By Samah Assad, Christopher Hacker

CHICAGO (CBS) — Thousands of Illinois businesses received millions in loans under a federal government program created to help small companies recover from the economic crisis left in the wake of the pandemic.

Data released by the Small Business Administration (SBA) shows the government approved more than 220,000 Payment Protection Program (PPP) loans in Illinois for both private and public businesses, totaling more than $22.7 billion.

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Nearly 4,000 businesses received $1 million or more. That’s more than $8.6 billion approved for those companies alone, or more than one-third of all PPP money given in the state.

Find out which companies received the most money here.

Thirty-six of those businesses received $10 million loans – the largest amount approved by the SBA.

From health care and museums, to staffing firms and food and beverage companies, those who received the most vary across industries.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, based in Itasca, received a $10 million loan. A Joliet-based school bus operator, North America Central School Bus, also received $10 million.

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Marion-based beverage distributor Pepsi MidAmerica, which distributes beverages throughout parts of Illinois and other states, received nearly $6.5 million.

The Field Museum, which was approved for $6.3 million, and the Museum of Science and Industry, approved for $4.9 million, each were among the business who received the highest loans, the data shows.

The vast majority of companies that received money, however, got far less. More than 70 percent of the firms received $50,000 or less, making up just 12 percent of the total money given out. The companies that did receive more than $1 million — less than two percent of the total recipients.

The SBA released the list of all PPP loan recipients across the country Wednesday morning only after news organizations sued the federal government.  SBA previously provided limited data. But on Nov. 5, a federal judge ordered to SBA to release detailed information, including the names of companies and loan amounts for all recipients.

CBS 2 previously reported how a handful of publicly-traded Illinois companies had received the loan. This raised questions about how some companies, like Cicero-based Broadwind Energy, received millions despite questions about whether they were severely impacted at that time by the pandemic like some smaller businesses.

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