Leadership 18, an alliance of CEOs of leading U.S. nonprofits and faith-based organizations, together with the National Council of Nonprofits and other charities, has issued a letter to Congress requesting an infusion of $60 billion in emergency funding to enable the nonprofit sector to continue serving vulnerable communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"America's charities are frontline responders providing food, shelter, medical services, and other critical services to those in need in their communities," the letter states. "At this crucial time when the American people and governments will depend even more on charitable nonprofits, contributions are likely to decrease as happened following the 2008 recession. Without dramatic and immediate financial and programmatic backstop from government, America's charitable nonprofits and the people we serve face a precipitous decline in mission services at a time when our efforts are needed like never before by the most vulnerable in our communities."
Specific recommendations outlined in the letter, which was signed by twenty-one nonprofit leaders, include distributing emergency funding quickly through channels such as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and awarding emergency grants to nonprofits operating with contracts from federal, state, local, or other pass-through entities. The letter also urges Congress to provide nonprofit payroll tax credit relief and an "above-the-line" or universal charitable deduction for contributions through the end of 2021, and argues that any additional employment-focused relief or stimulus legislation be applied to tax-exempt organizations as well.
Leadership 18 members who signed the letter include the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Catholic Charities USA, City Year, Girl Scouts USA, Girls Inc., Goodwill Industries International, Habitat for Humanity International, Jewish Federations of North America, Lutheran Services in America, Mental Health America, National Council on Aging, Salvation Army, United Way Worldwide, Volunteers of America, YMCA of the USA, and YWCA USA.
Other signatories include the American Alliance of Museums, Americans for the Arts, American Library Association, Council for the Advancement of Education, Collective Liberty, Communities in Schools, Council on Foundations, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, Exponent Philanthropy, Independent Sector, InterAction, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, March of Dimes, Meals on Wheels America, MENTOR, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, National Health Council, National Human Services Assembly, National Kidney Foundation, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Network to End Domestic Violence, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Orthodox Union Advocacy Center, Prevent Child Abuse America, United Philanthropy Forum, and Year Up.
"The twelve million workers in America's charities are on the frontlines of the coronavirus response, and the financial impact of the crisis has put the very survival of many essential service providers at risk," said Steven C. Preston, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. "Charities are our society's shock absorber when crisis hits. Our workers provide essential immediate support such as food and shelter, are being called on to care for people whose lives have been disrupted by closures, job loss, and sickness, and we help people get back on their feet when it's time to recover."