COVID-19: July 14 NAO Update

by | Jul 16, 2020 | Event

July 14, 2020
Hello Nonprofit Leaders and Supporters,
With warmer weather and brighter sunshine, I hope that your days are feeling lighter in spite of the current health and societal challenges we are facing. Please be sure to take care of your stress and moderate your work load as best you can. We are in this for the long haul and our communities need you – our nonprofit leaders – to be able to stay with them through the weeks and months ahead. They need you building a more just and equitable world for all of us.
Our ability as individuals and organizations to hold true to creating a more just and equitable nation will live or die by trust in civil society. While we intuitively know that trust building is vital, we don’t always have the information necessary to know where we stand or what we need to change.
Independent Sector recently released a survey report on trust in civil society. In many ways, the findings are not surprising. They reinforce what we’ve known about the ways trust drives activities like volunteering, giving, and civic engagement. The data shows that nonprofits are more trusted than philanthropy and that the more closely aligned with mission and impact, the more likely people trust those organizations.
NAO is partnering with the National Indian Child Welfare Association to hold a conversation next week  with Dan Cardinali, President and CEO of Independent Sector.
Sarah Kastelic, ED of NICWA and I will join Dan to delve into the information and have an honest conversation about where nonprofits still need to do work to keep trust at the center. In a moderated discussion with the audience, Dan seeks to engage and hear what Oregonians are thinking, what we are doing to create opportunities for courageous conversations in our own communities and how we are listening, understanding and recognizing that differences make us stronger. I hope you will join us for this webcast conversation!
In Oregon
Yesterday, Governor Brown expanded restrictions on gatherings due to COVID-19. She announced new measures aimed at slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus without explicitly reversing phasing measures already set in place.
Effective July 15, Oregonians are required to wear masks outdoors when they cannot maintain six feet of distance from others. Private indoor gatherings are restricted to no more than 10 people. (The new rules do not apply to businesses and churches.)
The move came on a day when the Oregon Health Authority announced 280 new cases of COVID-19—of which 82 are in Multnomah County—and three new deaths. Those figures bring the state’s total cases to 12,438, with 237 deaths stemming from the pandemic. The weekend saw record-breaking new caseloads totaling more than 700 in two days.
You can find the complete details on Oregon’s reopening strategy and information on how and when your nonprofit can re-open here. Please, please be sure to consider if your nonprofit can maintain work-from-home protocols for longer as a public service to continue to keep cases low. Consider which staff are essential and be sure to plan for hygiene and safety measures in your workplace. For resources on how to be safe, please visit our COVID-19 resources page.
The Oregon Legislature E-Board meets
The Executive Board of the Oregon Legislature will meet today (Tuesday). While attempts have been made to bring specific items of concerns by nonprofits, they are not responding to specific requests for funding for non-profit programs, although some of their actions (such as a Oregon Cares Fund for Black Relief and Resiliency and the $500 interim payment to all of those who have not yet received unemployment) are positive developments.
Here is their agenda:
  1. Oregon Business Development Department and Department of Administrative Services – COVID-19 Emergency Business Assistance
  2. Oregon Business Development Department and Department of Administrative Services – Statewide Business and Cultural Support
  3. Department of Administrative Services – Oregon Cares Fund for Black Relief and Resiliency
  4. Department of Consumer and Business Services and Department of Administrative Services – COVID-19 Leave Fund for Quarantined Workers
  5. Department of Administrative Services – Emergency Relief Checks
  6. Secretary of State – Election Security
  7. Oregon Business Development Department – Warm Springs Emergency Water Infrastructure
There will be no public testimony heard at the meeting.
At the Federal level
Announcing the Nonprofit #Relief4Charities Week of Action
This week nonprofits throughout the country are mobilizing to urge Congress to pass urgent nonprofit policy proposals in the next round of COVID-19 relief legislation. The #Relief4Charities Week of Action is designed to make lawmakers and staff learn about and take action on each of the four broad issues of sector-wide importance identified in in the new Nonprofit Community Letter delivered today to every House and Senate office. That is more than 2,500 staffers/email addresses on Capitol Hill! The letter has 395 national nonprofits and about 3,900 nonprofit signers total.
Each day of this Week of Action is dedicated to a specific issue. Our two Senators, our Representatives, and their staff members in D.C. and in offices in the state also need to hear from us – their constituents – about how each issue affects your ability to serve your community.
 Issues of the Day
  • Tuesday, July 14 – Charitable Giving Incentives
  • Wednesday, July 15 – Unemployment and Self-Insured Nonprofits
  • Thursday, July 16 – Economic Support and Emergency Funding for Nonprofits
Our elected officials need a high volume of messages to break through the noise of everything else. All nonprofits are encouraged to email and tweet the messages of the day. Share this plan and the messages of the day with your colleagues, board members, and others to make sure Congress does not leave out nonprofits.
Congress Passes Partial UI Fix for Self-Insured Nonprofits
Last week the Senate and House unanimously passed legislation clarifying that self-insured nonprofits do not have to pay 100 percent of their unemployment bill upfront and wait for repayment from the state. The Protecting Nonprofits from Catastrophic Cash Flow Strain Act (S.4209) fixes problematic guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor requiring nonprofits to fully reimburse states for the costs of their COVID-19 related unemployment insurance (UI) claims and then seek to be repaid half of the money they just paid.
There is still no word about when the President will sign the bill. Our national colleagues have heard back from White House staff that they are aware of the bill but were not sure yesterday whether the enrolled bill had been sent over yet. Recognizing that 37 states are sending out UI bills to self-insured nonprofits, there is a big push to get the bill signed and get the word out that nonprofits do not have to pay 100 percent of unemployment benefits upfront.
Once the President signs the bill into law, which is expected, reimbursing nonprofits will be charged no more than 50 percent for their COVID-19 related UI claims due to a provision in the CARES Act.
In a statement thanking congressional leaders for swift passage of this bipartisan, common-sense bill, the National Council of Nonprofits also made clear that the bill is only a partial fix to the challenges that self-insuring charitable nonprofits are facing. “There is also still much work to do to ensure that charitable nonprofits – our nation’s third largest employer – can keep their employees on the payroll and can continue serving communities across the country,” the statement reads. The concern is that nonprofits still must come up with the funds to pay half the costs of these benefits. Nonprofits that already had to reduce staffs will be forced to lay off even more employees just to have the resources to pay unemployment compensation bills to their states. That is, unless Congress takes action. The Council of Nonprofits statement concludes, “There is broad bipartisan support in Congress for many policies that would enable nonprofit and faith-based organizations to continue doing their vital work at this time when they are needed most.” Charitable nonprofits will focus Congress’s attention on the bipartisan solution to this issue on Wednesday, July 15, as part of the #Relief4Charities Week of Action.
The Negotiations Over What Goes into the Stimulus Bill
The rhetoric in Congress has moved from whether there will be another economic stimulus bill to what will be includedin the package lawmakers hope to pass by August. Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) is no longer calling for a wait-and-see approach and is now saying he’s ready to negotiate major legislation to provide targeted relief. He has stated repeatedly that his “must have” is liability protections, something workers’ rights groups are forcefully opposing. Senate Republicans appear to have softened their previously stated stance against new funds going to state and local governments, but Treasury Secretary Mnuchin this past week repeated the Administration’s refusal to “bail out” Democratic-led states that he claims were poorly run prior to the pandemic.
 A major question is how much lawmakers are willing to spend in this next, and likely, last major bill before the November elections. Senate Republicans and the White House have called for a bill costing $1 trillion or less; the House-passed HEROES Act would spend $3 trillion in relief. Democrats in the House have made clear their support for sizable aid to state and local governments, an additional round of checks to low- and moderate-income taxpayers, and extension of expanded unemployment compensation past the July 31 expiration in the CARES Act. The amounts of dollars to governments and to taxpayers are negotiable items based on how much lawmakers are willing to spend. The unemployment issue, while based on dollars, also touches a policy/partisan nerve – the $600/week supplemental payment is an area of deep contention between Democrats and Republicans. Most observers expect the debates on liability protections and unemployment to be the most heated and the last items resolved. If resolved – and only if – then progress on the nonprofit-specific issues can be addressed.
PPP Loan Disclosure: Last week, the SBA and Treasury Announced Release of Paycheck Protection Program Loan Dataidentifying the names and loan amounts of organizations receiving loans of $150,000 or more. One document, Paycheck Protection Program approved lending through June 30, 2020, identifies more than 130,000 loans to religious, civic, social, and other nonprofits for a total of $13.5 billion. While it has been reported that the data contain many errors, the released information suggests that nonprofits received 2.7 percent of loans, 2.4 percent of dollars loaned, and represent 3.2 percent of all jobs saved. Some nonprofits have expressed concerns about the disclosures, but many are very happy to have the disclosures saying the PPP loans “served as a lifeline.” The PPP allowed many of us to retain staff and maintain operations as we provide vital services on the frontlines during the pandemic and assist in future recovery efforts.
WORK NOW Act Update: Last week, Representative Sanchez (D-CA) introduced the Work Opportunities and Resources to Keep Nonprofit Organizations Well Act (WORK NOW Act), H.R. 7495. The bill seeks to inject $50 billion into frontline nonprofits over the next six months to generate employment for laid off workers and to address the skyrocketing needs in communities for COVID-19 relief and recovery. The grants program would help nonprofit organizations whose workers serve public needs that are growing due to the current crisis retain their employees, scale their service delivery, and hire more workers to meet these essential needs. An identical bill (S.3747) was introduced in the Senate in May. This bill, and other ways for Congress to provide economic support and emergency funding for nonprofits, will be discussed during the #Relief4Charities Week of Action on Thursday, July 16.
The Politics of Charitable Giving: This month, the Treasury Department and Secretary Mnuchin hailed recent data on 2019 charitable giving as evidence that the Administration’s policies are spreading prosperity across the charitable nonprofit community. They argue that giving reached a near-record level and surpassed 2018 giving. The reality, however, is that giving, when adjusted for inflation, has neither caught up to 2017 giving levels nor shown the surge promised by supporters of the 2017 tax law, as Politico recently reported. Parsing the data, Una Osili with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy finds that dollars may be up compared to 2018, but donors are down. “It’s wealthier and higher-income households that are giving more and participating more,” she observed in a recent MarketWatch article.
Tracking COVID-19 Paid Leave: In March, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that mandated emergency sick and family leave related to COVID-19. The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service have now provided guidance to employers requiring them to report on Form W-2 the amount of qualified sick and family leave wages paid to employees under the Families First Act. The IRS has provided additional information on tax credits for nonprofits and businesses that offer emergency paid sick leave and emergency family and medical leave to their employees.
Upcoming Online Sessions for Nonprofits
Understanding Trust in Civil Society – A Conversation with Dan Cardinali, President and CEO – Independent Sector, Tuesday, July 21, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. PT: Our ability as individuals and organizations to hold true to creating a more just and equitable nation will live or die by trust in civil society. While we intuitively know that trust building is vital, we don’t always have the information necessary to know where we stand or what we need to change. Independent Sector recently released a survey report on trust in civil society. The data shows that nonprofits are more trusted than philanthropy and that the more closely aligned with mission and impact, the more likely people trust those organizations. Join Dan Cardinali, President and CEO of Independent Sector and co-moderators Sarah Kastilec, Executive Director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association/Board Member of Independent Sector and Jim White, Executive Director of NAO in a frank conversation on the key findings and themes of this trust in civil society report. Please note: this is a 90-minute session. Register for the session here.
Your Grants Success Path – 10 Steps to Get You Where You Want to Go, Wednesday, July 22, 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. PT: Wherever you are right now, this live online masterclass is for you! Join Maryn Boess for this fast-paced, high flyover of GrantsMagic U’s unique Grants Success Path – the powerful 10-step roadmap that cuts through the confusion to lead you reliably through the bewildering “grants wilderness” to your next level of grants success. Then stick around for Q&A … plus exciting news about how GrantsMagic U can help you make sense of the grants wilderness and help you navigate it with skill and confidence. Register for the session here.
Help Employees Repair and Reset Their Retirement Plan, Thursday, July 30, 10 – 11 a.m. PT: Nonstop Wellness, an NAO member benefit partner, is hosting a webinar building a foundation of general financial health, helping employees to stay the course, retirement savings in the midst of a pandemic, and meeting employees where they are in their financial life. Register for the session here.
Mark Your Calendar! The Ultimate Grant Proposal Blueprint Course: Your Step-by-Step Roadmap and Built-It-Yourself Toolkit for Crafting an A+ Grant Proposal, an eight-week online course scheduled from August 24-October 26: In this comprehensive, on-your-own-schedule video-based, course from GrantsMagic U, veteran grant writer, grant consultant, and grantmaker Maryn Boess pulls back the curtain on what it really takes to be successful in the grants world. She will share hundreds of tried-and-tested tools, strategies, how-to’s and “insider’s tips” to take you to your next level of grants success no matter where you’re starting out. Registration for the course begins July 22. More details here.
Other Updates
Funding opportunity – Portland General Electric Drive Change Fund applications are being accepted now through September 1: The PGE Drive Change Fund supports projects that benefit residential customers in PGE’s service territories. PGE will award $2.25 million in grants to local organizations spearheading projects that increase access to electric transportation. The goal is to help electrify transportation in Oregon since that is the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in our state. Grant recipients will be announced by December 31, 2020. This is an open and competitive application process. More information can be found here.
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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