July 23, 2020
Hello Nonprofit Leaders and Supporters,

The continuing impacts and responses to the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racism in America are keeping all of us busy as we work to navigate our organizations through these tumultuous times. It is disheartening to report that with all the hard work and energy being put into our communities, there are those that would use the opportunity for their own personal gain. We have recently been alerted to several scams that have been reported in Oregon, so please be aware and diligent.

In one case, several local nonprofit organizations have received correspondence from Fernando Aguirre < f.aguirre@mail.com > alleging that a certain Oregon philanthropist are “their clients,” and requesting information. NAO has had contact with that philanthropist’s office and they stated clearly that this is a scam and should be treated as such.

In a separate case, Oregon nonprofits are getting spam notices from companies offering to file their form 990s. This happens throughout the year. The information they provide is inaccurate and nonprofits should not be using their services. Nonprofits should only file their 990 forms directly with the IRS for free, or work with a legitimate nonprofit financial services firm.

Please be attentive to who is requesting information from you and your organization. If you are ever in doubt, please reach out to NAO at:  connect@nonprofitoregon.org .

In obvious cases of fraud or scamming, please do us all a favor and report them to the  Department of Justice Charitable Affairs Section .

Communities trust nonprofits more than any other institutions in America! Let’s not let these scammers drag us down!
In Oregon

Yesterday, Governor Brown  announced  new statewide safety restrictions in response to the on-going spike in COVID-19 cases across Oregon.

The following restrictions will become effective this Friday, July 24:

  • Face coverings are now required for children age five and up in all indoor public spaces and outdoor spaces where social distancing cannot be maintained;

  • Capacity for larger venues, including but not limited to restaurants, churches, and movie theaters, is now reduced from 250 to 100 people total, including staff;

  • Throughout Oregon and regardless of what phase the county is in, restaurants and bars must close at 10 p.m.;

  • The exception for face coverings is now eliminated for exercise. With that, face coverings are now required when exercising indoors, and while exercising outdoors where physical distance cannot be maintained.

Governor Brown is also allowing outdoor visits for residents in long-term care facilities where there are no COVID-19 cases. Tourism guidelines and restrictions are in the works, including potentially restricting tourist travel into Oregon from states with high COVID-19 cases and potentially implementing mandatory quarantine for individuals coming into Oregon from hotspots.

Governor Brown also mentioned that schools will not look normal this upcoming school year, as many districts and counties will focus on online distance learning or a hybrid model with limited in-person classroom time. The Oregon Department of Education released a new version of the  Ready Schools, Safe Learners 2020-2021 guidance  yesterday.

You can find the complete details on Oregon’s reopening strategy and information on how and when your nonprofit can re-open  here . Please, please be sure to consider if your nonprofit can maintain work-from-home protocols for longer as a public service to continue to keep cases low. Consider which staff are essential and be sure to plan for hygiene and safety measures in your workplace. For resources on how to be safe, please visit  our COVID-19 resources page .

The Oregon Legislature Needs to Hear from Nonprofits!

In the recent  Independent Sector study Understanding Trust in Civil Society , it is reported that 81% of Americans are confidence in nonprofits to strengthen civil society, while only 37% trust their government leaders to address societal challenges. Being deeply  of community  is critical to the trust in nonprofits and we have a responsibility to use that trust to advocate for better supports to the people and causes we serve. Government would be wise to heed that advice.

With that in mind, it is refreshing to report that the Oregon Legislature’s Joint Ways and Means Committee has set forth  Principles for the Second Special Session of 2020  and is taking testimony today (Thursday) on the expensing of nearly $350 million in CARES Act funding. Earlier we reported that the Oregon E-Board was making decisions  without taking public testimony . It seems enough Oregonians, including nonprofits, complained and this week the legislature does want to hear from Oregonians through testimony. 

If any of the issues up for consideration impact the communities you support through your mission, get your voice heard. Sign up to provide oral testimony (session details below) to: 

  1. Thank them for recognizing that many programs cannot be cut without leading to higher financial and human costs;
  2. Emphasize that COVID-19, economic distress, societal upheaval, etc. are leading to higher acuity and more need for the people we nonprofits serve;
  3. Ask that in addition to not making cuts, they find a way to invest the $345 million in remaining CARES Act funding and any upcoming 4th Federal Stimulus Package funding into key areas that impact communities. Investing resources will SAVE money and improve the lives of tens of thousands.

Meeting details:


Meeting Details  7/23/2020 1:00 PM , Offsite Oral Testimony (Live Remotely)

PHONE: Pre-registration is required. To sign up, either use the online form at:

OR call 503-986-1828 for assistance.  Registration closes one hour before the meeting start time.
At the Federal level

Senate Republican COVID-19 Bill … Soon

Senate Republicans started briefing staff this yesterday on the details of their opening draft stimulus bill. Bill text, however, has been delayed reportedly because of opposition in the caucus to the President’s demand for a payroll tax cut. Bill language could be released at any time. This   Politico article  has as good a pre-cap as any: “The proposed legislation is expected to call for a new round of direct payments to Americans but with lower income restrictions; liability protection for schools and businesses as they begin to reopen; billions of dollars in new funds to upgrade state-level coronavirus testing capacity; additional Paycheck Protection Program funding for small businesses; $105 billion for schools as they seek to restart operations; and a provision to provide flexibility for the use of state aid.” The bill also may include an expanded version of the employee retention tax credit that provides a refundable payroll tax credit for keeping workers on the payroll, as well as payroll tax credits to reduce the employer costs of personal protective equipment, reconfiguring workspaces, cleaning supplies, etc.

Expiring Provisions: There are looming deadlines that are driving negotiations. There are several provisions that expire in the next few days and weeks, including:

  • The additional $600 per week added to unemployment payments; expires in some states 7/25; all states by July 31

  • Eviction moratorium expires soon

  • Paycheck Protection Program expires on August 8.

The hope is that a deal will be struck in time before these critical resources to communities end.
 
Census and Undocumented Immigrants

In a bombshell move, the President signed a memorandum instructing the Commerce Secretary to   exclude undocumented immigrants from congressional apportionment  that is based on the 2020 Census. The subject line of the memo is “ Excluding Illegal Aliens From the Apportionment Base Following the 2020 Census. ” The President’s position is that “undocumented aliens” not be counted in the apportionment of congressional seats, arguing that one state (California) will receive two or three more seats than it otherwise would if only “lawful” residents were included.

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said in a  news release , “This xenophobic action is unconstitutional. Undocumented immigrants live, work, and go to school in every state and they are part of our communities.” The  Washington Post  reports  that Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, said the Committee will hold an emergency hearing on the census next week. “Taking this step right in the middle of the ongoing census is particularly egregious and sinister because it appears purposefully designed to depress the count, deter people from filling out their forms, and corrupt the democratic processes on which our nation is founded,”  Maloney said in a statement .

It should be noted that the Constitution of the United States  empowers Congress, not the President, to carry out the census in "such manner as they shall by Law direct" (Article I, Section 2) , with the intention of counting every person living in the United States (not just citizens).

Two additional adverse actions are expected soon. It’s being reported that the Administration will be withdrawing the  Census Bureau request for an extension  of the deadlines for reporting apportionment and redistricting data due to COVID-19. That request had sought to shift the due dates (1) apportionment be moved from December 1, 2020 to April 31, 2021 and (2) Redistricting Data Files to the states be moved from April 1, 2021 to July 31, 2021. The hurry-up despite the pandemic disruptions would guarantee the data would be faulty and that the President’s memorandum from yesterday could skew redistricting. Separately, the White House reportedly is requesting $1 billion for the Census in the COVID-19 package so the Census Bureau can have funds to rush completion of the count. All of this news enflames fears that the Administration will prevent the completion of a fair and accurate count of every person in America.

Unemployment Insurance Update

The   Protecting Nonprofits from Catastrophic Cash Flow Strain Act  ( S.4209 ) has been enrolled by the Senate and House and is now in the White House. This is the bill to override the Labor Department requirement that self-insured nonprofits must pay 100 percent of benefits costs upfront and get reimbursed by their states later.

This information took a lot for our colleagues in Washington D.C/ to find out. For days, the House said they sent it to the Senate shortly after it passed by unanimous consent two weeks ago. The White House initially said they didn’t have the engrossed bill. But yesterday, three White House staffers wrote that the bill has arrived. Hopefully the President will sign it right away. Once that happens, we will update you on that information and be sure that the Oregon state unemployment office is aware.

Expanding PPP Eligibility : The Hill  ran an article earlier this week by Senators Lankford (R-OK) and King (I-ME),  Supporting nonprofits is investing in our nation , making the case for including nonprofit policy asks in the next COVID-19 bill. In particular they argue for expanding the Paycheck Protection Program to include nonprofits that were expressly excluded under the CARES Act. They write:
 
As we continue to consider any additional federal assistance needed to get our nation through the COVID-19 pandemic, work is progressing in the Senate to expand nonprofit eligibility to participate in PPP by requesting from Senate leadership that there be an increase to the current 500-employee cap for PPP to cover mid-sized nonprofits and adjust existing requirements to help lenders and applicants process applications as quickly as possible.  Dozens of senators from both sides of the aisle are supportive of these changes  — an important example of how the work of nonprofits transcends partisan politics.

Jobs Saved by PPP : The Paycheck Protection Program saved 4.1 million nonprofit jobs, about a third of all nonprofit jobs in the nation, according to new estimates from the  Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Michigan’s Grand Valley State University. According to a  Chronicle of Philanthropy  article , the study estimated that about 40 percent of eligible nonprofits received a loan and that nearly two-thirds of eligible nonprofit jobs were protected by PPP funds. A separate  Chronicle of Philanthropy  article finds that  Religious Groups and Schools Got the Most PPP Loans .

Mid-Size Relief Update

As reported previously, the Federal Reserve published the revised the  Main Street Lending Program for nonprofit organizations  “such as educational institutions, hospitals, and social service organizations.” While this is a step in the right direction it is still not enough. A  national nonprofit coalition issued a statement expressing appreciation but dissatisfaction because “the new loan terms released on Friday retain numerous financial restrictions that make the loan program unworkable to most organizations that are targeted for support.” It continues, “We now call on Congress to include provisions in the next COVID-19 relief package that ensure mid-sized nonprofit organizations have access to forgivable loans.”

Update on Personal Protective Equipment Bills

There’s a new bill to provide a refundable payroll tax credit for nonprofit and for-profit employers to cover 50 percent of the costs incurred by a business for increased testing, personal protective equipment (PPE), disinfecting, extra cleaning and reconfiguring work spaces to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Rumor has it that this version,   introduced by Sen. Portman  (R-OH), is the likely version that will be included in the Senate Republican stimulus bill that’s expected to be unveiled in the coming days. The refundable credit would be limited to $1,000 per employee for a business’s first 500 employees, $750 per employee for the next 500 employees, and $500 for each employee thereafter. The House version of the  Health Workplace Tax Credit  bill was introduced by Representative Rice (R-SC) last week. 
Upcoming Online Sessions for Nonprofits  

15-Minute Resiliency Practice Sessions for the month of July, Tuesdays from 5:30 – 5:45 p.m. and Thursdays from Noon – 12:15 p.m. PT: Systems change work requires longevity. In order for our racial justice work to be sustainable over the long haul, we need to practice regulation skills that support our nervous systems. Living Yoga, NAO nonprofit member, is offering these short, accessible, free, and open-to-anyone Resiliency Practice Sessions. Each session includes four simple movements and breath practices that can be done anywhere - no props or anything needed to participate. Living Yoga trainers connect the practices to our need for grounding, and support us in accessing our resiliency as we deal with acute stress and sustain our efforts to interrupt racism and oppression. More information and links to the Tuesdays/Thursdays sessions  here.

Help Employees Repair and Reset Their Retirement Plan, Thursday, July 30, 10 – 11 a.m. PT: Nonstop Wellness, an NAO member benefit partner, is hosting a webinar building a foundation of general financial health, helping employees to stay the course, retirement savings in the midst of a pandemic, and meeting employees where they are in their financial life. Register for the session  here.

Ask the Experts: Maximizing Loan Forgiveness Under the Paycheck Protection Program, Wednesday, August 12, Noon – 1 p.m. PT: Many nonprofits who received loans under the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program are now dealing with how to best navigate the complexities of maximizing their loan forgiveness. In this session, Lisa Fajardo Faust – Senior Vice President and Relationship Banking Team Leader at Pacific West Bank, Robert Countryman – Market President for Portland/Seattle at First Interstate Bank, and Lesley Bennett – Senior Financial Consultant at CFO Selections will discuss practical steps, processes, and documentation that nonprofits should follow to ensure the best outcomes for their organizations. They will provide guidance on the approach, processes, and procedures that nonprofits should implement as they see it from their vantage points as a professional at a lending institution that transacted the PPP loans and a finance practitioner. Register for the session  here.

Mark Your Calendar ! 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. Registration for the course here.

Stay safe and healthy.

Sincerely,
Jim White
Executive Director
Thank you to the following SUPPORTERS and SPONSORS who are supporting NAO’s online COVID-19 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.
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