As justice and equity demonstrations calling for police reforms and an end to systemic racism continue across the state and the country, we continue to see Black-led nonprofits leading and demanding change. We want to be sure that you all are able to hear directly from them the pain, concern, hopes and dreams for a better future for their voices. With that in mind, we are reprinting with permission a letter by Kendall Clawson, my counterpart at Grantmakers of Oregon and Southwest Washington.
LISTEN, LEARN & ACT
The past ten days have been pretty challenging for me. The blatant murder of another Black man, this time in broad daylight…and right in front of our faces, still sits in my mind. The video told the story in real time. The sounds of George Floyd’s voice as he cried out for humanity from the officer who pressed his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck. The officer of the law, confident and comfortable, his hands in his pockets, and his eyes fixated on the cameras that showed his shamelessness to the world. My heart pounded as I listened to George Floyd as he pleaded with the four officers who pinned his body to the ground, “I can’t breathe…I can’t breathe.” He called out to his long-passed mother, “Mama…mama…”. And he begged, “Please don’t kill me.” Then his breath left his body, and the stillness of his death was the only sound that I could hear over the shouts of witnesses. “You just killed that man…you just killed him”. And then I felt empty with a sense of hurt that I have yet to define. I just know that it feels terrible.
After days of protests and witnessing more violence against those who simply want to be heard, I woke up at 4 am on Monday, still disturbed and infuriated as our work week began. I knew that we had a plan in place for what we would share with you as a community this week, but I felt that the circumstances called for us to shift from a conversation about Oregon’s future to a reflection about what is happening right now.
I have personally received notes from many of you, each offering concern for me as a Black person in this world, your sorrow for another Black life lost, and your acknowledgement that what we are experiencing as a collective is not what we should want for one another. These touches also encouraged me to reflect on several things that I need to say out loud. I appreciate knowing that people are thinking about me and other Black people in their lives right now. If nothing else, we are aware that our friends and colleagues recognize the challenges that are attached to Black lives. But I have also thought a lot about what happens next…when the smoke clears, and the protestors go home to their everyday lives.
The irony of this fight is dizzying. How can we ignore the fact that those most affected by the pandemic are forced to fight injustice…all while putting themselves at further risk from both the pandemic that highlights the very injustice they’re fighting? The conflict of just “being” in this world as Black people is compounded by centuries-old layers of a sickening narrative, and still, we show up, and we fight for our right to just be.
But we also need to force ourselves to think beyond both crises and work to understand how so much of this is rooted in the very systems that create the need that philanthropy funds in the first place. That is why this confluence of crises is so important. Yes, it is about what we are feeling and experiencing right now. And it is about what we choose to do about this from now on.
I have learned after 32 years in the nonprofit sector that the most long-lasting actions come from when we work to understand the experiences of people who are most impacted by an issue. Understanding leads to commitment and commitment leads to change. It was with this in mind that my team and I made the shift in this week’s newsletter.
In order to help us deepen our understanding of this situation, we are inviting the GOSW membership to do one of the most important things that we can all do right now: Listen to Black People. Six powerful members of our philanthropic community will share their experiences with our membership as Black people and Black leaders. It is important that we remain focused on how we give voice to those who are most affected by this situation so that we can gain a better understanding of one another across differences. And we are fortunate to have some incredible Black people in our lives who are facing forward in their leadership while they carry the weight of this pain. This is their moment to speak and it is our moment to listen.
You will also find some suggestions for actions that you can take to move beyond the sadness and use your resources and leverage your power to catalyze change. We invite you to Listen, Learn, and Act because we need you, philanthropy. We need you more than ever.
Thank you to Michelle DePass, Karis Stoudamire-Phillips, Toya Fick, Karol Collymore, Chabre Vickers, and Kimberly Wilson for the strength of your voices and for your bravery in this world.
— Kendall Clawson
Related articles (via GOSW’s News from the Community):
The Oregon Health Authority is inviting Community Based Organizations throughout the State of Oregon to apply for funding opportunities. CBOs are central to the success of this work to integrate methods, tactics and strategies that are most responsive to the needs of people of color, people with disabilities, immigrant and refugee communities, Tribes, Migrant and Seasonal Farm Workers and LGBTQIA+ communities. More information here.
We’re excited that NAO was highlighted on MetroEast Community Media’s Community Hotline @Home this week. Watch this 13-minute interview with Lilisa Hall, NAO’s Director of Membership, Communications and Advancement where she discusses NAO’s work, especially during the COVID-19 crisis, and the importance of supporting local nonprofits in Oregon. Thank you to Host Monica Weitzel and MetroEast Community Media, a charitable nonprofit themselves and an NAO member, doing great work in our community!
COVID-19 Updates in Oregon
After dropping to the lowest single-day new case rate since the beginning of the pandemic, the COVID-19 daily case rate has spiked to its highest level yet, with more than 94 new cases reported two days ago. Most of the new cases are associated with several food processing facilities. The OHA has not made any statement on the cause of the spike and whether it is directly linked to the reopening and entry into Phase I of all counties except Multnomah County. As Oregon’s most populous county, Multnomah County has yet to be granted approval by the state to enter into Phase I, which is targeted for June 12.
Nonprofits that are open or opening should follow OHA guidance on proper distancing, cleaning protocols and be sure all staff understands the importance of not coming to work and instead calling a doctor if they feel sick. Tools and checklists on how to reopen safely can be found on our COVID-19 Resources Page.
In our last alert, we stated that the Oregon legislative Executive Board did not allocate additional funding for the Oregon Workers Relief Fund, a fund to support immigrant workers that lack documentation who have lost their jobs. That was incorrect information we got from a news source. In fact, when we checked with Legislators, the E-Board approved an additional $10 million for the OWRF, bringing the total allocated by the state to $20 million.
At the Federal level
Paycheck Protection Program
The Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee hearing today on Implementation of Title I of the CARES Act featured Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Small Business Administrator Carranza trying to take a victory lap on the success of the program while promising to address a number of concerns raised by Senators. Senators Cardin (D-MD) and Shaheen (D-NH) chastised the Administration for withholding data that we’ve all been seeking. Perhaps the only “breaking news” was Mnuchin’s acknowledgement that more relief is needed. He said, “I definitely think we are going to need another bipartisan legislation to put more money into the economy.” He was thinking about targeting relief for for-profit businesses struggling to reopen, but it’s encouraging that the Administration’s lead negotiator is acknowledging the need for a CARES 2.0 bill, perhaps in July.
During the hearing, Senators Ernst (R-IA) and Hawley (R-MO) asked specific questions about Planned Parenthood’s receipt of PPP loans. Administrator Carranza refused to discuss the details of active investigations, but she noted that all affiliations (nonprofits that may have links through an affiliate or federate structure) are under review. Many national nonprofits are appropriately concerned that they will be swept up in this review based on the “affiliation” rule in Section 1102 of the CARES Act. In his closing remarks Sen. Cardin said nonprofits shouldn’t be treated differently from each other based on an ideological view of politicians.
Separately, Senators Cardin, Shaheen, and Coons (D-DE) announced their intention to introduce the Prioritized Paycheck Protection Program (P4) Act. The bill would authorize a second installment of lending under the PPP to small businesses with 100 employees or less. Eligible businesses would have to have already expended an initial PPP loan, or be on pace to exhaust the funding, and must demonstrate a revenue loss of 50 percent or more due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We presume, but can’t confirm, that the bill will make charitable nonprofits eligible.
Fixing Unemployment Insurance
The Senate Finance Committee hearing on Unemployment Insurance During COVID-19 did not see any progress on the issues that NAO and others have raised. Nonprofits have been mentioned rarely and the issue of reimbursing employers not at all. Republican Senators have spent much of their time objecting to the $600/week extra payments unemployed are receiving. Democratic Senators have explained how it got into the CARES Act and why it should remain until the economy recovers. Our partner, the National Council of Nonprofits submitted the statement for the record and a preliminary analysis for the record. They are working on the full analysis of the UI survey responses from all states and we will publish them within a week. I encourage you to check out the Oregon responses to the survey which were included in the letter and represented on the Committee.
Fascinating PPP/UI Question: A colleague asked this question of an SBA official on a virtual town hall today: “Can a reimbursing (self-insured) employer under a state unemployment system use PPP loan proceeds to pay the state for costs of benefits paid to laid-off or furloughed employees? And would those expenses be forgivable as eligible payroll costs?” The response was, “Huh, that’s a new one.” He gave a hesitant “probably,” but then said the golden rule of the PPP program is “talk to your lender.” We are going to ask some lenders and report back to you on what they say. Please share any answers with us that you may already have received in this regard.
Funding Relief for the States
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) shared its analysis with Speaker Pelosi yesterday that increased federal funding for state and local governments would have a greater impact on the economy than business tax provisions and refundable tax credits. The reason is that more aid equals fewer tax hikes and fewer spending cuts in the states. The biggest impact would come from increased federal spending on Medicare, CBO projects.
Above-the-Line Charitable Deduction
The Lankford/Coons bill that would expand and extend the above-the-line deduction has been delayed in introduction. The bill was previously scheduled for introduction this week, but is now not likely to be introduced until next week. Two possible reasons for the delay are that the Senators are working to get sign-off from all six of the sponsors (Lankford (R-OK), Coons (D-DE), Klobuchar (D-MN), Lee (R-UT), Scott (R-SC), Shaheen (D-NH)), and that Senator Scott is busy putting together the Senate Republican version of a police reform bill. It is still unclear whether the charitable deduction bill will be limited to the substance of the incentive – an above-the-line deduction of up to one-third of the standard deduction – or if anti-fraud language will be included. We’ll let you know as soon as we know. Both Senators Wyden and Merkley have voiced support for expanding the above-the-line deduction for charitable giving.
Upcoming Online Sessions for Nonprofits
Leading Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts during a Crisis, Thursday, June 18, 11 a.m. – Noon PT: Alexis James, Consultant and Trainer will lead us through this session. With everything that’s happening in our world today, you may be wondering how you can lead systemic change and keep your diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts moving forward effectively. How do you move with the urgency required, and thoughtfully and strategically at the same time? In this 1-hour session, we will connect with other professionals committed to equity and inclusion. By sharing our hopes and fears, we will lay the groundwork to double-down on our values and commitment to equity. 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.
Essential Unemployment Insights for Nonprofits, Thursday, June 25, 10 – 11 a.m. PT: Nonstop Wellness, an NAO partner, is hosting this session. Laura Achee, Enrollment Manager at UST and Elizabeth Hodges, Benefits Advisor at Nonstop will discuss the COVID-19 impact on unemployment benefits for nonprofits, share resources for employers, and will help answer your questions. Register for the session here.
Ask the Experts: Characteristics of Resilient Leadership, 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. 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.
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.