When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in early 2020, the federal government attempted to preempt the expected economic downturn by bailing out companies with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a program devised to make companies loans that would be ultimately forgiven.
In other words, PPP loans were free money to companies.
Many companies, small and large, non-profit or for-profit, benefitted from the government program.
One of those 501 (3) (c) non-profit companies that benefitted from a $566,000 loan that was forgiven was The Everglades Foundation.
The Foundation, which was founded by billionaires Paul Tudor Jones II and the late George Barley, reported having raised $10,959,365 in the 2020 fiscal year.
With having raised $11 million during the pandemic, and having $1.2 million in net income, why did the Everglades Foundation apply for and receive a $566K forgivable loan?
In addition, another non-profit, the controversial Captains for Clean Water received $78,613 in free money.
Several Republican lawmakers from Southwest Florida, who have in the past questioned the Everglades Foundation political motives and the motives of other progressive environmental groups like the Captains for Clean Water, have now spoken out about the taxpayer-funded free money these groups received.
“We can add the Captains for Clean Water to the long list of nonprofits that began as a movement, became a business, and ended up as a racket. With 11 employees feeding at the trough of taxpayer money, we need to ask a lot more questions on where this money is going. It seems they are much more focused on selling hats than saving water,” stated State Rep. Spencer Roach in a statement to The Floridian.
Rep. Roach’s colleague, State Rep. Mike Giallombardo, believes that the money given to these non-profits should have gone to the small business owners the program was initially supposed to help.
Rep. Giallombardo stated, “It’s disgusting to think political organizations masquerading as non-profits are taking taxpayer money to fund their operations. This is money that should have gone to small business owners that were forced by the government to shut down during the pandemic, not advocacy groups funded by billionaire hedge fund managers.”
U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds told The Floridian that he was “shocked” to hear that the Everglades Foundation received the loan
“Why does an environmental advocacy group need PPP funds? This makes no sense,” question Donalds.
The Everglades Foundation could not be reached for comment.