Celebrating 30 years of helping you give wisely
America's most independent,
assertive charity watchdog

Taxpayer Subsidized PPP Funds Went to Charities with High Assets

   May 25, 2022

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was a lifeline for so many charities that otherwise may not have had the ability to sustain themselves through the financial hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some charities with plenty of net assets in reserve received funding through the PPP. In the chart below, a charity's Years of Available Assets reflects how many years it could continue to operate at current spending levels without raising another penny of contributions or other revenue.

CharityWatch questions if granting PPP funds to charities that could have relied on their own reserves to weather the economic fallout resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic was the best use of these resources. PPP funding was limited, and many struggling nonprofits and small businesses arguably could have put these resources to better use by spending these PPP funds quickly to address more urgent needs. 

PPP funding was distributed in two, separate rounds, each with their own eligibility requirements. To qualify for first round funding, a charity had to meet basic criteria such as being in operation since at least February 15, 2020, having 500 or fewer employees, and attesting that it would incur qualified expenses for payroll, rent or mortgage, utilities, and other expenses eligible under the PPP. Qualifying for second round funding was more difficult, namely because charities were required to meet additional criteria such as demonstrating financial need by providing evidence of revenue declines in the current accounting period relative to the same accounting period the prior year.

The amounts of first and second round funding each charity received were largely based on the amount of qualified expenses it substantiated in its PPP application(s); i.e., a charity that could substantiate a higher amount of qualified expenses would be eligible to receive more PPP funding than a charity that could substantiate a lower amount.

Charities with Asset Reserves Over 5 that Received PPP Funding*
Years of Available 

1st Round2nd RoundTotal PPPRating Based onAssets at
Charity FundingFundingFundingFiscal Year Ended Fiscal Year End
Hole in the Wall Gang Fund $       1,612,500--- $            1,612,50011/30/20196.7
Omaha Home for Boys $           718,500 $          718,538 $            1,437,038 12/31/20206.6
Special Operations Warrior Foundation $           312,200--- $                312,200 12/31/20199.8
Miracle Flights $           261,782--- $                261,782 4/30/202116.1
Catholic League for Religious & Civil Rights $           203,100--- $                203,100 12/31/201915.0
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice $             95,885 $             77,537 $                 173,422 12/31/20207.3

*NOTE: This chart represents a sampling of nonprofits that meet the following criteria: (1) received PPP funding and (2) are currently assigned an "F" rating by CharityWatch due to maintaining net assets in reserve equivalent to 5 years or more of their annual cash budget. Data was compiled using each nonprofit's audited financial statements and/or ProPublica's "Tracking PPP" database. "F" ratings are based on CharityWatch's analysis as of May 16, 2022. Due to the timing of when updated financial data becomes available and the time-intensive nature of CharityWatch's in-depth analyses, this chart is not a comprehensive accounting of all such nonprofits that received PPP funding. More comprehensive data can be found on the ProPublica website and in the Analysts' Notes section of the charity rating profile pages of each charity on charitywatch.org.

Giving is a fixed pie, remaining steady at about 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) since the mid-twentieth century. Because charitable dollars are limited and society's needs are not, it is vital that charities do not hoard the funds that they raise. 

CharityWatch believes it is reasonable for a charity to set aside less than three years' worth its annual budget for financial stability and possible future needs. When a charity's available assets in reserve exceeds three years' worth its annual budget, CharityWatch downgrades its final letter grade rating. Charities with five years or more of available assets in reserve are automatically downgraded to an "F" rating. 

See CharityWatch's list of 49 nonprofits whose ratings have been reduced due to holding three years or more of available assets in reserve. Also, read our article Don't Judge a Not-For-Profit by its Profits for factors to consider when assessing a charity's financial stability. See Our Process for a detailed explanation of CharityWatch's treatment of high assets.

Related Charities