As we get ready to head into the long holiday weekend, the State of Oregon is gradually reopening and there will be much to share as we all watch that process with hope and some level of fear… It will depend on all of us to get this right and keep the COVID-19 cases in our communities from spiking. NAO will continue to monitor local and national issues that impact the nonprofit sector through the long weekend. Executive directors, board members, and nonprofit staff leading COVID-19 response who want to receive the latest information can sign up for our COVID-19 Listserv. To subscribe, send an e-mail with the subject line “Subscribe” to NAOForumCOVID19email@example.com.
Yesterday, Governor Brown approved the Phase 1 reopening plans for Marion and Polk counties, after initially denying them. Both counties will start the gradual process on Friday joining 33 other counties outside the Portland metro area who had previously applied to reopen. Only Marion and Polk counties had their initial proposals rejected. Both counties presented revised applications to the Oregon Health Authority, and were approved.
Clackamas County officials are awaiting approval of the reopening plan they submitted Wednesday, and Washington County plans to apply on Friday. Multnomah County still has not submitted a plan to reopen.
Oregon state economists offered the first detailed analysis Wednesday of Oregon’s budget outlook amid the coronavirus outbreak. Their forecasting was bleak with projections of the steepest downturn since the Great Depression triggered in 1929 by the stock market crash. Economists told lawmakers to brace for a $10.5 billion reduction to state revenues through 2025. The quarterly economic forecast is the first detailed analysis of Oregon’s outlook during the coronavirus outbreak, outlining the impact on the state’s businesses and the resulting effects on state finances. Around $2.7 billion will need to be cut from the current biennial budget. These losses in revenue are triggering sharp cuts in Oregon’s spending on schools, health care, and other social services.
Oregon is in a much better place than before the Great Recession, with strong reserves that should be tapped early to avoid additional damage to the economy. Now is the time for nonprofits to make their voices heard to our policymakers! Our communities rely on the services we all provide. Cuts made in haste now to critical programs just to “make the numbers work” will not only cost us more in the future, but may literally mean the difference of life and death for people suffering from homelessness, mental illness addiction and who have been marginalized in other ways.
At the Federal Level:
We are happy to report that we were able to schedule a make-up date with Senators Wyden and Merkley for the Oregon Nonprofit Town Hall. We earlier had to take a raincheck as both of senators were called to the floor of the U.S. Senate during our last scheduled session. The rescheduled date and time are: Wednesday, June 3 from 3 – 4 p.m PT. Be sure to join us by registering here.
PPP Legislative Fixes
There is some good news to report on the Paycheck Protection Program. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote next week on a bipartisan bill offered by Representatives Phillips (D-MN) and Roy (R-TX) – the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (H.R. 6886). The bill proposes to:
Allow forgiveness for expenses beyond the 8-week covered period. The 8-week timeline does not work for local businesses that are prohibited from opening their doors, or those that will only be allowed to open with restrictions. Businesses need the flexibility to spread the loan proceeds over the full course of the crisis until demand returns. Otherwise, employees will simply be furloughed at the expiration of the 8 weeks. We want employers to be able to keep their employees on the payroll, not furlough them without pay or terminate them entirely.
Eliminate restrictions limiting non-payroll expenses to 25% of loan proceeds. In order to survive, businesses must pay fixed costs. The PPP loans require that 75% of the loan go to payroll. For many businesses, payroll simply does not represent 75% of their monthly expenses and 25% does not leave enough to cover mortgage, rent, and utilities. Retaining employees is not possible if a business cannot retain their physical location
Eliminate restrictions that limit loan terms to 2 years. According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, full recovery for that industry following both the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the 2008 recession took more than two full years. This is the same for many other industries. If the past is any indication of the future, it will take many businesses more than two years to achieve sufficient revenue to pay back the loan.
Ensure full access to payroll tax deferment for businesses that take PPP loans. The purpose of PPP and the payroll tax deferment was to provide businesses with capital to weather the crisis. Receiving both should not be considered double-dipping. Businesses need access to both sources of cash flow to survive.
Extend the rehiring deadline to offset the effect of enhanced Unemployment Insurance. To receive loan forgiveness under PPP, a business must rehire employees by a deadline of June 30, 2020. However, the enhanced Unemployment Insurance created through the CARES Act is higher than the median wage in 44 states. Many businesses have reported an inability to rehire employees because they are making more on Unemployment than they made working. To mitigate this unintended consequence, the deadline to rehire employees under PPP should be extended to align with the expiration of enhanced Unemployment Insurance.
The U.S. Senate could vote as early as today or Friday on a smaller PPP bill to extend the covered period beyond eight weeks. Congress is starting to feel the press of time and the collective efforts of our advocacy. The first PPP loans started on April 6, and close in two weeks or so. If you have not contacted your Representative or our Senators, it is not too late to make your thoughts known. Contact them today and encourage them to support these measures that support our sector and the communities we serve!
And Even More PPP News!
Data on PPP Loans: Earlier this week, SBA issued its Paycheck Protection Program Report that includes approvals through May 16. There appears to be about $95 billion left in the program, so if you have not taken advantage of this program, you may still want to apply. Oregon has received 55,822 approved loans totaling $6,835,721,738. The largest bulk of the PPP funds have gone to California ($67 billion), Texas ($40 billion), New York ($38 billion), and Florida ($30 billion). There is still no breakdown by sector, so we are not sure how much of these funds went to nonprofits.
Correcting Unemployment Insurance
We have some updated information regarding fixing the problems for self-insured nonprofits and tribal entities in relation to the CARES Act and the DOL guidance.
National Letter to DOL: Yesterday, our national colleagues circulated a sign-on letter addressed to the Labor Secretary asking him to withdraw the ill-considered “guidance, and to issue clarifying guidance that encourages state unemployment systems to exercise flexibility in relation to payments from self-insured organizations….” The plan is to deliver the letter to the Labor Department this Friday morning. The Labor Secretary reportedly has a 10-day response rule, so we are hoping that rule will be followed and we will report back the answer during the first week of June, when with your help (see below), this issue will be red-hot on the Hill.
UI Survey for Self-Insured Nonprofits and Tribal Groups: We are working with a coalition of national organizations to collect data on the impacts of the unsupported UI claims that self-insured nonprofits are facing with states. This new survey asks self-insured nonprofits facing burdensome unemployment payments to their states to share their experiences. If your organization is one of the more than 100,000 nonprofits or tribal entities that has elected to self-insure under your state unemployment compensation system, please take this survey! NAO is working with a broad nonprofit coalition advocating for relief from crippling unemployment costs and we ask your help in identifying the problems and solutions. The survey is CONFIDENTIAL and will greatly aid our ability to get this issue resolved in future legislation.
Rethinking Your Strategy: Planning for Your Nonprofit’s Recovery – a three-part series on Thursday, May 14, Thursday, May 21, and Thursday, May 28, Noon – 1 p.m. PT: Steve Patty, Founder of Dialogues in Action will guide nonprofits on how to rethink our pre-COVID strategies and plan for recovery in this three-part series. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the way nonprofits deliver services and programming and continuing to pursue our pre-COVID-19 strategies is not an option. Steve will discuss how nonprofits can make it through this crisis, emerge better, and be even more valuable to our communities for greater impact. The series consist of: Session 1 – The Opportunity of a Crisis; Session 2 – How to Adapt Your Strategy; and Session 3 – Create a New Future for a New Normal. You can still sign up for the third session and view previous sessions here.
Ask the Experts: Legal and Practical Realities of Reopening the Workplace, Tuesday, May 26, Noon – 1 p.m. PT: Jenna Reid, Vice President of HR Services and General Counsel at Cascade Employers Association will cover the many challenges all employers, including non-profits are facing in reopening the workplace, keeping employees and returning employees to work. From the Phase 1 Reopening Guidelines to employees refusing offers to return, this session will give you insights into the current and potential future state of the new workplace. Register for this free session here.
Nonstop Presents: Workplace Strategies to Support Mental Health, Thursday, May 28, 10 – 11 a.m. PT: Nonstop Administration and Insurances Services, an NAO partner, will be hosting Laura Green, SHRM-CP of Nonprofit HR, who will share how employers can best support their employees during these uncertain times. She’ll discuss tangible, simple solutions to help employees feel connected to the organization, as well as provide resources to assist with finding personal peace of mind. Register for the session on Nonstop’s site here.
Body-Based Resiliency – Empowering the Mind to Listen to the Body, Saturday, May 30, 10 – 11:30 a.m. PT: NAO Nonprofit Member Living Yoga is offering an online 90-minute immersive and practice-oriented group session that focuses on how to cope with stress, overwhelm, and trauma through mind-body movements that down-regulate the nervous system. The suggested donation for an open session is $50 but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Register for the session here.
Ask the Experts: How to Ask for $$$ in Tough Times, Tuesday, June 2, Noon – 1 p.m.: Matt Lehrman, Managing Partner of Social Prosperity Partners will share how nonprofits can ask donors for support in ways that are highly compelling yet incredibly sensitive. This session offers an espresso shot collection of ideas and practices to help nonprofit leaders ask for – and secure – the contributions upon which their organizations depend. Register for the session here.
Oregon Nonprofit Virtual Town Hall with U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, Wednesday, June 3, 3 – 4 p.m. PT: Join NAO for a virtual town hall with U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley addressing Oregon’s nonprofit community. We will have the opportunity to hear from our Oregon senators about the CARES Act and plans for future congressional action, as well as discuss specific issues and needs facing Oregon’s nonprofits. This session will be moderated by Raziah Roushan, NAO Board Member and Chair, NAO Public Policy Committee and Jim White, NAO Executive Director. Register for the session here.
QuickBooks Desktop Edition Made Easy for Nonprofits, June 16, 17 & 18, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. PT: Gregg S. Bossen, CPA of QuickBooks Made Easy, is partnering with NAO to offer an updated three-part QuickBooks® training webinar for nonprofits. This webinar is for the Desktop edition of Quickbooks. Gregg will cover the basics of setting up and entering transactions specifically for nonprofits, an overview of the software updates included in the QuickBooks® 2018 Desktop Edition, as well as advanced topics covering a host of specific processes that will help you do more helpful and amazing things! Register for the three-part webinar here.
QuickBooks Online Edition Made Easy for Nonprofits, June 23, 24 & 25, 11 a.m. – 1 pm. PT: Gregg S. Bossen, CPA of QuickBooks Made Easy, is partnering with NAO to offer an updated three-part QuickBooks® training webinar for nonprofits. This webinar is for the Online edition of Quickbooks. Gregg will cover the basics of setting up and entering transactions specifically for nonprofits, an overview of the software updates included in the QuickBooks® 2018 Online Edition, as well as advanced topics covering a host of specific processes that will help you do more helpful and amazing things! Register for the three-part webinar here.
Oregon Business’ 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon survey launched: Oregon Business has launched its 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon survey for 2020. The coronavirus pandemic has created a lot of uncertainties for organizations across all sectors of the economy, including Oregon’s nonprofits. It is more important than ever to keep communication flowing with employees as many are working remotely. Register for Oregon Business’ 2020 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon survey to find out how satisfied your employees are and what their concerns are in these uncertain times. Taking time to listen to your employees will set you up to be an even stronger organization Join our effort to support strong workplace culture and celebrate successful employers by participating in the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon survey. Of particular note for nonprofits who have less than 10 full- and part-time employees, know that organizations may include volunteers who work at least 20 hours/month. The survey must be completed by mid-July. Click here for survey information; to register for the survey, click here.
Stay safe and healthy!
Thank you to the following SUPPORTERS and SPONSORS who are supporting NAO’s online COVID-19 events and communications during these challenging times. Their support is vital in helping NAO to bring much-needed resources and information to Oregon’s nonprofits – thank you.
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