By Laura Walling, Senior Director of Government Affairs, Goodwill Industries International
Today is bittersweet. Pre-COVID 19, we were actively planning Goodwill® on the Hill. More than 100 Goodwill advocates from around the country would’ve been storming the Capitol today, meeting with hundreds of lawmakers and staff to educate them about our mission and public policy agenda. However, since the pandemic began, we have been bringing Goodwill to the Hill remotely via thousands of emails, phone calls and social media messages seeking #Relief4Charities. Today will be no different.
At the time of this writing, the House is expected to pass a bill that will provide more funding for disaster relief, including the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and the Paycheck Protection Program. While continued funding for these programs is important, many nonprofits, including local Goodwill organizations, have not been able to fully access these funding streams. We are concerned that the urgent needs of charitable nonprofit organizations are not being addressed.
Although many Goodwill donated goods retail stores have been temporarily closed, the vast majority have still been providing mission services via virtual platforms. Some have been able to transform their services and partner with others in the community to collect personal protective equipment, produce masks, and collect and deliver food and other critical supplies. Goodwill, along with the nonprofit sector, will play critical roles in the economic recovery following the pandemic.
With a workforce of 12.3 million, including hundreds of thousands of essential frontline responders, the nation’s nonprofits are mission-focused on making communities stronger. In the toughest times, we do the toughest work, and we are in dire need of support. Many charitable organizations are struggling to make ends meet due to declines in giving and the forced closures of other entities that contribute to their revenue streams.
A bipartisan effort is underway in Congress to seek relief for charitable nonprofits. In lieu of being able to physically visit Capitol Hill today, please take a moment to take action and contact Congress and ask that they support nonprofits during their time of need. We currently have two pre-written letters that you can send your local law-makers. The first is a timely letter to the House asking representatives to sign on to a letter to House leadership focusing on the needs of nonprofits like Goodwill. The second is a broad alert to the House and Senate with a request to include a nonprofit track in the next COVID-19 relief package.