Nonprofit Leaders Call for COVID-19 Relief Deal to Avert Further Job Losses and Economic Damage

September 24, 2020

Employers of all kinds across the country are struggling to survive as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on our society and the economy. No industry is immune, not even nonprofits. Before the pandemic, nonprofits collectively employed 12.3 million Americans — more than construction, more than manufacturing. But, like other industries, we remain at risk of closures and massive layoffs if a deal for additional relief does not come together imminently. Congress and the Administration must return to the negotiating table today and stay in Washington until a relief package is enacted that addresses the needs of the nonprofit sector. Our organizations, our employees, and, most importantly, the people we serve in our communities can’t wait until after the election.

As other industries forecast thousands of job losses in the coming weeks, charitable nonprofits have already lost more than 1 million jobs. And more job losses are on the way as the funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans run out, unemployment bills come due, emergency federal funding streams have not been replenished, and charitable giving continues to decline. Larger nonprofits, completely shut out of the job-saving programs contained in the CARES Act, are similarly running out of time and money.

The nonprofit sector is the backbone of many of our communities. Nonprofit health and human services providers are on the front lines, directly serving people impacted by COVID-19. Cultural institutions are providing online educational programs for children, teachers, and families. You have seen the work of many other charitable organizations in recent weeks, helping with food and housing insecurity as job losses and evictions mount. Demand for these services has skyrocketed as donations have plummeted, and nonprofits look to a future of additional cuts on their grants and contracts with government agencies at all levels. The situation is dire.

A recent survey of nonprofits in South Carolina found that 29 percent expect to close their doors before the end of the year absent further relief.

Other industries depend on nonprofits as well. Without the many charitable nonprofits providing childcare, many more parents wouldn’t have the ability to work, and businesses of all types need their workforces available to get our economy back on track. Restaurants and other small businesses rely on nonprofit performing arts organizations, museums, and zoos that bring people out into the community. Without a healthy and thriving nonprofit sector, the business of our nation cannot recover.

More than 4,000 nonprofits from every state and representing missions of all types sent a letter to leaders of both parties calling for specific relief pertaining to unemployment reimbursement, PPP expansion, support for midsize organizations, and charitable giving expansion. Those solutions, which will save thousands of jobs, are readily available and have strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

The CARES Act was tremendously helpful, but it wasn’t designed to last this long, and it did not provide relief for all nonprofits. Further relief is needed now. Come back to the negotiating table now and do not leave until a deal is reached. Our organizations can’t wait. Our communities can’t wait. The American people can’t wait.


Christine Anagnos, Executive Director, Association of Art Museum Directors

Jim Balfanz, CEO, City Year, Inc. Judith Batty, Interim CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA

Dave Biemesderfer, President & CEO, United Philanthropy Forum

Andrew J. Bowman, President and CEO, Land Trust Alliance

Nancy Brown, CEO, American Heart Association

Daniel J. Cardinali, President and CEO, Independent Sector

Alejandra Y. Castillo, CEO, YWCA USA

Jim Clark, President and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Tim Delaney, President and CEO, National Council of Nonprofits

Susan Dreyfus, President and CEO, Alliance for Strong Families and Communities

Kathleen Enright, President and CEO, Council on Foundations

Eric D. Fingerhut, President and CEO, The Jewish Federations of North America

Amy Fitterer, Executive Director, Dance/USA

Brian Gallagher, President and CEO, United Way Worldwide

Paul Gionfriddo, Mental Health America

Charlotte Haberaecker, President and CEO, Lutheran Services in America

Denise L. Harlow, CEO, National Community Action Partnership

Rabbi Moshe Hauer, Executive Vice President, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America

Ellie Hollander, President and CEO, Meals on Wheels America

Stephanie J. Hull, Ph.D., President and CEO, Girls Inc.

Mike King, President and CEO, Volunteers of America

Laura L. Lott, President and CEO, American Alliance of Museums

Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO, Americans for the Arts

Sister Donna Markham OP, PhD, ABPP, President & CEO, Catholic Charities USA

Steven C. Preston, President and CEO, Goodwill Industries International

Adam Putnam, CEO, Ducks Unlimited

Jonathan T.M. Reckford, CEO, Habitat for Humanity International

Gary M. Reedy, CEO, American Cancer Society

Kevin M. Ryan, President and CEO, Covenant House International

Rey Saldańa, President and CEO, Communities In Schools

Susan Tomlinson Schmidt, President, Nonprofit Leadership Alliance

Marc Scorca, President/CEO, OPERA America

Stacey D. Stewart, President and CEO, March of Dimes

Jeff Todd, President and CEO, Prevent Blindness

Kevin Washington, President and CEO, YMCA of the USA

Bett Williams, President, Association of Junior Leagues International Inc.

Simon Woods, President and CEO, League of American Orchestras