Scochran4 / CC BY 3.0 US

July 11, 2020; Winston-Salem Journal

One of the little-discussed realities of the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program is that if your goal was only to stabilize and return to a long-gone normal past, the period where that was applicable, you were very likely barking up the wrong tree. This was no short interlude in an otherwise stable environment. Many of the organizations that received one of these loans have spent the interim time reorganizing their business models. This could take any number of forms, but it was certainly not a simple plug-and-hope situation. Nonprofits and business owners alike were forced to reconsider how they’d do their work.

The Budd Group of Winston-Salem, a maintenance, janitorial, and landscaping company that employs nearly 500 people, received a PPP loan of between $5 and 10 million. The company’s president, Joe Budd, calls it “critical,” as it let the company upgrade its equipment to include four hospital and pivot its business, making disinfection services a key part of its daily work.

“You really have to reimagine what you do and how you serve your clients, almost on a daily basis,” Budd says. “Most manufacturing facilities we service have restarted, while health clubs and fitness centers are trying to restart, but slowly. Education is trying to restart, but each school has a different plan, and we know the fall will bring us new challenges.”

After getting a PPP loan worth $1.9 million, Greensboro Day School used some of the flexible money they retained in their budget to better serve the needs of local families and even expand their market a bit.

“GDS is making significant infrastructure investments, such as Swivl Technology, to support all families who choose to stay home or who need to self-quarantine,” says Tracie Catlett, GDS’s head of school.

Swivl allows students to join classes at a distance.

“The school will leverage this technology beyond the GDS student body and has opened up enrollment to students in the United States and internationally,” Catlett offers, adding that they have also invested in technology to improve air quality in their facility.

We know our readers are working very differently than they were six months ago, and we are interested to hear what our readers have done with their PPP loans or other funds given without restrictions over this period, especially if you believe your work and reach has been amplified by changed practices or new capacities. Your experience can help guide others.—Ruth McCambridge

Disclosure: NPQ received a PPP loan in the amount of $202,432.56.