To date, Congress has spent $2.8 trillion to combat the health and economic fallout from the rapid spread of COVID-19. The CARES Act, in particular, made historic strides in expanding nonprofit and community access to aid. Independent Sector has been in active dialogue with policymakers on Capitol Hill and the nonprofit sector, and these strides would not have been possible without our collective efforts. Yet, the unprecedented scale of this public health crisis requires even more action, which is why Congress currently is considering the prospect of a fifth bill to provide much needed relief on-the-ground in our communities. Leaders in the House of Representatives are working to have a bill ready for lawmakers to consider as soon as May 4.
Today, Independent Sector sent a letter to Congressional leaders to request that the needs of nonprofit organizations, civil society, and the communities we serve are reflected in the next round of legislation. Over the past few weeks, we made a concerted effort to engage a wide range of nonprofits, many of which represent diverse communities, to inform this next round of requests. By far, financial stability was cited as the greatest concern across all types of organizations. For this reason, the majority of provisions included in the letter are aimed at preserving existing revenue or increasing funding flowing into nonprofits.
Other priorities shared across nonprofits included funding to support fair, healthy elections, increasing technology access, and providing personal protective equipment and hazard pay to essential workers. These policies are designed to not only strengthen the health of the whole of civil society, but also address some systemic inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic.
We will remain in active conversations with leaders in Congress about how to best help the nonprofit sector serve those in need. Like the legislation that precedes it, this next bill will not address all the challenges facing our organizations and communities. Some of those challenges may be best addressed through other, non-legislative means, and Independent Sector stands ready to work with partners to identify and advance new policy and philanthropic solutions.