Speaking Together - Your call to Advocate

Posted By: Madeleine McGee Advocacy , Covid-19 Response ,

Speaking together we can achieve so much more.

Time to Tell Congress: Include Urgent Nonprofit Policy Priorities in COVID-19 Legislation - July 6 

Congress is expected to pass its last piece of COVID-19 legislation this month – July 2020. It is urgent that nonprofits tell the House and Senate to include nonprofit policy solutions in the final package.

Help ensure that federal lawmakers insert these bipartisan solutions in the legislation by signing your organization’s name onto the new Nonprofit Community Letter to congressional leaders.

Sign on by this Friday, July 10th. 

Take Action: Let the Federal Reserve Know Nonprofits Need Improvements to Lending Program - June 19
On Monday, the Federal Reserve announced its plan to expand the Main Street Lending Program to provide access to credit for nonprofit organizations. These loans – which are not forgivable – would be available to 501(c)(3) nonprofits with between 50 and 15,000 employees if: (a) their endowments are less than $3 billion; and (b) less than 30% of their total 2019 revenue came from donations. Eligible nonprofits could take loans in the amount of $250,000 to $300 million with interest rates of 4% or lower. The National Council of Nonprofits and Independent Sector released a statement explaining that the new program is appreciated but not enough relief for nonprofits since these arbitrary terms will disqualify many nonprofits and because the loans are not forgivable. 
The Federal Reserve is accepting public comments on this proposal until Monday, June 22. Please help improve the Federal Reserve’s loan program for nonprofits by using this template language to develop and send comments. You can use the Federal Reserve’s online form to submit your comments, which must be limited to 15,000 characters. Once you’ve you sent in your comments, please share them with us so we can advocate for you and all nonprofits in South Caroline.
Give 5 Minutes to Provide Confidential Information to Help Advocate for Nonprofit UI Relief - May 25

Does your nonprofit self-insure for your unemployment insurance (UI) claims? Is your organization now facing burdensome payments to the state unemployment trust fund due to coronavirus-related layoffs and furloughs?
The information from this survey will help Together SC and our partner organizations advocate for Congress and state policy makers to provide relief to nonprofits for their COVID-19 related UI claims. 
National Nonprofits Ask DOL to Rescind Problematic Guidance on UI - May 25
A few weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Labor issued guidance on the way states should administer the CARES Act provision that covers half of the COVID-19 related UI claims of self-insured nonprofits.
This week, the National Council of Nonprofits and 30 other national organizations asked Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia to rescind this guidance and replace it with guidance that would: 
  1. Have states use CARES Act funding to reduce the actual bills to reimbursing nonprofits for COVID-19 related UI claims by 50% rather than forcing nonprofits to reimburse for the full amount of claims and then seek reimbursement of their reimbursement from the state; and 
  2. Allow states  that are not charging reimbursing nonprofits for their COVID-19 related UI claims to access the full CARES Act funding to cover half of the cost of these claims. 
Ask Senators Graham and Scott to Take Action to Help Nonprofits - May 25
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES Act), a $3 trillion COVID-19 recovery bill. While the HEROES Act passed mostly along party lines, it includes several provisions with broad bipartisan support that would be helpful to nonprofits, including:
  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Expansion. The HEROES Act sets aside 25% of PPP funding for nonprofits and expands eligibility to non-501(c)(3) nonprofits and to nonprofits with more than 500 employees. It also eliminates the current requirement that at least 75% of the forgivable amount of loans must be used for payroll expenses, extends the covered period through December 31, 2020, and extends the deferment of payment and interest to one year (up from six months).
  • Unemployment Insurance (UI) for Self-Insured Nonprofits. While the HEROES Act still only provides federal funds to cover half of the COVID-19 related UI costs of self-insured nonprofits, it fixes a procedural problem from the U.S. Department of Labor’s guidance.
  • Employee Retention Credit. The HEROES Act strengthens the refundable tax credit available to nonprofits and businesses that maintain their employees and don’t use the PPP by significantly increasing the amount of the credit for each employee and by allowing credits for some non-payroll expenses like rent or mortgage. With these changes, the employee retention credit may be a better option than the PPP for financial relief for some nonprofits.
  • Main Street Lending Program. The HEROES Act requires the Federal Reserve to make larger nonprofits (up to 10,000 employees) eligible for this low-interest loan program and creates forgivable loans for nonprofits serving low-income communities.
The Senate is unlikely to take up the HEROES Act in its current form, but it could include some of its provisions – potentially including those that help nonprofits – in its next COVID-19 relief legislation. 
So far, the Senate has not displayed the urgency of the House in passing the next round of COVID-19 recovery legislation.
We encourage nonprofits to email and tweet Senators Scott and Graham and urge the Senate to take action by supporting another recovery bill sooner rather than later. The National Council of Nonprofits has sample Tweets and talking points

Learn About Nonprofit Advocacy to Strengthen Vote-by-Mail Laws

The COVID-19 crisis is changing the way that nonprofits engage in nonpartisan voter registration and get-out-the-vote activities. Many nonprofits are now advocating for changes to state absentee voting and vote-by-mail policies to ensure that all eligible voters can vote safely even during a pandemic.