As of Friday morning, more than 12,000 cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) have now been reported in the United States, with at least 195 deaths. As the virus continues to spread and the Trump Administration now planning for a pandemic that could last 18 months or longer, Americans across the country are taking an “all hands on deck” approach in order to deal with this crisis. Accordingly, the philanthropic sector is engaged in various ways as this pandemic unfolds. Here in Washington, D.C., the Forum and other national sector leaders have joined together to advocate on behalf of all nonprofits, as stimulus legislation is being drafted.
Over the past week, United Philanthropy Forum has joined other national nonprofit and philanthropy organizations in signing on to two letters sent to Capitol Hill on behalf of nonprofits, relating to proposed COVID-19 economic stimulus package legislation.
On March 12, 2020, the Forum signed on to a letter to Congressional offices outlining why nonprofits must be included in COVID-19 stimulus package legislation. This letter highlighted practical policy examples and solutions for Members of Congress to think about when drafting legislation. On March 14, 2020, the House voted 363-40 to pass H.R. 6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This bill ensures that nonprofits can use a tax credit to offer paid leave for their employees – one of the requests in the letter.
On March 18, 2020, the Forum signed on to a second letter that asks Congress to provide an infusion of $60 billion in capital to America’s charitable nonprofits to maintain operations, expand the scope to address increasing demands, and stabilize losses from closures throughout the country. Later that evening, the Senate voted 90-8 to pass the House bill and the president signed it into law. The final bill includes paid sick leave, food assistance for vulnerable populations and financial help for coronavirus testing.
Thursday, Senate leaders moved quickly to work on another stimulus package, with a focus on relief for small businesses. Senate Republicans drafted COVID-19 legislation that contains a temporary universal charitable deduction provision (for gifts up to $300). Also, the bill appears to suspend the 50% adjusted gross income limitation for individuals’ charitable contributions and makes some corporate changes as well. These provisions would be limited to the year 2020.
As Congress continues to work on additional legislation, we encourage you to post the second letter on your own websites and share it with your foundation members, as they reach out to their elected officials.
The Forum is grateful to the National Council of Nonprofits and the Charitable Giving Coalition for its leadership in drafting letters to the Hill. Developments pertaining to legislation are happening quickly, the Forum will continue to keep you updated on its progress.
For more information about philanthropy’s response to COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 resource page.
If you have any questions and/or concerns regarding this legislation and other public policy developments, please contact Matthew L. Evans, Director of Public Policy.