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Philanthropy Politics

Nonprofits Urge Targeted Executive, Legislative Policies

While nonprofits were included in coronavirus relief legislation, a group of 75 charitable organizations has sent a letter to President Joseph R. Biden and top Congressional leaders, urging them to enact provisions that specifically address their needs.

Within the letter, the group acknowledged the Families First Act, the CARES Act and the COVID relief law contain provisions that help charitable nonprofits.

“However, we note that those Acts often did so by inserting nonprofits into existing or predetermined programs designed for for-profit businesses that face very different challenges,” the signators asserted in their Jan. 22 letter, which was sent to President Biden, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“Charitable nonprofits have been on the frontlines providing essential services to communities throughout the pandemic,” a representative for the 75 nonprofits wrote in an email to The NonProfit Times. “We are grateful for the support that has been provided in the previous bipartisan relief packages. Extending and expanding those measures will be critical to our nation’s recovery as nonprofits are struggling to meet an increased need in their services, while dealing with fewer staff and resources.”

The group’s letter noted the additional demand for nonprofit services seen during the various crises of the past year. In addition to increased need for food services, organizations report jumps in calls for domestic violence services; new services, protocols and expenses added to nonprofits that serve the homeless, and strains on healthcare and information organizations.

The current year will likely be even more devastating, the letter continues, with increased demand for services accompanied by reduced ability of individuals and local and state governments to fund nonprofit activities. The signators seek to offset their increased expenses and anticipated revenue drops by requesting:

  • Nonprofit-specific grants, forgivable loans and refundable tax credits. The letter acknowledged that some nonprofits were able to partake of general organization relief measures. That said, organizations with more than 500 employees were not eligible for a variety of programs, such as the Paycheck Protection Program. Legislation such as that proposed in the WORK NOW Act (S.3747) includes grants that would help nonprofits retain employees and continue to provide services, according to the letter.
  • An increase in the cap on above-the-line charitable giving deduction which was part of the CARES Act. Additionally, the signators want this change to the tax code extended at least through 2022, along with the preservation of the itemized charitable contribution deduction.
  • Full unemployment benefit reimbursement for nonprofits that self-insure unemployment benefits. Between shut-down orders and program cancellations, nonprofits have furloughed and laid off staff. Because of these, some nonprofits have experienced increased unemployment costs. The signators asked for federal unemployment insurance reimbursement for self-insured or reimbursing nonprofits to be increased to 100 percent, applied retroactively for 2020 and extended for at least the first three quarters of 2021.
  • Aid for state and local governments. The signators note that as these governments experience financial crunches, they often cut financial aid to nonprofits.

This article originally ran at The NonProfit Times, where a full list of signators is also included. 

The NonProfit Times

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