More Work Needs to be Done to Ensure the Most Vulnerable are Cared For
(WASHINGTON, March 26, 2020) — Following days of heated marathon negotiations, the Senate approved the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the largest emergency aid package in U.S. history. The CARES Act includes more than $2 trillion to help individuals, businesses and nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The House is expected to vote on the bill this week.
On behalf of thousands of nonprofits across America, we want to thank our elected officials for their leadership at this critical time in our nation’s history. We are grateful for the response on Capitol Hill as our Senators responded to provide emergency relief to nonprofits. We all know that the challenges in our communities will remain and we know that we can count on Congress as we consider additional steps to ensure nonprofits can continue to serve their communities throughout this crisis and beyond.
Although funds were not specifically set aside for nonprofits, our institutions now have access to $367 billion in new business continuity loans. In addition, the legislation also includes a limited above-the-line charitable tax deduction, resources to feed and house families and older adults, flexibility and new support for healthcare providers, and more. These allocations will help as our organizations brace for a significant increase in demand for services, and we will continue to work with Congress, the 12 million employees who comprise the nonprofit sector, and those we serve to ensure nonprofits nationwide continue to serve their communities.
We call on the U.S. House of Representatives to take up and quickly pass the CARES Act and send it to the President for his signature.
We have much work to do to ensure these funds are used to serve those among us in the most need, and we look forward to working to address the next phase of this effort with our partners in Congress and the Administration. The provisions in this bill were a good start, but much more needs to be done to ensure nonprofits have the resources they need to continue serving their communities. In the months ahead, we will continue to address fiscal and other challenges caused by this pandemic, while pressing ahead to meet the increased needs for services.
ORGANIZATIONAL QUOTES BELOW
Alliance for Strong Families and Communities
“Community-based human services organizations are essential to our nation’s response to this crisis,” said Susan N. Dreyfus, president and CEO of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities. “These policy measures are a big win and will help organizations continue to meet the basic needs of families, including the provision of shelter, food, child welfare services, child care and elder care services, mental health and substance abuse services, and so much more. There is more work to be done, however, and we will continue to advocate for policies at the federal, state and local level to ensure that community-based human services organizations can continue to serve people in need and innovate delivery of services throughout this pandemic.”
The Alzheimer’s Association
“As a donor-funded nonprofit, the global impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the economy and financial markets will have substantial ramifications on the Alzheimer’s Association and the nonprofit sector. Today’s CARES Act is an important step to support our nation’s most vulnerable, including caregivers. The bill also provides important relief for charities,” said Harry Johns, president and CEO for the Alzheimer’s Association. “Still, more work remains, and we are calling on Congress to protect the charities that support communities across America, especially in this time of crisis. Despite the growing challenges from the COVID-19 crisis, the Alzheimer’s Association remains committed to our mission. We continue to offer care and support to families through our free 24/7 Helpline (800-272-3900), alz.org, and working with health systems across the country, offering Alzheimer’s Association resources to help families affected by Alzheimer’s and all dementia during this critical time when hospitals and healthcare providers are under siege with COVID-19.”
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
“The CARES Act is an important first step in recognizing the essential role of nonprofits in helping people and communities get through and recover from this historic health and economic upheaval, but more relief is needed,” said Gary Reedy, CEO of the American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “When our nation recovers from this pandemic, cancer patients will rely on services like free rides to the doctor, free lodging when cancer treatment takes them far from home, and always available and trusted cancer information. Support for charities of all sizes will determine our ability to continue to meet that need.”
American Heart Association
“Nonprofits serve as frontline responders to national crises such as the coronavirus, providing resources and care to those facing profound disruption in their lives and communities, particularly the most disadvantaged among us,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. “We appreciate the support of the charitable sector included in the CARES Act, but additional relief is needed to ensure the charitable sector can continue its critical work in communities across the country. We strongly urge congressional leaders to work with us to include further relief for nonprofit organizations in their ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic.”
“We are pleased that Congress has taken necessary action to address this mounting public health crisis that will affect all of us, putting at even greater risk the vulnerable communities Girls Inc. serves,” said Stephanie J. Hull, Ph.D., president and CEO of Girls Inc. “But the enormity of the current crisis calls for unprecedented action to protect nonprofit organizations that are on the frontlines providing critical support to those hardest hit. We call on Congress to put forward even bolder policy solutions that will allow nonprofits to remain focused on supporting the most vulnerable in our communities.”
Goodwill Industries International, Inc.
“The relief package is an important move in the right direction in helping charitable nonprofits survive and continue their essential work,” said Steven C. Preston, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “However, without additional support for charitable nonprofits, crucial services to the most vulnerable Americans will decline significantly at the very time they are needed the most. At this most vital juncture, we look forward to working with leaders in Washington to ensure we can help people in communities across America survive this crisis and get their lives back.”
Habitat for Humanity International
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency. The longer it goes on, the more it also becomes a housing emergency,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “Our nation’s leaders are taking extraordinary actions to protect the economy through support of workers and businesses. Washington has more work to do. The White House and Congress need to prioritize support for low-income families, as well as come to the aid of nonprofit organizations like Habitat, which will play a key role in their recovery. Congress’s support of these organizations now will allow us to be ready to help our communities build back from this pandemic.”
“The $2 trillion relief package is an incredible step toward ensuring the charitable community, our frontline staff and the communities we serve are supported through this pandemic,” said Daniel J. Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector. “Provisions in the package to protect our elections and ensure nonprofits are included alongside businesses are promising signs. And while we are pleased to see a universal charitable deduction included, the $300 cap significantly limits the incentive and dollars donated to charities who need those resources. We thank our advocates across the country for their remarkable mobilization, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Administration and Congress on additional relief.”
The Jewish Federations of North America
“This relief package is a good first step towards ensuring that Jewish Federations, community centers, synagogues, Jewish day schools, Jewish Family Service agencies and others are able to help vulnerable populations and secure vibrant Jewish life across America,” said Eric D. Fingerhut, president and CEO of The Jewish Federations of North America. “We are grateful to our advocates across the country, and we look forward to working with the Administration and Congress on the next phase of this effort.”
Mental Health America
“We are gratified that the essential work of nonprofits has been recognized and supported in this legislation,” said Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO, Mental Health America. “The mental health needs of all our citizens will increase dramatically in the coming days, and Mental Health America and its affiliates will continue to work with others in the sector, public officials, individuals, businesses and media to address these and other emerging needs of nonprofits as comprehensively as we can.”
National Council of Nonprofits
“There is much to celebrate in this deal, but still a lot of advocacy needed as Congress starts thinking about ‘phase four,'” said Tim Delaney, president and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits. “Access to emergency loans will help keep the doors of many nonprofits open, so they can continue serving their communities. The inclusion of a universal, non-itemized deduction that every American taxpayer can use is a step in the right direction, but Congress needs to both significantly increase the $300 tax incentive and extend it to 2019 tax returns to get donations flowing to nonprofits immediately. Nonprofits cannot afford to look solely to Congress, however, because these new federal laws will trigger state legislatures and governors to change their laws to accommodate, which means nonprofits can win or lose more at the state level without substantial advocacy there as well.”
Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (“Orthodox Union”)
“The CARES Act is a good start, and an important down payment, in addressing the needs of charities across the country and our ability to continue to serve those who depend on us – whether for social welfare services, education, health or spiritual sustenance,” said Orthodox Union President Mark (Moishe) Bane. “That said, more attention can and must be focused by Washington on America’s charities, which are already being strained by reduced donations at a time when the demand is great – and growing rapidly – as this pandemic worsens.”
YMCA of the USA
“The CARES Act represents progress for the nonprofit sector,” said Kevin Washington, president and CEO of YMCA of the USA. “Access to SBA and economic stabilization loans will serve as a bridge for YMCAs, helping them continue to provide vital community services such as child care for healthcare workers and other first responders, food for the most vulnerable among us and shelter for the homeless. Hopefully the universal charitable deduction will encourage more giving. But to ensure the sustainability of nonprofits, not just during this crisis but also when the hard work of recovery begins in communities, Congress has to do more. We need greater, quicker access to cash, and the charitable deduction must be expanded and extended. Nonprofits will continue to push for this support as negotiations for a fourth stimulus bill begin.”
“YWCA USA deeply appreciates that charitable nonprofits like YWCA will be able to obtain some economic relief through this stimulus package,” said Alejandra Y. Castillo, CEO of YWCA USA. “Even with this step forward, more is needed so that nonprofits can continue to employ our workers and deliver critical services that communities desperately need right now. From offering emergency child care for first responders to housing domestic violence survivors that can’t safely self-quarantine, YWCA needs Congress to pass additional and more robust relief for the nonprofit sector if we are to keep our doors open in service to communities.”
United Way Worldwide
“Congress stepped forward when it was needed by ensuring access for nonprofits to small business loans, including a limited above-the-line charitable tax deduction and critical cash and program support for individuals and families in need,” said Brian Gallagher, president and CEO of United Way Worldwide. “Now this fight goes on. The COVID-19 crisis will require the sustained attention and support of government, nonprofits and business in order to be defeated and for our society to come out stronger on the other side. We’re in this together, both in the immediate relief effort and for our long-term health and well-being.”