Merkley, Wyden, Colleagues Call For More Funding For Social Service Nonprofits In Upcoming Coronavirus Relief Legislation

Merkley, Wyden, Colleagues Call For More Funding For Social Service Nonprofits In Upcoming Coronavirus Relief Legislation

Nonprofits continue to feed vulnerable communities, provide housing and medical assistance amid pandemic

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, along with 25 of their colleagues, are urging Senate leadership to include additional emergency funding for nonprofit organizations in the next COVID-19 relief bill. Nonprofits are an essential part of the frontline coronavirus pandemic response, providing important social services such as food assistance, shelter for those experiencing homelessness, child care and education programs, and care for victims of domestic and sexual violence. 

“During this public health crisis, communities nationwide are relying on nonprofit services to survive,” the senators wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “As we draft legislation both to mitigate and recover from this pandemic, we must give nonprofits the support they need to lead their communities out of this crisis.”

While demand for nonprofit services is increasing, these organizations are facing significant economic hardship. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided $350 billion in partially forgivable loans to small businesses and non-profits—but this funding is rapidly diminishing and requires new federal investment.

In addition to Senators Merkley and Wyden, the letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV).

The letter was also endorsed by 53 organizations, including the National Council of Nonprofits, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Meals on Wheels, YWCA USA, YMCA of the USA, and National Health Council. For a full list, click here.

The full text of the letter is available here and below.

 

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Dear Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Chairman Shelby, and Vice Chairman Leahy:

As you work on the next legislative package to address the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we strongly encourage you to ensure that nonprofits are protected by including additional emergency funding.  Nonprofits provide essential social services for many Americans, including food, shelter, and medical services.  During this public health crisis, communities nationwide are relying on nonprofit services to survive—more and more each day.  At the same time as this increased demand, nonprofits are facing significant economic hardship.

Providing the nonprofit sector increased emergency funding for targeted state formula grants and programs will ensure that national and local organizations can maintain a continuity of services.  These funds must be distributed quickly through multiple existing funding streams, including emergency grants to nonprofits operating under existing federal grants, as well as through sub-grantees for state or local governments, or other pass-through entities.

For example:

  • An additional $55 million for the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act programs and $100 million for the Sexual Assault Services Program, which will help service providers to prevent and respond to sexual assault and family and domestic violence, including shelter and supportive services for those who need it;
  • An additional $50 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant will assist child care providers, as well as child care resource and referral agencies, as they provide emergency child care for first responders and essential workers, ensuring that these providers are able to remain open and that the child care system remains functioning for families to get back to work and school as we recover from this crisis;
  • An additional $500 million for the 21st Century Community Learning Center program will allow afterschool and summer learning programs to provide services to keep children on track academically through this school year and the summer, and even into the next school year;
  • Additional funding for the Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant and the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program as well as other public health programs;
  • Additional funding for the Older Americans Act and Administration for Community Living programs that provide in-home assistance, legal services, language assistance, nutrition services, and other vital services and supports older adults and people with disabilities need to stay healthy at home and to prevent negative impacts of prolonged social isolation;
  • An additional $100 million to expand the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration programs for national out-of-school time organizations to help support essential-skills development, career exposure, employability & certification and work-based learning; and
  • An additional $4.1 billion for the Social Services Block Grant, with a 5 percent set-aside for tribes, to support critical social services for vulnerable populations, including those at risk of family violence and abuse, children and youth in foster care, older adults struggling with hunger, and other supports.

These are a few of the existing funding streams that the next coronavirus package should support with an increase in appropriations to meet an immediate need.  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act was a positive first step to aid the nonprofit sector.  The nonprofit community will continue to play an essential role in coronavirus response, and we need them to scale up and meet an increase in demand.  A rapid infusion of funds to nonprofit organizations that are partnering with state and local governments will help frontline responders and vulnerable families.

As we draft legislation both to mitigate and recover from this pandemic, we must give nonprofits the support they need to lead their communities out of this crisis.  Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,