uncertain times. For churches such as ours when we keep staff employed it becomes much more than simply people having a job. It allows us to continue the work of loving and serving our communities, particularly those that have been adversely affected by the pandemic." 

Other suburban Protestant churches that also got $1 to $2 million loans each are Northridge Church in Plymouth, Woodside Bible Church of Troy, and 2/42 Community Church, which is based in Brighton with six additional locations in Michigan.

"The purpose of the PPP loan for churches and nonprofits is to maintain staffing levels in the midst of down giving trends across America, especially since our church staff are unable to collect unemployment," Angela Hardesty-Rudolph, Chief Financial Officer at 242 Community Church, told the Free Press. "At 2|42 Community Church, we’ve been able to retain 124 staff members (81 full-time staff members) at our seven Michigan campuses, located in Ann Arbor, Brighton, Lansing, Livonia, Saginaw, Monroe, and Taylor. The PPP loan has allowed us to keep them employed during this difficult season and was used for payrolls and mortgages." 

Hardesty-Rudolp said that 2/42 Community Church has been active serving communities during the pandemic even though their doors were closed. 

"2|42 staff have been hosting online services, online small groups, online Bible studies, calls with pastors, private baptisms, and online kids and student services," she said. "We launched an app to keep people connected with each other and with their faith in God. We saw our church grow from 9,000 in-person attenders to more than 20,000 people who have regularly joined us online."

  • Other churches, religious groups or faith-based schools in metro Detroit that got PPP loans of $1 to $2 million each are: Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan, Church of Christ Home For the Aged in Clinton Township, Church of the Divine Child in Dearborn, St. Therese Parish (National Shrine of the Little Flower) in Royal Oak, Lutheran High School Association of Greater Detroit in Rochester Hills, St. Vincent Catholic Charities in Lansing, Catholic Central High School in Novi, Brother Rice High School (Christian Brothers Institute of Michigan), Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries.
  • Other churches, religious groups or faith-based schools in metro Detroit that got PPP loans of $350,000 to $1 million each are: Michigan Catholic Conference, Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in St. Clair Shores, Bethesda Church in Sterling Heights, Brightmoor Christian Church in Novi, Calvary Baptist Church in Canton, Church & Church in Auburn Hills, Faith Baptist Church of Waterford in Holly, First United Methodist Church in Birmingham, Holy Name Church in Birmingham, Kirk In The Hills Presbyterian Church in Bloomfield Township, Immanuel Lutheran Church of Waldenburg in Macomb Township, Michigan Lutheran Seminary in Saginaw, Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Saginaw, Our Shepherd Lutheran Church in Birmingham, Lutheran Adoption Service in Detroit, Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church in Lansing, Michigan District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in Ann Arbor, Oak Pointe Church in Novi, Oakland Christian School in Auburn Hills, Southfield Christian School in Southfield, St. John Lutheran Church in Rochester, St. John Vianney Parish in Flint, St. Paul Roman Catholic Church in Grosse Pointe Farms, Our Lady Refuge Parish in Orchard Lake, St. Regis Church in Bloomfield Hills, St. Anne's Mead in Southfield, St. Francis Cabrini in Allen Park, St. Hugo of the Hills Catholic Church and School in Bloomfield Hills, St. Joseph in Lake Orion, St. Matthew Lutheran Church and School in Walled Lake, St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Livonia, St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor, Evangelical Lutheran St. Peters Congregation of the Unaltered Augssberg in Macomb, St. Peter Catholic Church in Mount Clemens, Detroit Baptist Manor, Trinity Lutheran Church and School in Utica, Trinity Lutheran Church of Mount Clemens in Clinton Township, Ward Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Northville. 
  • Other churches, religious groups or faith-based schools in metro Detroit that got PPP loans of $150,000 to $300,000 each are: Cornerstone Baptist Church in Roseville, Faith Baptist Church of Warren in Warren, Faith Lutheran Church of Troy, First Baptist Church of Troy, First Baptist Church of Wixom, Rochester Hills Baptist Church in Rochester, Christ Church Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills, St. James Protestant Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Christ Church in Grosse Pointe Farms, Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Lincoln Park, Christ the King Lutheran Church in Southgate, Christian Leadership Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Christian School Association of Ann Arbor, Church of St. Fabian in Farmington Hills, Church of. St. Pius X in Southgate, Clarkston United Methodist Church in Clarkston, Clarkston Community Church in Sterling Heights, First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham, First United Methodist Church of Ann Arbor, First United Methodist Church of Northville and Gesu Catholic Church in Detroit. 

Contact Niraj Warikoo: nwarikoo@freepress.com or 313-223-4792. Twitter @nwarikoo

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan churches, synagogues, mosques get millions in federal PPP loans

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