Paycheck Protection Program funding went to hundreds of thousands of businesses and nonprofits in New York

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More than 300,000 New York businesses received loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which has so far distributed $521 billion to U.S. businesses struggling in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to data released by the federal government this week.

For Ontario County, that meant 129 businesses were eligible for the loans, receiving from around $150,000 to $350,000 all the way up to the $2 million to $5 million range, according to the data.

The bulk of loans made to area businesses were often in the $150,000-$350,000 range, with 72 businesses receiving the funds from area lenders. The next highest bracket were loans made in the $350,000-$1 million range, with 48 businesses qualifying. Only five loans were made to area businesses asking for $1 million to $2 million, and only four businesses received loans between $2 million and $5 million, according to the data.

The employers who applied for loans were part of a wide spectrum, from corporations to nonprofits.

For example, FLACRA and Optimax Systems Inc., while different business entities, applied for and received loans between $2 million and $5 million. Similarly, the Canandaigua Emergency Squad and Nolan's on the Lake both qualified for loans ranging between $350,000 and $1 million. Educational organizations were also recipients of the loans, with the Finger Lakes Community College Association receiving a loan between $150,000 and $300,000.

The bulk of loans were provided by local lenders Canandaigua National Bank and Trust, Lyons National Bank, Key Bank and other area institutions.

The federal CARES Act created the program in April with the intent to provide funding for businesses to retain their workforce and support operations as much of the country’s population stayed inside for nearly three months.

The program hit its original $349 billion limit just weeks after its inception, leaving hundreds of business owners uncertain about their futures. The funds have since been replenished and the program deadline extended to Aug. 8.

Hundreds of publicly traded companies received over $1 billion in first-round PPP funding, which was not against the rules, but left a bad taste in the mouths of lawmakers and business owners who said the program was meant to help small businesses weather the COVID-19 storm.

“When it was first rolled out, it was a big mess,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-NY, said this week, adding that “the big shots got too much of the action.”

Nearly 5 million loans have been distributed nationwide so far, with an average loan size of $106,542, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Here’s what else you should know about how PPP has played out in New York so far.

 

Thousands over $150k

Nearly 47,000 New York businesses got more than $150,000 in PPP loans, including a number of nonprofits. About 450 received between $5 and $10 million.

Over 250,000 businesses received $149,999 or less. The data did not disclose names or addresses of businesses below that threshold.

 

Millions of jobs retained

Over 3 million jobs were retained at New York businesses thanks to the loan funding, the data shows. About 51 million jobs have been saved nationwide, according to the Small Business Administration.

 

Major nonprofits get boost

The arts and entertainment industry suffered a crushing blow in 2020 as social distancing and crowd restrictions took the wind out of museums, theaters, concert venues and festivals.

As a result, major New York arts foundations, such as the Ballet Theatre Foundation, supporting the 81-year-old ballet company American Ballet Theatre, applied for and received millions in PPP loans.

Other notable recipients include the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

 

In small cities, focus on food manufacturing

Dairy manufacturer O-At-Ka Milk Products, in Western New York, natural baby food producer Beech-Nut Nutrition west of Albany, and Perry’s Ice Cream in Akron, east of Buffalo, all received between $5 and $10 million in loans.

Other notable names in upstate New York food were on the list for loans, including Dinosaur Restaurants, which owns Dinosaur Bar-B-Que locations across the state, including the site on Court Street in Rochester.

All three employ hundreds of local residents and distribute their products regionally and/or nationally.

 

Who else got $2 to $10 million?

Management groups that own and operate major malls like Destiny USA in Syracuse, Crossgates in Albany and Eastview Mall near Rochester were on the list.

A large chunk of the top tier loan receipts work in the healthcare, engineering, legal, accounting, architecture and contracting sectors.

 

What’s next?

New York’s Schumer is pushing for the Prioritized Paycheck Protection Program Act, known as “P4,” which would extend the initial PPP until the end of the year, and allow small businesses that already applied, received and exhausted their PPP loans to apply again.

P4 would bar loans for publicly traded companies and limit larger chains’ access to funds, while prioritizing businesses with 10 or fewer employees for at least $25 billion and quicker loan disbursement.

Introduced last month by Democratic U.S. Sens. Chris Coons of Delaware, Ben Cardin of Maryland and New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen, P4 also would provide eligible small businesses with up to 250 percent of monthly payroll costs or up to $2 million. And the bill would allow funding recipients to apply for loan forgiveness, currently part of the PPP program, as soon as after eight weeks.

Includes reporting from Sarah Taddeo, New York State Team, USA TODAY Network and Middletown Times Herald-Record reporter Daniel Axelrod.