May 08, 2020
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) led a bipartisan group of 30 Senators in a letter to Senate leadership advocating for the inclusion of aid for charitable nonprofits in any upcoming coronavirus relief legislation. Charitable nonprofits have been essential partners in the fight against coronavirus and its economic effects. In the letter, addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senators urge leadership to expand charitable nonprofit access to pandemic economic relief and support, increase the federal reimbursement of nonprofit unemployment insurance costs, and strengthen charitable giving incentives to help ease the shock to nonprofit revenues that the pandemic has caused. This support is critical to the long-term health of Maine nonprofits, many of which are facing increased need for services and decreased donations in light of the economic downturn.
“In the face of extreme uncertainty, nonprofit organizations across Maine are stepping up to address the challenges posed by both the coronavirus pandemic and the economic harm it’s bringing,” said Senator King. “Whether it’s helping get food to families in need, or addressing the crisis’s impact on mental health, or making sure our most vulnerable citizens are cared for, Maine’s nonprofits are answering the call to serve their communities – but even as their services are needed more than ever, the economic climate is drastically reducing critically-needed donations. Losing these groups would be a gut punch to our families, our communities, and our economy – that’s why Congress must support nonprofits in the next coronavirus relief package.”
“Senator King is a champion to Maine's nonprofit sector, which employs more Mainers than key state industries like construction, fishing or agriculture,” said Jennifer Hutchins, Executive Director, Maine Association of Nonprofits. “We're thankful he is urging his colleagues in the Senate to support our work. His leadership is exactly what nonprofits need in Washington.”
“As a community-based organization serving essential workers on the front-lines of COVID-19 by providing emergency childcare and meals for their young children, the Bangor Region YMCA wholeheartedly supports Senator King’s request for support to America’s nonprofits,” said Diane Dickerson, CEO, Bangor Region YMCA. “Since the pandemic began, the YMCA has seen first-hand the devastation COVID-19 has had on our entire state. Like many other organizations helping our essential workforce, the YMCA is struggling to fulfill a critical need for childcare while simultaneously facing the crippling financial impact on its bottom line from lost revenues due to this pandemic. Our communities and all the organizations like my YMCA who are working hard to help our frontline workers cannot continue without the economic aid recommended by Senator King.”
“The coronavirus pandemic has created challenges for people in virtually every walk of life and every demographic, but none have been impacted more than those already living in society’s margins,” said Megan Hannan, Executive Director, Maine Community Action Partnership. “The depth and breadth of the need in Maine is reflected in the response to continue the work of local Community Action Agencies (CAAs) across the state, and we are serving people who have never used our programs and services before. We are so thankful that our Members of Congress, including Sen. King, fought to include funds that will allow us to serve more people as the fallout from the pandemic continues. From heating oil to weatherization, nutritious meals and continued early childhood education, our local CAAs are working hard every day to assure Maine families don’t fall further into the cracks as a result of losing their jobs or being furloughed.”
“As the news of COVID-19 continues to unfold, United Ways of Maine are finding ways to support our communities across the state on so many levels,” said Joleen Bedard, Executive Director of United Way of Androscoggin County and Chair of United Ways of Maine. “We are particularly concerned about people who rely on nonprofits for help with basic needs, including food, health and mental health, shelter and child care. We recognize the impact that this pandemic has had on individuals and families – unpaid absences, illness, job loss and financial strain – related directly or indirectly to the virus. As we continue to serve Maine communities during this time of need, we are grateful for the leadership of Senator King and his colleagues in urging federal support for our nation’s nonprofits.”
King and Lankford are joined on the letter by Senators Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).
In addition to the aforementioned Maine nonprofits, the following organizations have offered their support for the Senators’ letter: Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, American Alliance of Museums, American Council on Education, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Red Cross, Americans for the Arts, Apartment Life, Inc., Arthritis Foundation, Association of Art Museum Directors, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Catholic Charities USA, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Child Welfare League of America, Community Action Partnership, Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, Covenant House International, Ducks Unlimited, Extended Day Child Care Center, Inc., Faith & Giving Coalition, Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls Inc., Goodwill Industries International, Inc., Habitat for Humanity International, Independent Sector, Jewish Federations of North America, Land Trust Alliance, Leadership 18, League of American Orchestras, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Looking Glass Community Services, Lutheran Services in America, Mental Health America, National Alliance for Caregiving, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, National Council of Nonprofits, National Health Council, National Human Services Assembly, NatureBridge, San Diego Zoo Global, Solve ME/CFS Initiative, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Squash and Education Alliance, The Arc of the United States, The Nonprofit Trust, The Trevor Project, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, United Cerebral Palsy- National, United Philanthropy Forum, United Way Worldwide, Volunteers of America, Welcoming America, World Wildlife Fund, YMCA of the USA, Youth Advocate Program, YWCA USA, and Boys and Girls Club of America
The full text of the letter can be found HERE or below.
Dear Leader McConnell and Leader Schumer:
Charitable nonprofits are significant employers ready to serve. The 12 million people working for America’s charities are the backbone of our communities: the food banks, shelters, domestic violence services, houses of worship, early care and education centers, after-school facilities, and more that are being called on to feed, house and care for people whose lives have been disrupted by sickness, closures, and job loss. Cities and states are relying on nonprofits to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic. We will continue to rely on the experience, expertise and ingenuity of the sector during future recovery efforts. As we work to build on the CARES Act in the next relief package, we cannot overlook the needs of these community-based institutions and must ensure that charitable nonprofits are fully supported in their service on the front lines of responding to the COVID-19 crisis.
Specifically, we urge you to include the following clarifications and provisions in the next relief package:
1. Expand Nonprofit Access to Relief and Support: Expand the eligibility for nonprofits to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program by modifying the current 500-employee cap or by other means. Adjust Economic Stabilization Fund or other mechanisms to implement programs to support nonprofit employers with between 500 and 10,000 employees. Provide clear guidance and maximum flexibility to private lenders to prioritize processing the applications of charitable nonprofits.
2. Increase Unemployment Insurance Reimbursement: Treat self-funded nonprofits fairly by increasing the federal unemployment insurance reimbursement for self-funded nonprofits to 100% of costs. As currently written Section 2103 of the CARES Act will subject nonprofits throughout the country to crippling payments to their state unemployment systems later this year, while other employers will likely experience little or no additional costs resulting from mass COVID-19-related layoffs. The impacts will be real. States will be greatly challenged to distinguish among employers in an already overburdened system due to the unprecedented surge in new applicants. Many nonprofits will be hit with a bill for reimbursement to states at a time when they will be in the highest demand for providing services. This could actually inhibit nonprofits’ ability to perform.
3. Strengthen Charitable Giving Incentives: Encourage donations to the work of charitable organizations in their communities by enabling taxpayers making donations on and after March 13 (date of national emergency declaration) and before July 16 to claim the deductions on their 2019 tax filings. This retroactive application should apply to itemized and above-the-line deductions during this critical period to encourage an influx of donations when these nonprofits need them most. Also, enhance the Above-the-Line Deduction in the CARES Act by increasing the $300/person cap and extending the effective date of the incentive.
On behalf of the nonprofit charities in each of our districts providing critical services to our constituents, we appreciate your attention to this request and believe that the inclusion of these provisions will directly help charitable nonprofits respond to the fallout from this pandemic and will continue to serve our communities in the aftermath. We appreciate your consideration and attention to this request.