Nonprofit Leaders Call for COVID-19 Relief Deal

Nonprofits must be a key part of any national relief and recovery effort from the immense impacts of COVID-19. The following is the text of a letter to our Congressional leaders from the leaders of 38 national nonprofit organizations dated September 24, 2020:

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy, and Leader Schumer:

Employers of all kinds across the country are struggling to survive as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on our society and the economy. No industry is immune, not even nonprofits. Before the pandemic, nonprofits collectively employed 12.3 million Americans — more than construction, more than manufacturing. But, like other industries, we remain at risk of closures and massive layoffs if a deal for additional relief does not come together imminently. Congress and the Administration must return to the negotiating table today and stay in Washington until a relief package is enacted that addresses the needs of the nonprofit sector. Our organizations, our employees, and, most importantly, the people we serve in our communities can’t wait until after the election.

As other industries forecast thousands of job losses in the coming weeks, charitable nonprofits have already lost more than 1 million jobs. And more job losses are on the way as the funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans run out, unemployment bills come due, emergency federal funding streams have not been replenished, and charitable giving continues to decline. Larger nonprofits, completely shut out of the job- saving programs contained in the CARES Act, are similarly running out of time and money.

The nonprofit sector is the backbone of many of our communities. Nonprofit health and human services providers are on the front lines, directly serving people impacted by COVID-19. Cultural institutions are providing online educational programs for children, teachers, and families. You have seen the work of many other charitable organizations in recent weeks, helping with food and housing insecurity as job losses and evictions mount. Demand for these services has skyrocketed as donations have plummeted, and nonprofits look to a future of additional cuts on their grants and contracts with government agencies at all levels.

The situation is dire. A recent survey of nonprofits in South Carolina found that 29 percent expect to close their doors before the end of the year absent further relief.

Other industries depend on nonprofits as well. Without the many charitable nonprofits providing childcare, many more parents wouldn’t have the ability to work, and businesses of all types need their workforces available to get our economy back on track. Restaurants and other small businesses rely on nonprofit performing arts organizations, museums, and zoos that bring people out into the community. Without a healthy and thriving nonprofit sector, the business of our nation cannot recover.

More than 4,000 nonprofits from every state and representing missions of all types sent a letter to leaders of both parties calling for specific relief pertaining to unemployment reimbursement, PPP expansion, support for midsize organizations, and charitable giving expansion. Those solutions, which will save thousands of jobs, are readily available and have strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

The CARES Act was tremendously helpful, but it wasn’t designed to last this long, and it did not provide relief for all nonprofits. Further relief is needed now. Come back to the negotiating table now and do not leave until a deal is reached. Our organizations can’t wait. Our communities can’t wait. The American people can’t wait.


Christine Anagnos, Executive Director, Association of Art Museum Directors Jim Balfanz, CEO, City Year, Inc.
Judith Batty, Interim CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA
Dave Biemesderfer, President & CEO, United Philanthropy Forum
Andrew J. Bowman, President and CEO, Land Trust Alliance Nancy Brown, CEO, American Heart Association
Daniel J. Cardinali, President and CEO, Independent Sector Alejandra Y. Castillo, CEO, YWCA USA
Jim Clark, President and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Tim Delaney, President and CEO, National Council of Nonprofits
Susan Dreyfus, President and CEO, Alliance for Strong Families and Communities
Kathleen Enright, President and CEO, Council on Foundations
Eric D. Fingerhut, President and CEO, The Jewish Federations of North America
Amy Fitterer, Executive Director, Dance/USA
Brian Gallagher, President and CEO, United Way Worldwide
Paul Gionfriddo, Mental Health America
Charlotte Haberaecker, President and CEO, Lutheran Services in America
Denise L. Harlow, CEO, National Community Action Partnership
Rabbi Moshe Hauer, Executive Vice President, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America Ellie Hollander, President and CEO, Meals on Wheels America
Stephanie J. Hull, Ph.D., President and CEO, Girls Inc.
Mike King, President and CEO, Volunteers of America
Laura L. Lott, President and CEO, American Alliance of Museums
Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO, Americans for the Arts
Sister Donna Markham OP, PhD, ABPP, President & CEO, Catholic Charities USA
Steven C. Preston, President and CEO, Goodwill Industries International
Adam Putnam, CEO, Ducks Unlimited
Jonathan T.M. Reckford, CEO, Habitat for Humanity International
Gary M. Reedy, CEO, American Cancer Society
Kevin M. Ryan, President and CEO, Covenant House International
Rey Saldańa, President and CEO, Communities In Schools
Susan Tomlinson Schmidt, President, Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Marc Scorca, President/CEO, OPERA America
Stacey D. Stewart, President and CEO, March of Dimes
Jeff Todd, President and CEO, Prevent Blindness
Kevin Washington, President and CEO, YMCA of the USA
Bett Williams, President, Association of Junior Leagues International Inc. Simon Woods, President and CEO, League of American Orchestras