Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves The Aspen Institute and a stimulus payout.
The Aspen Institute think tank announced it would return $8 million in federal small-business funds after a Thursday meeting of its board of trustees. According to The Washington Post;
The decision marked for the nonprofit organization, which had argued Wednesday that the funds were necessary to keep its 430 person staff on payroll despite a $115 million endowment and several billionaires among its trustees.
The decision comes one day after The Washington Post revealed the institute had received the loan. The D.C. based group joins a series of public companies, the Los Angeles Lakers and other larger employers that applied and received money from the Small Business Administration fund, only to later give it back.
The fund, called the Paycheck Protection Program, offers forgivable loans to small businesses but changing guidance from the government has made it difficult for some larger borrowers with other access to capital to determine whether they should keep the money or not. Applicants must meet the SBA’s definition of a small business, which includes having fewer than 500 employees or meeting alternate requirements.
The group’s many conferences and forums, the bread and butter of its operations, have been canceled. A 98 room conference center it owns in Aspen is closed and forecasting substantial losses. Overall, the D.C. based nonprofit organization is projecting a loss of between $14 million and $17 million for 2020.
In defending the initial decision to keep the loan Wednesday, Aspen said it had already received board approval to tap into its endowment for $7.5 million but that about 80 percent of its endowment funds were restricted and could not be used for operating purposes.
Decisions about who should receive and accept the funds have been complicated by evolving and sometimes contradictory guidance from the Treasury Department and SBA. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza have heralded the program as a success. More than 4.2 million businesses and nonprofit organizations have received a total of more than $531 billion in funding for the program through May, according to recent data.