April 23, 2020

Dear friends,
At CFNE, we know that co-ops around the region are working hard to secure their futures through whatever federal, state, local and community support they can access. This week we want to share with you some fundamental, yet often overlooked steps that all co-ops can be taking today to stay afloat financially. We’ve created an illustrated Resilience Planning for Co-ops guide with links to several tools to help co-ops get a handle on where they are and explore their options.  
Funding & Relief Update

On the federal support front, the Senate approved a new round of coronavirus relief earlier this week, and the House is expected to pass it today. The new bill would replenish funds in the Paycheck Protection Program and set aside funds to be disbursed through “smaller” lenders (though what that means hasn’t yet been defined). This change is intended to get more money into the hands of small, diverse, and locally-owned Main Street businesses. 

CFNE is working with our lending partners to determine how we can best get resources to our region’s co-ops, and we would appreciate your help. If your co-op has employees, please fill out this quick survey about your plans to apply for PPP or your experience if you have already tried to apply. Please take 5 minutes to help us help you even better, if we can. 

While there has been a lot of urgency around applying for federal loans, we know that not all co-ops are eligible for all programs. (For instance, housing co-ops may apply for an EIDL loan, but if they have no employees, they cannot take advantage of PPP). So far, we’ve heard from a handful of co-ops who have submitted PPP applications and have already received funds. Others have hit snags, or decided to pursue other options, like the EIDL which can be paired with PPP, or the Employee Retention Tax Credit which cannot. In addition to local grant programs which may be specific to a particular city or industry, CFNE is continuing to offer an emergency loan which may be paired with any of the federal and state programs. (See our Resource Page for a run-down of these programs.)

Scam Alert

Finally, we wanted to alert you to a rise in scams and phishing related to SBA loan programs and federal stimulus checks. Make sure you have good communication with others in your co-op and your bank. If someone sends you an urgent request for funds or sensitive information, check in by phone with the supposed sender. This alert gives examples of common scams. 

We know that this is a difficult time for many, both personally and organizationally. Please continue to be in touch about how things are going so that we can continue to provide relevant and well-timed support.

In cooperation ,
Micha Josephy
Executive Director
Cooperative Fund of New England www.coopfund.coop