AHA COVID-19 newsroom

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 9, 2020 —The nation’s nonprofits are on the frontlines in our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, working tirelessly to serve the people who need our services despite facing challenging circumstances within our own organizations. If we are to continue to provide the desperately needed services for individuals and families across the country, we need Congress to take additional steps immediately.

While we are grateful that the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act included provisions that provided some nonprofits with a measure of relief, much more needs to be done to ensure charities can continue to serve our communities now and beyond the pandemic. Therefore, more than 200 national nonprofit organizations have sent a letter to congressional leadership, calling on them to include a “Nonprofit Track” in any future legislation that builds on the CARES Act.

Specifically, the letter urges Congress to:

 1.   Expand nonprofit access to credit by designating funding exclusively for nonprofits within the two principal loan programs established in the CARES Act, and making the following additional improvements:

  • Paycheck Protection Program: Provide incentives to private lenders to prioritize processing of applications of small nonprofits and expand the eligibility for nonprofits to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program Loans under CARES Act Sections 1102 and 1106 by modifying the current 500-employee cap or by other means.
  • Mid-Size Business Loan Program: Adjust CARES Act Section 4003(c)(3)(D) to implement a program to support nonprofit employers with between 500 and 10,000 employees, including loan-forgiveness and other provisions. The legislation should direct the U.S. Department of the Treasury to have this program operational no later than 15 days after enactment. 

2. Strengthen charitable giving incentives to encourage all Americans to help their communities through charitable donations during these challenging times. The following modifications will generate immediate results:

  • Applicable to 2019 Tax Filings: Encourage immediate donations by enabling taxpayers to make donations on and after March 13 (date of national emergency declaration) and before July 16 to claim the deductions on their 2019 tax filings (applicable to itemized and above-the-line deductions).
  • Above-the-Line Deduction in CARES Act Section 2204: 
    • Increase the $300/person cap
    • Extend the effective date of the incentive

 3. Treat self-funded nonprofits fairly by increasing the federal unemployment insurance reimbursement for self-funded nonprofits to 100 percent of costs in CARES Act Section 2103.

4. 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.

Several of these provisions are incorporated in the bipartisan SOS Act, H.R. 6408.

Read the full letter.



"We are pleased that Congress included specific areas for stimulus and relief for community-based human services organizations in the CARES Act," said Susan N. Dreyfus, president and CEO of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities. "However, it is clear from what we are hearing from our members that it just doesn't go far enough. Many of our members who are larger than the 500 employees will see little to no funding due to the SBA loan employee cap. As essential employees working on the frontlines to provide food, shelter and social services to vulnerable families, we recognize that there must be a separate track supporting nonprofits and community-based human services organizations in order to ensure that these organizations continue to do the vital work that keeps families safe, healthy and strong."

Alliance for Strong Families and Communities: Jennifer Devlin | jdevlin@alliance1.org | 703-876-1714

“As leaders in Congress build upon the CARES Act, they must ensure the charitable sector — including non-profit organizations of more than 500 employees — can continue its critical work in communities across the country,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. “Physicians, scientists and researchers worldwide are struggling to understand the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and the American Heart Association is taking action by developing a novel registry to aggregate data and aid research on the disease, treatment protocols and risk factors tied to adverse cardiovascular outcomes. This is just an example of our work in support of the 120 million people in the U.S. living with one or more cardiovascular diseases. People in need are looking to our organizations for support during this pandemic, and we are looking to the federal government to help sustain our life-changing efforts.”

American Heart Association: Suniti Sarah Bal | suniti.bal@heart.org | 916-390-1860

“In any disaster, it is those with the least who are impacted the most,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “These are the families that nonprofit organizations like Habitat serve. Now, more than ever, we need to make sure the nonprofit sector is ready and able to answer the call. By acting on these priorities, Congress will be making a down payment on the long-term economic recovery of the communities they serve.”

Habitat for Humanity International: Bryan Thomas | BrThomas@habitat.org | 404-908-5131

“The CARES Act was a good but insufficient first step toward providing nonprofits and the communities they serve the funds they need to recover from this pandemic,” said Daniel J. Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector. “Even with additional funds recently proposed by Congress, we need prioritized financial support to nonprofits.  We also need a more expansive universal charitable deduction, which incentivizes all taxpayers to support the organizations providing critical services to the most vulnerable communities in our country. We look forward to working with Congress to secure this additional relief for nonprofits through improvements to the cares act and through any infrastructure legislation that might emerge.”

Independent Sector | Kristina Gawrgy Campbell | media@independentsector.org | 240-994-8156

“The CARES Act provided some much-needed relief for America’s nonprofits – but it did not go far enough to meet the country’s increasing reliance on nonprofits helping people in local communities,” said Tim Delaney, president and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits. “While most nonprofits are small businesses, the CARES Act lumped them into loan programs and processes designed for small for-profit businesses, resulting in nonprofits being disadvantaged by old forms and attitudes that too often exclude nonprofits. Nonprofits need access to a dedicated funding stream so they are not squeezed out or marginalized by for-profit interests. Also, while the CARES Act moved in the right direction by making the charitable giving incentive available to all taxpayers, the paltry amount of the added incentive (just $300) and the delayed time period (for taxes due in 2021) don’t meet the urgent need to incentivize significant giving now. Congress needs to encourage people to give today by letting them take a tax deduction on their 2019 taxes due by the new tax date of July 15 and extend it through 2021 because the recovery is going to take more than one year. Congress’s recognition of the nonprofit sector as the economic engine that it is — employing 12.3 million Americans, which is more than manufacturing or construction — was a good first step, but more is needed to ensure nonprofits exist so they can continue serving their communities through the duration of this crisis, the recovery, and for many years to come.”

National Council of Nonprofits: Rick Cohen | rcohen@councilofnonprofits.org | 202-962-0322 x118

"We appreciate that Congress included nonprofits in key relief provisions of the CARES Act, recognizing the critical support the charitable sector provides to the communities hardest hit by this pandemic," said Stephanie J. Hull, Ph.D., president and CEO of Girls Inc. "Unfortunately, implementation challenges mean that many organizations are not getting the support Congress intended. More funding and reforms are needed to ensure that nonprofits can survive and remain focused on helping the most vulnerable in our communities during this unprecedented challenge."

Girls Inc.: Tieler Gile | tgiles@girlsinc.org | 404-819-6405.

“We are very thankful to Congress for the critical support provided to many nonprofit organizations through the CARES Act. We urge Congress to expand legislation so that nonprofits like Goodwill can ensure their long-term survival and provide critical support to communities that require their services,“ said Steven C. Preston, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “Our communities are facing unprecedented, rapidly expanding hardships. The need for essential support has multiplied in a matter of weeks, and soon millions of Americans will need our help in preparing for and finding new employment.”

Goodwill Industries International Lauren Lawson-Zilai | Lauren.Lawson@goodwill.org | 916-390-1860

“Despite having to close our buildings, we have moved quickly to deliver meals instead of having them picked up, and to teach, pray, engage, celebrate and mourn together online,” said Eric D. Fingerhut, president and CEO, The Jewish Federations of North America. “We have purchased and distributed personal protective gear to many of our local caregivers and contributed additional philanthropic resources where possible. We are grateful to Congress and the Administration for passing the CARES Act, which goes a long way to helping alleviate economic hardship, but more is needed to address the growing need. We hope to work together to make additional funds available to the charitable sector as soon as possible.”

The Jewish Federations of North America | Rebecca Dinar | rebecca.dinar@jewishfederations.org | 305-710-5361

“Nonprofits represent a significant part of the economy and are essential to managing, mitigating, and helping people and communities recover from this historic upheaval,” said Gary Reedy, CEO of the American Cancer Society and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “Now is the time for Congress to step forward and help ensure all charities, including some of the largest and most relied upon, are able to provide necessary services critical to weathering and recovering from this crisis. Cancer patients, their families and communities across the country are counting on this action.”

American Cancer Society and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network: Allison Miller |  allison.miller@cancer.org | 202-585-3241

“United Ways and our fellow nonprofits directly support health care workers, the unemployed, students struggling to learn from home, and many more who represent the faces and front lines of this crisis,” said Brian Gallagher, President and CEO of United Way Worldwide. “It’s critical that government recognize this surge in demand and support us and the critical services that we provide. Without greater support, society’s most vulnerable – from the homeless to senior citizens – will suffer and the effects of the pandemic exacerbated.”

United Way Worldwide: Southerlyn Reisig |  Southerlyn.Reisig@uww.unitedway.org  | 703-836-7100 ext. 321

“Nonprofits are grateful that Congress made funding streams available to us in the CARES Act, but attempting to access that funding will put us in direct competition with for-profit businesses – a competition we’re unlikely to win in most cases,” said Kevin Washington, president and CEO of YMCA of the USA. “We need funding that is dedicated exclusively for nonprofits, particularly those with more than 500 employees, and we need an extended and expanded universal charitable deduction to encourage giving. Without this relief, many YMCAs and other community-based nonprofits won’t survive this crisis, and the communities they serve will suffer even more as a result.”

YMCA of the USA: Kelly Kennai | kelly.kennai@ymca.net | 202-365-0192

“YWCA USA is grateful that Congress recognized the important work of nonprofits in the CARES Act,” said Alejandra Y. Castillo, CEO of YWCA USA. “Across our network, YWCAs are experiencing extraordinary increases in demand for child care, housing, and services for individuals experiencing domestic and sexual violence, while simultaneously facing decreases in funding and revenue. We implore Congress to help YWCA and our nonprofit partners keep our doors open so that we can continue to partner with state and local governments to meet community needs.”
YWCA USA: Courtney Holsworth |  cholsworth@rabengroup.com | 989-572-8162


Additional Resources:

  • Link to this release in Spanish

For Media Inquiries:
Suniti Sarah Bal, suniti.bal@heart.org916-390-1860

For Public Inquiries:

1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and stroke.org