SMU DataArts - Cultural Data Profile


Smaller Organizations in NYC Experience Greater Difficulties with PPP Program

  • Posted Jul 16, 2020

While the cost of living is higher in NYC than many other parts of the country, the average number of employees signify that larger organizations, compared to the sector as a whole, were primary recipients of PPP funds in NYC, averaging $15,078 per job supported.

The Frick Collection, New York, NY. Photo credit: Photo: Lucas Chilczuk. The Frick Collection, New York, NY. Photo credit: Photo: Lucas Chilczuk.

Earlier this week, we released a report in partnership with the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) and Americans for the Arts (AFTA) exploring the impact of COVID-19 on the finances and operations of arts and culture organizations in NYC. We analyzed losses to revenue, unanticipated expenses, and reductions in workforce due to layoffs and furloughs, among other topics. The impact data was collected by AFTA between April 24th and May 8th, 2020, and due to difficulties in the initial application process for PPP funds in early April, few organizations knew at the time of survey submission if they were going to receive forgivable PPP loans.

However, now that we have this data from the SBA, we can see how NYC organizations fared.


Loan Breakdown for Loans Given to NYC Organizations

NAICS   Sector Loan Count Avg. Loan $ Total Loan $ Avg.   Jobs Total   Jobs $ per Job
Performing Arts Organizations (7111-) 144 376,704 54,245,426 25 3,517 15,424
    Theater Cos. (711110) 53 198,936 10,543,623 9 454 23,224
    Dance Cos. (711120) 17 742,654 12,625,118 52 830 15,211
    Musical Groups & Artists (711130) 27 373,374 10,081,091 25 672 15,002
    Other Perf. Arts Cos. (711190) 47 446,715 20,995,594 36 1,561 13,450
Museums and Historical Sites (7121-) 86 845,448 72,708,504 59 4,903 14,829
    Museums (712110) 72 792,881 57,087,404 62 4,365 13,078
    Historical Sites (712120) 4 396,111 1,584,445 42 125 12,676
    Zoos/Botanical Gardens (712130) 4 2,782,931 11,131,724 69 274 40,627
    Nature Parks and Other (712190) 6 484,155 2,904,931 23 139 20,899
TOTAL (7111- and 7121-) 230 551,974 126,953,931 38 8,420 15,078

In NYC, 63% of organizations received loans under $150,000 compared to 80% of all arts and culture organizations in the US. While the cost of living is higher in NYC than many other parts of the country, the average number of employees signify that larger organizations, compared to the sector as a whole, were primary recipients of PPP funds in NYC, averaging $15,078 per job supported.


Our NYC COVID-19 impact study identified reported job losses totaling over 15,000, which shows the extensive need for additional resources as PPP loans only supported 8,420 jobs.



Who didn’t receive funding? What about equity in funding?

One of the difficulties with PPP became evident as smaller organizations, and generally those with fewer connections to the banking community, had more trouble applying for and receiving funds. The SBA has not released data on applicants who did not receive funding, but through media coverage and responses we observed during our NYC study, many smaller organizations had greater difficulty navigating the system than more established organizations and for-profit enterprises.


The SBA noted in their press release that “27% of the program’s reach [was] in low- and moderate-income communities, which is proportional to the percentage of population in [those] areas.” However, since the SBA did not disclose the names of the organizations receiving loans under $150,000, it is difficult to assess what entities in those communities received the funds. Did community-focused organizations receive funds or did restaurant franchises? We just don’t know.


Within our study of COVID-19 impact in NYC, we focused some attention on organizations located in areas of the city described as “Low Resource” in the 2017 Social Impact of the Arts study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. These areas are defined by “lower-income neighborhoods with fewer cultural resources.” While low response rates from organizations in those communities prevented us from fully exploring their COVID-19 impacts, there was some evidence that small and community-based organizations experienced severe impacts, and that organizations located in Low Resource areas are represented at higher levels by small and community-based organizations.


In relation to the SBA’s note that 27% of the program’s funds reached low- and moderate-income communities, 7 nonprofit arts and culture organizations in Low Resource areas of NYC received $3,962,323 ($566,046 on average) to preserve 428 jobs (61 on average). Of those 7 organizations, 3 organizations received loans over $150,000 and 4 received loans under $150,000. Those smaller loans supported a total of 28 jobs for a total of $196,097. This shows that the significant portion of PPP funds in Low Resource areas benefitted larger organizations. While we cannot fully report on which organizations received the loans in these areas, it is clear that equitable distribution of funds is a central question that must be addressed in future funding programs to ensure smaller, community-focused organizations have access to needed capital.



What now?

The PPP data provided by the SBA is very helpful in starting to assess who has received funding and how it has potentially helped our sector. With it, we can parse loan data by location, sector, and many other variables. However, many aspects of the program continue to be shrouded in mystery, preventing us from knowing the full extent to which organizations received loans, the exact amounts of large loans, and how the application process may have perpetuated inequities in who had access to the banking system.


Beyond access to this data, a singular program like the PPP cannot be the only resource made available to keep organizations afloat. During our NYC study, one respondent noted the benefit of receiving a PPP loan, but was concerned that even with the assistance, they would not be able to sustain operations after June 2020 without additional support. In another report we released in June, we estimated, based on data available at the time, that the nonprofit arts and culture sector can expect a roughly 26% deficit from March 2020 through February 2021.


As COVID-19 continues to ravage the United States in many ways, public and private funders alike must address the needs of the nonprofit arts and culture sector if it is to remain sustainable. The PPP program has been beneficial to many organizations, but as uncertainty lingers and closures continue indefinitely, more must be done to preserve the sector and give us hope for a vibrant future.

Download a preprocessed dataset created by SMU DataArts to explore the PPP loan data for nonprofit arts and culture organizations.

Download Excel File

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