Woman standing next to orange sign
Leslie Bacho, chief operating officer of Second Harvest Food Bank announces Silicon Valley Strong, a new initiative aimed at centralizing resources for the COVID-19 response in the region. Photo by Janice Bitters

    Dozens of nonprofits in Silicon Valley received millions of dollars from the $660 billion federal Paycheck Protection Program, a data analysis by San José Spotlight found.

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, nonprofits leaders said these dollars have been vital for their survival, especially as the demand to maintain – or increase – services continues.

    According to data published by the Small Business Administration this month, 36 nonprofit organizations in San Jose received at least $350,000 in PPP funds, which will help supplement an estimated 4,825 jobs.

    Nonprofits represented 3.7% of all loans awarded by the government across the country, and the money protected 4.1 million nonprofit jobs – almost one in three nationwide – according to an analysis by the Johnson Center at Grand Valley State University.

    A dozen San Jose nonprofit organizations received between $350,000 and $1 million, 13 received up to $2 million, and 9 earned between $2 and $5 million.

    Foothill Health Center, recently renamed as Bay Area Community Health, and Gardner Family Health Network were each listed as receiving between $5 to $10 million dollars – among the highest payouts for South Bay nonprofits.

    These two organizations, which provide entryways into health care in some of the poorest neighborhoods, indicated the money would save 355 and 490 jobs, respectively.

    But Gardner Family Health Network CEO Reymundo Espinoza said his organization returned some of the money, only keeping $1.9 million to maintain just under 500 staff positions over the next six months.

    Unlike other nonprofits that saw a surge in people looking for help with meals or paying rent, health care services dropped by 70 percent in the first weeks of the pandemic. Services are now creeping closer to pre-COVID levels, Espinoza said, but many people are still afraid to return to the doctor. Meanwhile, he said the funds are a “godsend” to employ staff and continue fighting the coronavirus. It took four banks to get approved for the funds, he said.

    “We were ecstatic, we couldn’t believe that we actually got this money,” Espinoza said. “It’s helping us maintain our effort to help with the COVID situation by testing folks, and if they test positive, giving them appropriate assistance to help.”

    FIRST 5 Santa Clara County, which supports the healthy development of children from prenatal through age five, was awarded $1.2 million to supplement 52 jobs.

    CEO Jolene Smith said the PPP loan’s impact was far reaching, especially since FIRST 5 is funded through declining tobacco tax revenues.

    Smith said the money prevented layoffs, cuts to programming and helped maintain contracts with community-based organizations for this year and next, preventing layoffs of those workers.

    To date, she estimates that contractors and staff have provided more than 18,000 diapers, wipes and formula to the community, as well as thermometers and hand sanitizer.

    “Our most vulnerable families were able to become stronger, and do what we all need to do to stand up against this pandemic as a result of the sustainability of FIRST 5 dollars,” Smith said. “I think that’s really important because (if you) take that out of the community, then you can see what a big gap you’d have.”

    Second Harvest of Silicon Valley CEO Leslie Bacho said the $2.5 million the food bank received will pay roughly 200 employees for about two months, which she said is vital to cope with expenses that have doubled in the last five months.

    Since February, Bacho said Second Harvest has provided 80% more food and served twice as many people in June, which is double from this same time last year.

    Food costs have also tripled since February. The nonprofit typically relies on donations to cover these costs, but to meet the need, Second Harvest now covers 40% of food purchases – up from 25%.

    To handle the higher demand, Bacho said the organization faced $400,000 in additional costs for temporary help.

    Bacho said she’s grateful for the PPP, which has been critical to increasing services and helping people weather loss of income as they manage bills like rent, medical bills and utilities during the pandemic.

    “We’re serving so many people right now who have lost their jobs, have had their hours cut or have had a family member who’s now unemployed,” Bacho said, adding that Second Harvest served about 250,000 people monthly before the pandemic and now serves 500,000 people a month. “Often food is where people really have to start making tough choices.”

    The list of San Jose nonprofit organizations that received at least $350,000 in PPP funding includes:

    $5M – $10M

    • Foothill Health Center, Inc. – 355 jobs

    $2M – $5M

    • Across the Bridge Foundation – 166 jobs
    • Asian Americans for Community Involvement of Santa Clara County, Inc. – 140 jobs
    • Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County – 480 jobs
    • Center for Employment Training – 251 jobs
    • Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley, Inc. – 254 jobs
    • Opportunity Fund Community Development – 124 jobs
    • Presentation High School – 119 jobs
    • Second Harvest of Silicon Valley – 203 jobs
    • Voices College-Bound Language Academies – 175 jobs

    $1M – $2M

    • ACE Charter School – 108 jobs
    • Alum Rock Counseling Center, Inc. – 85 jobs
    • CityTeam Ministries – 97 jobs
    • Escuela Popular Del Pueblo – 126 jobs
    • FIRST 5 Santa Clara County – 52 jobs
    • The Foundation for Hispanic Education – 91 jobs
    • Gardner Family Health Network – 490 jobs

    • The Health Trust – NA
    • Law Foundation of Silicon Valley – 109 jobs
    • Notre Dame High School – 161 jobs
    • Palmer College of Chiropractic – West – 77 jobs
    • The Student Union of San Jose State University – 490 jobs
    • The Villages Golf and Country Club – 170 jobs
    • YWCA Silicon Valley – 131 jobs

    $350K – $1M

    • Advent Group Ministries – NA
    • Almaden Country Day School – 63 jobs
    • Californians for Justice Education Fund – 36 jobs
    • Charities Housing Development Corp. – NA
    • Cristo Rey San Jose High School – 81 jobs
    • De Anza Cupertino Aquatics – NA
    • De Anza Force, Soccer Club. Inc. – 41 jobs
    • Dependency Advocacy Center – 33 jobs
    • Echo Church – 80 jobs
    • Escuela Xochitl Tonatiuh, Inc. – 25 jobs
    • Family Community Church – NA
    • First Community Housing – 17 jobs

    Contact Katie Lauer at [email protected] or follow @_katielauer on Twitter.

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