August 20, 2020
Hello Nonprofit Leaders and Supporters,

Anyone who has read these alerts over the past months (or before COVID-19 – wow, remember that?) knows how I feel about Oregon’s nonprofits. Our sector plays such a critical role in the health and vibrancy of Oregon communities. If there is anyone who earns the terms “hero” and “essential worker” it is you! Last week we shared the overall findings of our 2020 compensation and benefits survey in the Executive Summary (available free) of NAO’s 2020 Oregon Nonprofit Compensation and Benefits Report. The Full Report, along with an interactive online tool (Tableau) is available for purchase. Due to the impacts of COVID-19 on nonprofits, NAO is providing the Full Report and its findings at a much reduced cost than normal. We know that nonprofits need to have critical compensation and benefits information for effective decision making now more than ever. Click here to learn more.

In addition, click here to watch Marie Manuel, NAO’s Membership & Partnerships Manager, share some key findings about the report, show a sneak peek into the Tableau dashboard, as well as hear from special guest Craig Peebles with Oregon Business on how compensation and benefits tie into workplace satisfaction.

Now more than ever with greater needs for childcare and support in online schooling for children and the stress we are all feeling as we confront the two pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism, we nonprofits need to set an example for the rest of society on how to provide equitable compensation and responsive benefits. 
In Oregon

Updated Face Mask Guidance for Employers

On August 13, Governor Brown released updated face mask guidance. This revised guidance provides clarification for employees in private offices, as well as offices open to the public.

While such guidance was implied before, the revised guidance makes it clear that masks, face coverings, or face shields are required at all times for employees in public and private office spaces, including hallways, bathrooms, elevators, lobbies, break rooms, and other common spaces, unless employees are at individual work spaces or in meeting rooms where six feet of social distancing can be consistently maintained.

As a reminder, employers must also provide masks, face shields or face coverings to their employees. If helping to stop the spread and spike of COVID-19 cases in Oregon is not enough the rationale for putting strict measures in place at your nonprofit, read on… 
 
COVID-19 and Nonprofit Liability

Is your nonprofit liable if your staff, volunteers or program participants get sick from COVID-19? The answer for now is… maybe.

Oregon lawmakers did not address coronavirus liability protections for businesses, schools, hospitals and nonprofits during a one-day, 15-hour special session on Aug. 10. This omission was surprising since both key Democrats and Republicans seem to agree on the necessity of this protection. It was also surprising since the consideration of liability protections appeared to be a key issue coming out of the first special session in June.

Senator Prozanski, (D-Eugene), who has been involved in two work groups considering liability protections, said the groups simply did not have enough time to come to an agreement on the language for potential legislation ahead of the August special session.

The goal is to have legislation ready in time for a possible third special session this fall. Senate President Courtney echoed that sentiment last week, saying he anticipated bills to limit the liability of businesses and other entities facing coronavirus lawsuits and to ensure worker’s compensation for people who contract coronavirus at work to be taken up in a third special session.

Governor Brown has not said whether or when she will summon lawmakers for that third session. If a third special session is not called, liability protections could not be addressed until the regular session begins early next year.

Prozanski, who is heading a work group considering coronavirus liability protections for medical providers, said the group is close to sending their ideas to the Legislative Counsel to draft legislation. He said that legislation could serve as a framework for the liability protections that another work group is considering for businesses, schools and other entities.

NAO believes it is a vital responsibility of all nonprofits to take the most stringent measures to protect their staff, volunteers and program participants. We also believe that, with government guidance and restrictions that change by the week, our nonprofits need some kind of liability protections as we continue to grapple with COVID-19.

If you have an opinion on this important matter regarding COVID-19 liability coverage, please make your thought known to your legislator and to Senator Prozanski
At the Federal Level

Senate Republican Proposal: Senate Republicans released the “skinny” COVID relief bill that bizarrely is an amendment to a bill written to condemn human rights violations against the Uyghur minority in China. The 169 page amendment by Senator McConnell includes:

  1. Liability protections for businesses (and nonprofits), 
  2. $300 in increased weekly federal unemployment benefits until Dec. 27 
  3. Additional money ($150 billion) for the Paycheck Protection Program and a second round of PPP loans, 
  4. Additional $10 billion for the U.S. Postal Service, and 
  5. More money for Coronavirus education and testing. 

A recent Politico article includes this troubling observation: “The revised bill, which includes elements of the July Senate GOP proposal, could be attached to a continuing resolution to fund the government past a Sept. 30 deadline, according to two GOP sources.”

Yikes! We do not want this to drag out until the end of September; we need a negotiated resolution much sooner. Keep the conversations and comments flowing to our U.S. Representatives to solve this critical impasse!

PPP Provisions in the New Bill: The Paycheck Protection Program provisions in this new bill are substantially similar to what we saw in the Republican bill released on July 27. Here are a few noteworthy changes:

  • Eligible expenditures would include personal protective equipment (PPE), supplier costs, and property damage; group insurance payments would count at payroll costs under the 60% forgiveness rule.

  • As in the HEALS Act, loans of $150,000 or less would be automatically forgiven upon submission of an one-page attestation (records retained for one year); loans of $150,000 to $2 million subject to streamlined loan forgiveness process (records retained for three years).

  • Second Draw Loans: Only applicable to nonprofits with a) 300 or fewer employees, b) satisfy the alternative size standard or revenues size standard, and c) experienced a 35% decline in gross receipts in first or second quarter of 2020 compared to same quarter in 2019. The HEALS Act version set the decline at 50%; the RESTART Act sets it at 25%.

  • NOTE: Bill continues to define nonprofit “gross revenues” to mean only proceeds from fundraising events, federated campaigns, gifts, donor-advised funds, and similar sources. The term expressly excludes federal grants, foundation grants of more than one year, revenues from supporting organizations, and non-cash contributions. 

  • Second Draw Loans would be limited to $2 million.

  • Appropriations: the bill would provide an additional $150 billion for the PPP, as revised. $25 billion would be reserved for nonprofits and businesses with 10 or fewer employees. $10 billion would be set aside for smaller community financial institutions.
 
Payroll Tax Executive Action: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce along with more than 30 trade associations sent a letter to Congress and the U.S. Department of Treasury urging them to work together on a path forward that provides relief to families without imposing a large tax bill in the future, which they assert the recent executive order (EO) on payroll tax deferral would do. The association letter states, “Under current law, the EO creates a substantial tax liability for employees at the end of the deferral period. Without Congressional action to forgive this liability, it threatens to impose serious hardships on employees who will face a large tax bill as a result of deferral.” They call the executive order “unworkable” and state that many businesses “will likely decline to implement deferral, choosing instead to continue to withhold and remit to the government the payroll taxes required by law.” We’ve been wondering what the business community would do with the EO. Now we know. The American Institute of CPAs, and other groups are demanding more information, and anxiety is growing the closer we get to the Sept. 1 start date. SHRM has a good backgrounder on the subject.
 
Unemployment Benefits: The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that senior administration and agency officials held a briefing call to discuss the supplemental unemployment benefits that will be provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Department of Labor. Here’s the rest of the NCSL report: “Specifically, the program will be authorized under FEMA to use Stafford Act disaster relief funds (DRF) to provide supplemental payments for lost wages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. FEMA will administer the lost wages assistance program that authorizes states to provide a $400 weekly payment. The federal contribution from the DRF will be $300 per person per week. States’ 25% cost share, required under DRF, can be met by their aggregate state unemployment insurance benefit. If a state chooses, it can provide an additional $100 per person per week using Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) or other state funds, bringing the total amount to $400 for eligible recipients. States must apply through Grants.gov by Sept. 10, 2020.

It is unclear yet if Oregon will participate in this program. No decision has yet been made by the Governor.
Upcoming Online Sessions

Oregon Department of Human Services Briefing for Community Partners and Stakeholders: ODHS COVID-19 Response, Friday, August 21, 9 – 10 a.m. PT: Like many in our community, the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) has been at the frontline of the state’s pandemic response, tending to the safety, health and well-being of Oregonians. ODHS invites community partners and stakeholders to attend an online briefing on the Department’s pandemic response. The briefing will feature an overview of the recent changes made to our budget by the Oregon State Legislature in order to balance the state’s current budget. More details here. To join the meeting, click here.

The Ultimate Grant Proposal Blueprint Course: Your Step-by-Step Roadmap and Built-It-Yourself Toolkit for Crafting an A+ Grant Proposal, an eight-week online course scheduled from August 24-October 26: In this comprehensive, on-your-own-schedule video-based, course from GrantsMagic U, veteran grant writer, grant consultant, and grantmaker Maryn Boess pulls back the curtain on what it really takes to be successful in the grants world. She will share hundreds of tried-and-tested tools, strategies, how-to's and "insider's tips" to take you to your next level of grants success no matter where you're starting out. More details here.

The Rapid Redesign Project – a two-part cohort on Wednesdays, September 9, and September 23, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. PT: Steve Patty, Founder of Dialogues in Action, along with DIA colleagues Jessamyn Luiz and Landen Zernickow invite your organization to participate in a two-day facilitated cohort around redesigning your program strategy due to impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. This cohort will help you design solutions for the immediate challenges of your program; fix some of your chronic and pre-existing issues of your program; and grow the leadership for your program. Let’s reframe our thinking! Registration allows up to five staff members. To participate, fill out this registration form by Friday, September 4. Learn more.
 
Resource Development Planning & Prioritizing During Uncertainty, Tuesday, September 17, 10 – 11 a.m. PT:  Nonprofit leaders are facing a high degree of uncertainty as COVID-19 has disrupted every facet of our work and lives. For those with the responsibility to lead your organization's resource development strategy and implementation, that means finding new sources of funding, adopting new methods for virtual donor engagement, and maximizing your donor database. Planning may seem counterintuitive given all of the unknowns. Now, more than ever, your organization needs a resource development plan in place that provides a roadmap that you can adapt and manage during this uncertainty. Laurel McCombs, Senior Philanthropy Consultant of The Osborne Group will lead a practical, fast-paced session to discuss what you need to do now to get your plan in place and take control of your fundraising priorities for your mission success. Register for the session here.
 
Upswell 2020, October 14-16, 7 a.m. 2 p.m. PT: Independent Sector’s Upswell 2020 is about two most important things facing every changemaker in the U.S.: ending racism and recovering from the pandemic. How we deal with these monumental challenges – in this utterly urgent moment in our shared history – will determine nothing less than the future of our nation. It sure won’t be easy and it certainly won’t be perfect. But our efforts will be existentially necessary. So, we’re inviting you to show up! Claim your agency. Elevate your ideas. Amplify your voice. Get creative, innovative, passionate, and relentlessly determined. Because it’s going to take the very best you’ve got – and the very best the rest of us have got – to heal our nation and create a society where every person can thrive. To find out more about Upswell, click here. Register for Upswell here.

I hope that you all stay safe and healthy!

Sincerely,
Jim White
Executive Director
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