COVID-19: 6/26/20 NAO Update

by | Jun 26, 2020 | Event

June 25, 2020
Hello Nonprofit Leaders and Supporters,
Oregon continues to suffer a spike in COVID-19 cases across the state with nearly 7,500 reported cases. There is no doubt that we did not get past the “first wave” of COVID-19 and need to remain exceeding vigilant in checking community spread. Please be cautious in all the important work that you do in our communities. Nonprofits are leading in some of the most important ways right now and helping to keep COVID-19 from resurging is another way in which we can lead.
You can find complete details on Oregon’s reopening strategy and information on how and when your nonprofit can re-open here. Please be sure to consider if your nonprofit can maintain work-from-home protocols longer as a public service to continue to keep cases low. And if you decide to re-open your workplace, be sure to plan for the appropriate hygiene and safety measures being in place. For resources on how to open safely, please visit our COVID-19 resources page.
In the Oregon Legislature
The Oregon Legislature is meeting this week in special session to take up several bills related to police reform and COVID-19 expenditure issues, as well as possibly working on several holdover issues from the last session. The special session includes the creation this past weekend of the Interim Joint Committee on the First Special Session. Since nonprofits touch so many parts of our lives, we are including links to several of the most important legislative concepts that impact nonprofits and the communities they serve:
Police Accountability and Reform
COVID Emergency Issues
LC 68:  Directs the Department of Consumer and Business Services to adopt temporary rules establishing an emergency standard for infectious disease by August 1, 2020. This concept will create presumptions for employees and Workers Compensation and particular requirements for Personal Protection Equipment.
LC 76: Increases for one year the percentage of district students who can be enrolled in an outside virtual charter school from 3% to 8%. Many nonprofit charter schools will see an uptick in enrollment as the school districts struggle to put in place virtual home schooling programs.
In a welcome sign of bipartisan solidarity last evening, House Democrats and Republicans sent signals of their joint support of legislation that would establish temporary and limited liability for coronavirus-related litigation. Ten House Democrats shared a letter with their fellow lawmakers encouraging legislative leaders to quickly pass this legislation during the current special session. House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) gave her support and is leading the House Republicans to back the bill saying, “It’s our job as lawmakers to ensure that organizations who are doing everything they have been asked to do by the government, are protected from potentially devastating legal threats. Given the extensive bipartisan support for adopting a fix to this problem in this special session, I am committed to working with all stakeholders and legislative leadership to bring this concept to a vote.” Language to ensure nonprofits, local governments, schools and businesses are protected from opportunistic lawsuits is welcome at this time.
At the Federal level
Unemployment Insurance “Partial” Fix Bill
Yesterday, the National Governors Association (NGA) submitted testimonyto the Senate Finance Committee expressly calling on Congress to cover 10 percent of the costs of benefits paid to laid off/furloughed employees of reimbursing employers. The NGA asks for: “Increasing grants for states to reimburse section 501(c)(3) organizations, government agencies and Indian tribes for 100 percent of the amount they pay for unemployment benefits. If this letter is taken into account and put into the bill, it would be a huge victory and protect thousands of nonprofits from agency-ending bankruptcy. States should be granted flexibility to retroactively apply grants to all unemployment benefit reimbursements made to these organizations since the beginning of the pandemic.” Advocacy Note: That quote is a good one to include in letters to your delegation when writing about our UI asks. NAO has been working on this issue with local and national organizations for months. We will continue to advocate and invite you to join us, with letters to our Congressional Delegation asking for their support on this issue.
Remember (and Use) the Lankford/King Letter
Six weeks ago, 30 Senators signed a letter to Senate leadership urging them to include nonprofit policy items in the next stimulus bill. Senator Jeff Merkley signed on to this letter. We remind you of the Lankford/King Letter because two new newly introduced bills provide the legislative text to ideas raised in the letter.
What they asked for, and the bill that delivers on the ask:
  • Increase Unemployment Insurance Reimbursement:
The bipartisan Protecting Nonprofits from Catastrophic Cash Flow Strain Act (S. 4001) solves half of the problems nonprofits have with the enormous costs of reimbursing their states for benefits paid to laid-off or furloughed employees. Specifically, the bill would correct the Labor Department interpretation requiring reimbursing employers to pay 100 percent of unemployment claims upfront and get reimbursed later. Sponsors: Scott (R-SC) and Brown (D-OH). There are eight co-sponsors, four Republicans and four Democrats, including Finance Committee Chair Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Wyden (D-OR).
  • Strengthen Charitable Giving Incentives:
The bipartisan Universal Giving Pandemic Response Act (S. 4032) would make available — for tax years 2019 and 2020 — an above-the-line deduction for charitable giving on federal income taxes valued at up to one-third of the standard deduction (around $4,000 for an individual filer and $8,000 for married joint filers). The bill’s co-sponsors (as listed on the bill) are Senators Lee (R-UT), Shaheen (D-NH), Scott (R-SC), and Klobuchar (D-MN).
We are proud to see both Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley taking on board the advocacy and advice that so many of you have expressed in this regard. If your nonprofit is partnered or involved with national coalitions or ally organizations outside of Oregon, encourage them to have their senators sign on to this important work.
Paycheck Protection Program Update
The Small Business Association (SBA) surprised us all yesterday by sending out notice of rules changes during business hours! – Additional Eligibility Revisions to First Interim Final Rule (Released June 24, 2020). The changes narrow PPP ineligibility for criminal conduct to pending criminal charges for felony offenses since only felony convictions will limit an applicant’s eligibility. Earlier guidance applied to misdemeanors.
Main Street Loan Programs for Nonprofits
We are happy to continue the theme of bipartisanship by pointing out that Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and Braun (R-IN) sent a letter to the Federal Reserve requesting changes to the Nonprofit Organizations Loan Programs. They ask the Fed to raise the 30 percent cap on charitable donations (that runs “runs directly counter” to the public support test); extend the loans beyond five years; lower the minimum loan size below $250,000; and accommodate different risk levels. In mid-July, I will be joining the Executive Directors of the state associations in the nine western states in a discussion with the CEO of the San Francisco Federal Reserve branch. If you have specific comments or ideas to be conveyed, please contact me at
Deadline for COVID-19 Recovery Survey extended to tomorrow, June 26 – let your voice be heard!
NAO in partnership with Portland State University’s Nonprofit Institute, Mercy Corps Northwest and Oregon Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (ORVOAD) are conducting a study to document the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 on charitable nonprofit organizations’ revenues, workforce, and ability to serve and meet community needs. We are collecting information to document the concerns of nonprofit leaders, as well as immediate and long-term needs for enabling your organization to resume operations and continue to provide services across Oregon.
Information from this survey will be used to provide critical and up-to-date information to government officials, foundations and other decision-makers in an effort to elevate nonprofits’ immediate and long-term needs for ensuring the ongoing provision of critical services in our State. All participants will receive a copy of the detailed report and our analysis of the data.
This survey is open to registered charitable benefit nonprofits under the 501(c)(3) designation in the tax code or organizations that would otherwise qualify for that charitable status, but have not yet filed. If you recently received an invitation to fill out this survey and did so, you have no need to fill out again. We do ask you to forward this link to other organizations you know that could add to the data.
The survey should take about 20-25 minutes and might require sharing with others in your organization. Please note that there is some essential demographic data that we require of your organization to help us compare your information to other organizations and draw conclusions on types, locations and subsectors of nonprofits. We know this takes time, so we thank you for investing your time in sharing your valuable input.
The survey will close tomorrow, June 26 at 5 p.m. PT. Help us to get your voice heard!
If you have questions concerning this research project, contact Jim White at 503-239-4001 or, Professor Grace Chikoto-Schultz at 503-725-5405 or, Paul Manson at
Upcoming Online Sessions for Nonprofits
Ask the Experts – The Resilient Nonprofit Leader: Navigating Change in Nonprofits, Tuesday, June 30, Noon – 1 p.m. PT:Vanessa Becker, Senior Principal Consultant with V Consulting & Associates Inc. will focus on how resilient leaders turn disruptive changes, conflicts or crises from disaster into a growth opportunity, both personally and organizationally. Academic frameworks for resilience and leadership will be reviewed and applied with real world resilient leadership experience. Participants will gain insight into how they can assess their own leadership styles, identify primary change stressors in their organizations, and leave with areas of focus to become more resilient and adaptable to change. Register for the session here.
Race to Lead Revisited, Tuesday, June 30, Noon – 1:30 p.m. PT: A conversation about the Building Movement Project’s recently released report: Race to Lead Revisited: Obstacles and Opportunities in Addressing the Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap featuring Frances Kunreuther (Co-Director, BMP), Sean Thomas-Breitfeld (Co-Director, BMP), Margaret Mitchell (President & CEO, YWCA Greater Cleveland), Kerrien Suarez (Executive Director, Equity in the Center), and Edgar Villanueva (Senior Vice President, Schott Foundation). The session will present three key findings: 1) The original Race to Lead report is still relevant three years later 2) There is white advantage in the nonprofit sector and 3) DEI efforts are widespread and their effectiveness is uncertain. Register for the session here.
How to Conduct an Internal Equity Audit: Tuesday, July 7, Noon to 1 p.m. PT: Alexis James, Consultant and Trainer, will provide a broad overview of what an equity audit is, how you can structure an equity audit process and apply an equity assessment tool. When you have collective support and buy-in across your organization to move forward, but lack the funds to hire staff or a consultant to facilitate and guide the process, this can be a useful tool to guide your work. Conducting an equity audit is an important step that nonprofits can take to move beyond holding conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion and into taking actionable steps to create systemic change. This session is intended for organizations that are ready for the next step in their diversity, equity, and inclusion work but unsure of how to proceed. Register for the session here.
Other Updates
Oregon Business’ 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon survey: 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. The survey must be completed by mid-July. Click here for survey information; to register for the survey, click here.
The Rapid Redesign Project – a two-part cohort on Monday, July 13, and July 23, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. PT: Steve Patty, Founder of Dialogues in Action, along with DIA colleagues Jessamyn Luiz and Landen Zernickow invite your organization to participate in a two-day facilitated cohort around redesigning your program strategy due to impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. This cohort will help you design solutions for the immediate challenges of your program; fix some of your chronic and pre-existing issues of your program; and grow the leadership for your program. Let’s reframe our thinking! Registration allows up to five staff members. To participate, fill out this registration form by Friday, July 3. Learn more.
Stay safe and healthy.
Jim White
Executive Director
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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