December 22, 2020
Hello Nonprofit Leaders and Supporters,

It is nice to close out 2020 with some final good news for you all from both the federal and state government (see below). As you wind down what has been undeniably a year like no other, I hope that you all take pride in the role that you, your nonprofit, and the network that you are a part of has done to live your values. As nonprofit leaders, you have done so much good for so many at a time when there were so many challenges. Thank you for what you do.

I hope that you will get some rest and the possibility to connect safely with friends and family during the holidays. Here is a heartfelt wish that 2021 will be better for us all.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
Jim White
NAO Executive Director
NAO Highlight

Last Thursday, we dropped the latest episode of NAO’s The Public Space podcast. The topic is “Recapping 2020 and Looking Ahead to 2021” where Jim White, NAO's Executive Director partnered with Jenn Clemo, NAO’s Director of Nonprofit Leadership and Resources. Together, Jim and Jenn recapped 2020 and discussed why and how they took the bold step of combining NAO and the Center for Nonprofit Stewardship this year. They also look at what factors and influences will shape the nonprofit sector’s landscape in 2021 and how nonprofits can approach the new year. NAO brings you new episodes of The Public Space on the third Thursday of every month – subscribe to The Public Space so you’ll never miss an episode. Don’t forget to review it, rate it, and tell a friend about NAO’s latest resource – we’d really appreciate it!
At the Federal Level

­­­­­­­­­­Congress Approves COVID-19 Package (includes Important Relief for Nonprofits)!
The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate passed the $900 billion COVID-19 relief package as part of an omnibus federal spending bill last night. The hard work that your organizations have been doing and the difficult times that you’ve faced were recognized in some major elements of the bill. Thank you to all that joined with NAO and nonprofits across the country to advocate for this important relief for charitable nonprofits. The National Council of Nonprofits has prepared a summary of the main nonprofit provisions in the COVID-19 relief package. Highlights of the bill for nonprofits include:

  • Expansion and changes to nonprofit access to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. The bill creates a second round of $284 billion in additional funding for PPP to support nonprofits and businesses with fewer than 300 employees that had a 25% reduction in gross receipts in any quarter of 2020. It also expands the types of expenses that are allowable for PPP loans to include personal protective equipment, certain supplier costs, facilities modifications, and certain workplace protection expenses. Forgiveness of PPP loans were also simplified through a change in the forgiveness process for loans of $150,000 or less. The PPP was also expanded to now include 501(c)(6) trade associations. Unfortunately, nonprofits with more than 500 employees are still not eligible for PPP loans.

  • Improving the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC). The bill makes the ERTC available to more nonprofits by expanding it and changing eligibility requirements. Nonprofits that suffered a reduction in gross receipts of 20% or more in any quarter of 2020 are eligible for a 70% refundable tax credit covering wages of up to $10,000 per employee in each quarter (with a maximum of $14,000 per employee). That means that a nonprofit with 10 employees who each make $10,000 or more per quarter (about $19.23/hour) could qualify for a $70,000 refundable payroll tax credit (70% of $100,000). Nonprofits that received PPP loans can now qualify for the ERTC for wages not paid for by forgiven amounts of PPP loans.

  • Strengthening incentives for charitable giving. The bill extends the temporary universal charitable deduction through 2021. For 2021, it also expands the cap on this non-itemizer charitable deduction for married couples filing jointly from $300 to $600. (We are trying to get clarity on whether it is retroactive to couples filing jointly on their 2020 taxes.) Individual taxpayers who use the standard deduction will still be able to deduct up to $300 for their charitable contributions next year. In addition, the bill extends two temporary increases in charitable giving incentives through 2021. Specifically, for 2021, it increases the limits on deductible charitable contributions for corporations to 25% of taxable income (up from 10%) and it removes the 60% of adjusted gross income cap on deductible charitable contributions for individuals who itemize their deductions.

  • Increasing and extending federal unemployment insurance reimbursement for self-insured nonprofits. The bill extends federal funding to cover 50% of the COVID-related unemployment costs of self-insured nonprofits through March 14, 2021. Unfortunately, the bill did not expand this coverage to 100% coverage, a move that is still badly needed for many nonprofits, as well as tribal, county and municipal governments. While other states have provided for the difference in coverage, Oregon has not. 

  • Extending unemployment benefits. The bill extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program – which provides unemployment benefits to self-employed individuals and laid-off or furloughed workers at small and religious nonprofits that are exempt from unemployment requirements – through March 14, 2021. It also provides $300 per week in supplemental federal unemployment benefits for individuals who are out of work due to the pandemic, through March 14, 2021. This spring and summer, individuals had received $600 per week in supplemental benefits if they had been furloughed or laid off due to COVID-19. The bill also extends other CARES Act unemployment benefits through March 14, 2021. Without this legislative action, all of these unemployment benefits would have expired on December 30, 2020.

  • Extending the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) deadline. Under the CARES Act, all CRF expenditures – including many Oregon appropriations and grants to nonprofits – were required to have been spent by December 30, 2020. Because of this deadline, the U.S. Treasury Department was requiring nonprofits and state agencies to submit final CRF reports by January 8, 2021. The new COVID-19 relief package extends the deadline for CRF expenditures through December 31, 2021, which should prevent nonprofits from having to return unspent funds to the federal government and make final grant reports in the next few weeks.
Some other highlights and omissions of the COVID-19 relief negotiations include:

  • Additional economic stimulus payments of $600 per person for individuals with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 and married couples with adjusted gross income up to $150,000.

  • A one-month extension of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eviction moratorium through January 31, 2021.

  • Extension of the paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave requirements from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act – and the federal tax credit to cover employers’ cost of providing paid leave – through March 31, 2021. These paid leave provisions were set to expire on December 31, 2020.

  • Allowance for individuals to carry over unused amount of health and dependent care flexible spending arrangement (FSA) benefits from 2020 into 2021.

  • A $15 billion “Save Our Stages” grant program that will provide support to many nonprofit performing arts organizations and museums.

  • No new direct aid for state and local governments. 

  • No liability protections against COVID-related claims for businesses, nonprofits, or individuals.

President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law this week. This legislation was a major accomplishment given the strained relations between parties and the self-created time crunch to get passage before the end of the year. Thank you to our Senators and Congressional delegation for their work on this and a big thanks again to all of you that advocated!
At the State Level

On Monday, Oregon legislators passed a number of important bills and failed to come to agreement on others in the third special session of 2020. Democrats and Republicans generally worked collegially to get through the daylong session. This cross-aisle collaboration was in contrast to right-wing protests outside the Capitol that included vandalism, harassment, and at least one arrest.

Housing, pandemic support, wildfire response and liability protections for schools were the key legislative actions taken in the marathon session. Lawmakers took hours of testimony on the various pieces of legislation during online hearings last week.

Legislation now headed for the Governor’s signature will authorize $400 million in spending to address the pandemic, $100 million for wildfire response, recovery and prevention work and $150 million for the new landlord compensation fund. All the money comes from the state general fund, which is largely income taxes. Lawmakers directed an additional $50 million to be allocated for the state’s existing rental relief programs.

The most contentious issue inside the Capitol on Monday was the plan to extend the state’s eviction moratorium until the end of June for renters facing financial hardships. Republicans and at least one Democrat lawmaker criticized a requirement that landlords forgive 20% of rent they are owed to access assistance from the new compensation fund. Participation in the program would be voluntary but those in opposition bristled at one industry being asked to bear an inequitable burden for the pandemic.

Among the proposals that did not make the cut was canceling several new state tax breaks for businesses and upper income Oregonians copied automatically into state law from the federal CARES Act, including a cut that is only available to the top 1% of earners in the state who make more than $500,000 in wages in addition to business income.  
NAO thanks all of you who are responding to so many crises and disasters in our communities. We have curated a set of resources and links with our COVID-19 resources and Oregon Wildfire Response Resources pages that we’ve created to help you and your organizations navigate these difficult times. 

If your nonprofit is responding to communities impacted by the fires, please be sure to connect with your FEMA coordinators (called VALs), Regional Solutions, local Office of Emergency Management, United Ways and County/Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COADs). A coordinated disaster and recovery response is imperative! Please be part of the solution by sharing what you’re doing.

You can connect to the Oregon Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (ORVOAD) by clicking this link and connecting to these other groups. 
Upcoming Online Sessions
Asking Through Adversity, Tuesday, January 12, 10 – 11 a.m. PT: Matt Lehrman, Co-Founder of Social Prosperity Partners, delivers a jolt of pragmatic guidance that enables nonprofit leaders and fundraisers to solidify the relationships upon which their organizations depend. He will share 12 tactics in 36 minutes provide clear guidance and vivid current examples for how to drive your organization’s sense of purposefulness through difficult times. More details and registration information here
Virtual Volunteerism, Thursday, January 14, 10 – 11 a.m. PT: Janet Capetty, Founder of Take FIVE Training, will discuss how to engage your dedicated volunteers in person, to think differently, and consider ways in which to keep volunteers active virtually. More details and registration information here.
Mindful Inclusive Leader-Shift, Thursday, January 21, 10 – 11 a.m. PT: Today’s climate is demanding an urgent SHIFT in the way we lead. Natalie Matias, Global Meditation Coach, Facilitator, and Consultant and Lillian A. Tsai, Founder and Principal at TsaiComms LLC will discuss how to apply an integrative approach using mindfulness with inclusive leadership practices, to begin cultivating the necessary capacity and resilience to be mindful and inclusive leaders to shift, survive, and thrive. More details and registration information here

Virtual Project Impact Cohort, February 16 through August 17, 2021: Join Steve Patty, Ph.D. from Dialogues in Action for a Project Impact Cohort consisting of seven virtual half-day graduate-level sessions over seven months, individualized coaching for each organization, resulting in qualitative and quantitative findings to demonstrate and improve impact. There are openings for up to 12 teams. The deadline to apply is January 15, 2021. Learn more and apply at:
Thank you to the following SUPPORTERS and SPONSORS who are supporting NAO’s online events and communications during these challenging times. Their support is vital in helping NAO to bring much-needed resources and information to Oregon’s nonprofits – thank you.