Last week, we partnered with the Monitor Institute by Deloitte to release their report outlining the possible scenarios civil society will face as a result of this global pandemic. Reading through the report will elicit a range of feelings from fear and dread to hope and optimism. One thing that is certain – all of us in leadership roles need to keep vigilant to the quickly changing circumstances wrought by the pandemic, while preparing various pathways forward to sustain and grow the impact of our respective and collective work.
The policy news of this week is another reminder that we have made progress in advocating on behalf of the sector and the communities we serve since COVID-19 shut down our normal operations in March. Still, we have a fight ahead of us to ensure that this critical sector in our country continues to have the funds and environment to provide critical services to the people most at risk right now.
Earlier today, we released our statement on the Senate Republicans’ latest bill. It includes some good news, such as increasing funding available for the Paycheck Protection Program, which has been the lifeblood for many nonprofit organizations. The HEALS Act also offers improved unemployment insurance relief and injects emergency funding into the 2020 Census, a critical component of our community and civic infrastructure policy priorities. However, Independent Sector has been working in two coalitions around the needs of the nonprofit sector and our communities, particularly Black, Indigenous, and people of color in this country who are more acutely impacted by the effects of COVID-19, and we know that this bill and what Congress has done so far this year still falls alarmingly short.
Over the course of the last several months, Independent Sector worked alongside our nonprofit partners to push Congress to support policies that will strengthen the sector, our communities, and our democracy. Our asks include:
- Expanding emergency funding, including the Paycheck Protection Program, to nonprofit organizations with more than 500 employees;
- Ensuring loan forgiveness is available to all nonprofit organizations;
- Strengthening charitable giving incentives;
- Providing unemployment benefit reimbursement; and
- Funding safe and healthy elections, census, and broadband internet access.
You can get details on all of these asks in two letters to Congress that we supported within the last few weeks:
- Urgent Nonprofit Policy Priorities in Reforms to CARES Act
- Strengthening Civic Infrastructure as We Respond to COVID-19
Through the course of this week, we will be sending you emails and newsletters with additional information and opportunities for your organization and your staff, volunteers, and advocates to take action. We hope that you will take the time to lend your voice to ensure all of our organizations, this sector, and the communities we serve recover and rebuild from this pandemic. We need your partnership and leadership to strengthen our institutions in order to address the incredible challenges our communities face, particularly those shouldering much of the burden of this health crisis.
Thank you to all of you who are already working alongside us in this effort. Let’s keep going.