The U.S. Small Business Administration has granted a federal loan of $21,385 through the Paycheck Protection Program to allow the Denver Press Club to cover the salaries of its two main employees for just over two months.
The funds were made available as part of the CARES Act, which President Donald Trump signed into law on March 27. The Paycheck Protection Program provides relief for businesses that have been disrupted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Club will use at least 75 percent of the loan for payroll for its employees. An additional amount will cover utilities for the Club while it remains closed. The Club has no rent or mortgage payments because it paid off the balance of its roughly $231,000 mortgage through a $500,000 gift from late Club member Walter Baas in late February, just before the pandemic took serious hold in the United States.
The Club worked with Evergreen National Bank, which originally had the Club’s mortgage, to assist with the application process.
“This loan gives us some needed financial cushion while the Club remains closed for business,” president Daniel Petty said in a statement. “The Club remains in a strong financial position because of growing membership and Walter’s generous gift, but Walter’s intention was always for that gift to support student journalism scholarships and the Club’s longterm viability, and we will honor his wishes.
“We’re also extremely grateful to Evergreen National Bank and to vice president Gary Billings for their assistance in obtaining the financing so quickly and efficiently.”
The Press Club organization is dual-structured: it includes the 501(c)3 non-profit Denver Press Club and the for-profit C-corp Press Benevolent Association. The loan was granted to the for-profit entity, which covers employee payroll. The board of directors for both organizations is the same, and its directors and officers do not receive compensation for their work, as required by the Club’s bylaws.
In accordance with guidance from local governments and health officials, the Club remains closed until at least May 8. The organization derives revenue from membership dues, ticket sales and sponsorships from journalism programming and events, rentals of the Club space and other sources.