NPO Leaders Demand Recognition, Help From Congress

A coalition of nonprofits sent a letter to President Joe Biden and Congressional leadership that seeks recognition for the roles nonprofits have played in aiding in job recovery, rebuilding the economy and strengthening communities.

The letter, sent to Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, was initially sent on July 21 and updated last week.

“Charitable nonprofits have risen to the crises our nation is enduring,” the nonprofit leaders wrote. “They have stretched beyond all reasonable measures and continue to advance their missions despite unfathomable challenges. Most charitable organizations did not shut down or sit out the pandemic. During the height of the pandemic, demand for services sky-rocketed. 

Many nonprofit managers were innovative and shifted their service models to virtual platforms and partnered with others in their community to help meet basic needs. Most recently, nonprofits have stepped up to support vaccine distribution and awareness by setting up clinics, employee incentives, and community support like transportation and childcare while people get vaccinated.”

The nonprofit leaders seek aid in ameliorating the loss of jobs experienced by the nonprofit community — 700,000 out of 12 million employed by charitable nonprofits, according to the letter.

“Nonprofit revenues are likely to decline sharply in 2021 as individuals are less able to make charitable donations,” according to the letter’s drafters. “Without immediate relief from Congress and the Administration, charitable organizations will not have the capacity or resources to provide the breadth of services upon which communities rely.”

To this end, the nonprofits request passage of S.740/H.R. 1987, the WORK NOW Act, which would provide $50 billion in aid to nonprofits, extension of the Employee Retention Tax Credit past 2021 and modification of nonprofit eligibility reflecting the financial burdens nonprofits experienced while maintaining or expanding services since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and requiring that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provide quarterly data on nonprofit employment and wages.

The nonprofits also request an increase on the $300 charitable giving cap of above the line deductions established in the CARES Act and extension of the cap through 2022, preservation of the itemized charitable contribution deduction, funds for emergency grant programs for nonprofits, and a $100 billion investment in affordable high-speed broadband with a focus on ensuring access to the improved broadband to the hardest-to-serve communities.

“As nonprofits struggled to switch their services to virtual platforms, the pandemic put a spotlight on inadequate access to broadband and digital skills, which made it difficult for everyone in their communities to access their services,” the nonprofits noted in their letter. “Distance learning, telemedicine and spiritual services require accessible and reliable internet services.”

The letter’s signatories include more than 80 national nonprofits and seven pages of regional, state and local nonprofits. At deadline, signatories had not responded to a request regarding federal responses to the letter.