Charities seek $60B in stimulus funding due to coronavirus

A group of prominent charities is requesting that nonprofits receive $60 billion in emergency stimulus funding as part of the third coronavirus-related bill Congress is preparing to ensure organizations can continue to serve their communities during the outbreak.

In a letter being sent Wednesday to congressional offices, the nonprofits said that the pandemic has heightened the need for many charities to provide more services, but that organizations also face financial challenges because some programs have had to be closed and because nonprofits expect to see a drop in contributions, as was the case during the 2008 recession.

“Millions of jobs in America’s charitable sector are at risk unless a reliable source of cash can be provided to assure continued operations,” the charities wrote. “And in many cases the scope of operations will need to expand to accommodate increased demand for vital services.”

More than three dozen charities signed the letter, including the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity and United Way.

The letter comes as Congress and the White House are working on a third coronavirus response package, with this measure expected to focus on economic assistance.

The charities said that the $60 billion they’re requesting could be promptly distributed to organizations in a number of ways, including through an expansion of the Small Business Administration’s economic injury disaster loan program and emergency grants to nonprofits that receive grants from federal, state and local entities.

The nonprofits also said that employment-focused relief involving tax credits and deductions should make those incentives applicable to payroll taxes, which is the most significant tax charities pay. The groups praised the approach the House took on the stimulus bill it passed last week to provide a payroll tax credit to employers of a certain size, including charities, that provide paid family leave and sick time. They also encouraged Congress to provide payroll tax credits to charities of all sizes that provide paid family leave and sick time due to the coronavirus.

Additionally, to encourage donations, the charities asked Congress to create a universal charitable deduction through 2021 that taxpayers can claim even if they don’t itemize their deductions. The groups want people to be able to make donations now and be able to claim a tax benefit on their 2019 returns. Charities have been pushing for a permanent version of a universal charitable deduction for the past several years due to concerns that giving will be hurt by Trump’s 2017 tax-cut law.

The letter is the latest instance of a sector impacted by the coronavirus seeking help from Congress and the administration. Earlier this week, the airline industry asked Washington for $50 billion in assistance.


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