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Coalition of Nonprofits Calls on Congress for $60 Billion Infusion

By Steve Majors March 18, 2020

Philanthropy News Digest reports that the National Council of Nonprofits, which includes Communities In Schools, has partnered with Leadership 18, an alliance of CEOs of leading U.S. nonprofits and faith-based organizations, and issued a letter to Congress requesting an infusion of $60 billion in emergency funding to enable the nonprofit sector to continue serving vulnerable communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"America's charities are frontline responders providing food, shelter, medical services, and other critical services to those in need in their communities," the letter states. "At this crucial time when the American people and governments will depend even more on charitable nonprofits, contributions are likely to decrease as happened following the 2008 recession. Without dramatic and immediate financial and programmatic backstop from government, America's charitable nonprofits and the people we serve face a precipitous decline in mission services at a time when our efforts are needed like never before by the most vulnerable in our communities."

Specific recommendations outlined in the letter, which was signed by twenty-one nonprofit leaders, include distributing emergency funding quickly through channels such as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and awarding emergency grants to nonprofits operating with contracts from federal, state, local, or other pass-through entities. The letter also urges Congress to provide nonprofit payroll tax credit relief and an "above-the-line" or universal charitable deduction for contributions through the end of 2021, and argues that any additional employment-focused relief or stimulus legislation be applied to tax-exempt organizations as well.

Leadership 18 members who signed the letter include the Alliance for Strong Families and CommunitiesAmerican Cancer SocietyAmerican Heart AssociationAmerican Red CrossBig Brothers Big Sisters of AmericaBoys and Girls Clubs of AmericaCatholic Charities USACity YearGirl Scouts USAGirls Inc.Goodwill Industries InternationalHabitat for Humanity InternationalJewish Federations of North AmericaLutheran Services in AmericaMental Health AmericaNational Council on AgingSalvation ArmyUnited Way WorldwideVolunteers of AmericaYMCA of the USA, and YWCA USA.

Other signatories include the American Alliance of MuseumsAmericans for the ArtsAmerican Library AssociationCouncil for the Advancement of EducationCollective LibertyCommunities in SchoolsCouncil on FoundationsEvangelical Council for Financial AccountabilityExponent PhilanthropyIndependent SectorInterActionLeukemia and Lymphoma SocietyMarch of DimesMeals on Wheels AmericaMENTORMuscular Dystrophy AssociationNational Coalition Against Domestic ViolenceNational Health CouncilNational Human Services AssemblyNational Kidney FoundationNational Multiple Sclerosis SocietyNational Network to End Domestic ViolenceNational Trust for Historic PreservationOrthodox Union Advocacy CenterPrevent Child Abuse AmericaUnited Philanthropy Forum, and Year Up.

"The twelve million workers in America's charities are on the frontlines of the coronavirus response, and the financial impact of the crisis has put the very survival of many essential service providers at risk," said Steven C. Preston, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. "Charities are our society's shock absorber when crisis hits. Our workers provide essential immediate support such as food and shelter, are being called on to care for people whose lives have been disrupted by closures, job loss, and sickness, and we help people get back on their feet when it's time to recover."