By Laura Walling, Senior Director of Government Affairs, Goodwill Industries International
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic facing the country is having a profound impact on charitable organizations like Goodwill® to provide additional services in an unprecedented manner. Goodwill is more than a retail store; it is a crucial resource that provides workforce development programs to our community, and our services are needed now more than ever as many of our neighbors face significant financial hardships. Local Goodwill organizations are partnering with other nonprofits on the frontlines to deliver food, collect personal protective equipment, and even make masks. While mission services have continued on virtual platforms, the closing of the majority of our retail locations have led to a perilous loss in revenue.
While the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act offered several key relief programs that were modified to include nonprofit eligibility, implementation challenges have arisen with federal agencies and private entities that undermine congressional intent to provide economic relief for nonprofit organizations. Many nonprofits with more than 500 employees are excluded from the loan forgiveness program in the CARES Act.
We are grateful that Congress recognized that every dollar granted, donated or earned goes back into the community immediately to address clear and present challenges and provide a charitable giving incentive in the CARES Act, but the reality is that much more is needed to ensure that America’s nonprofits, large and small, survive this crisis and meet the rapidly growing demands across America.
As such, Goodwill Industries International has joined more than 200 nonprofits in a request that Congress include a nonprofit track in any future COVID-19 relief package. Specifically, we urge Congress to include the following clarifications and provisions:
- EXPAND NONPROFIT ACCESS TO CREDIT by designating funding exclusively for nonprofits within the two principal loan programs established in the CARES Act to ensure that the organizations dedicated to addressing immediate pandemic-related problems are included in relief efforts and not excluded or pushed to the back of the line.
- STRENGTHEN CHARITABLE GIVING INCENTIVES to encourage all Americans to help their communities through charitable donations during these challenging times.
- TREAT SELF-FUNDED NONPROFITS FAIRLY by increasing the federal unemployment insurance reimbursement for self-funded nonprofits to 100 percent of costs.
- INCREASE EMERGENCY FUNDING by appropriating funds for targeted state formula grants and programs that can provide a rapid infusion of cash to nonprofit organizations that are partnering with state and local governments to protect vulnerable families and frontline responders.