March 11, 2021
Hello Nonprofit Leaders and Supporters,

The American Rescue Plan Act, H.R. 1319 has passed the House by a vote of 220-211. It had previously been passed the Senate last week; President Biden is expected to sign the bill into law today. There is a lot of funding and program expansions or extensions contained in the $1.88 trillion act that will help nonprofits and the communities and issues they serve. With support from national colleagues at the National Council of NonprofitsIndependent Sector and the good offices of Oregon’s two Senators Wyden and Merkley, I have prepared this overview of the Senate-passed bill for only the issues that I think are of interest to nonprofits and your missions. I have put in headers and highlighted the sections so that you can scroll through to the issues that are most important to you and your mission. Because our sector is so broad and so essential to services across society, there will be much that may not pertain to you, but it may be the life-blood of another nonprofit. I thank you for your patience with how much is included. Not everything that was funded is listed here, and the editorial decision to include or exclude any item was solely mine. With so much to digest, I just didn’t think you were as interested in how much money went to AMTRAK. 

Before I go through this, I want to remind you of one last-chance to sign up (or encourage your board members) for the Guiding More Good Virtual Conference that NAO is holding this Saturday! You can still sign up here.   

Alright, here we go…. 
Jim White
NAO Executive Director
American Rescue Plan Act (Summarized by NAO)

The following title-by-title summary outlines the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) as passed by the Senate on March 6, 2021. This bill will provide urgent and targeted funding to defeat the virus and provide workers and families the resources they need to survive the pandemic while the vaccine is distributed to every American. The bill provides for a total of $1.88 trillion in federal investments. 

Title I – Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry 

  • Nutrition: The bill will extend the 15% increase in SNAP benefits through September 30, 2021 to address the hunger crisis. As many as 50 million Americans have struggled to feed themselves or their families during the pandemic and need continued support to put food on the table. 

  • Pandemic EBT program: The ARPA helps children in need by providing families, who normally would receive school meals in person, with the value of those missed school breakfasts and lunches. During this time of historic hunger for American families, it is critical that this program is available through the pandemic, including summer months to keep the 22 million children who use this program fed. 

  • WIC modernization: This bill will provide funding for outreach and modernization to make the WIC program more user-friendly and increases the Cash Value Voucher benefit so moms and babies can buy additional fruits and vegetables. Participation in WIC has declined significantly in recent years, barely rising during the pandemic.

  • Food Supply Chain: The bill will provide $4 billion to support the food supply chain through the purchase and distribution of food, the purchase of PPE for farmworkers and other frontline food workers, and financial support for farmers, small and medium sized food processing companies, farmers markets, and others to create more resilient and competitive food supply chains. It also provides funding to monitor COVID-19 in animals and reduce overtime inspection fees for small meat and poultry processors. 

  • Farmers of Color: The bill will provide debt relief and assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers who have faced disproportionate impacts from the pandemic as a result of longstanding discrimination. The Agriculture Department’s lending and financial assistance programs have long discriminated against Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and other farmers of color. Black farmers in the South alone have lost more than 12 million acres of farmland since the 1950s and many farmers of color who remain in agriculture struggle with burdensome debt that has prevented many from being able to grow and sustain their farms, especially during the pandemic. This is an important step to ensure these farmers benefit from COVID-19 assistance programs. 

  • Rural Health Care: This bill will provide a lifeline for healthcare in rural America by increasing vaccine distribution capacity, providing medical supplies and medical surge capacity, expand access to tele-health, and help to fill the gap for rural healthcare providers, many of whom were already stretched thin before COVID-19 and have suffered additional lost revenue due to the pandemic.
Title II – Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

  • Vaccines: In order to ensure vaccines reach every community as quickly as possible, especially communities of color and hard to reach areas, there is $7.5 billion in CDC funding for vaccine distribution – including the vaccine clinics proposed by the Biden administration. There is also $5.2 billion for Biomedical Advanced Research and Development(BARDA) for vaccine and supplies procurement. 

  • Testing: The bill provides $48.3 billion for testing in order to contain the virus and mitigate its effects, hire staff for contact tracing, provide PPE for frontline health workers, and take other steps to combat the virus, such as enabling isolation and quarantine. The bill also provides $1.733 billion for enhanced genomic sequencing. 

  • Health Workforce: Public health workers in communities across the country are the key to getting the virus under control. Every clinician that administers the vaccine is supported by a team of public health workers who make the system work. However, local and state health departments have lost 23 percent of their workforce since 2008, and almost a quarter of health department staff are currently eligible for retirement. This bill provides $7.66 billion to bolster the public health workforce and COVID-19 response.

  • Community Health Centers and Health Disparities: Deeply rooted systemic racism, bias, and discrimination have created health disparities that have been exacerbated by the flawed pandemic response. Significant investments are necessary to repair, and begin to reverse, these disparities – this bill delivers immediate relief to frontline providers who serve communities of color and underserved populations hardest hit by pandemic. This includes $7.6 billion for community health centers, $1.44 billion for Older Americans Act programs, $800 million for the National Health Services Corps and more.

  • Mental Health: The need for accessible mental health and substance use disorder treatment has skyrocketed during the pandemic, with cash-strapped states and localities struggling to meet the need. The bill includes $3.88 billion to expand on those investments made in the year-end 2020 package to increase availability of treatment.

  • K-12 Schools: ARP provides over $125 billion for public K-12 schools to safely reopen schools for in-person learning, address learning loss, and support students as they work to recover from the long-term impacts of the pandemic. The bill includes $122.747 billion in funding for the Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief Fund (ESSER). States are required to subgrant at least 90 percent of ESSER funds to school districts to support the implementation of public health protocols to safely reopen schools for in-person learning, address students’ learning loss, and meet students’ long-term academic, social, and emotional needs. School districts and States are required to use at least 20 percent and 5 percent, respectively, of ESSER funds to implement evidence-based interventions to address learning loss. States are also required to use an additional 1 percent of their state-level ESSER funds for evidence-based summer enrichment programs and an additional 1 percent of their state-level ESSER funds for evidence-based comprehensive afterschool programs. Additionally, ARP includes $800 million in dedicated funding for the identification and provision of wraparound services for students experiencing homelessness and over $3 billion in funding for programs authorized under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. ARP also includes $2.75 billion for States to provide services to non-public schools that serve a significant percentage of students from low-income families. A “maintenance of effort” provision will help to protect against K-12 education cuts at the state and local level and a “maintenance of equity” requirement will ensure higher-poverty school districts and schools do not shoulder a disproportionate amount of any state or local education cuts that do occur.

  • Higher Ed: ARPA provides $39.6 billion to colleges and universities and their students. At least half of such funding must be spent on emergency financial aid grants to students to help them with college costs and basic needs like food, housing, and health care, with the other half available to institutions of higher education to defray lost revenue and increased costs from declining enrollment, the transition to online learning, closures of revenue-producing services and facilities, and COVID-19 testing, vaccination, PPE, and classroom retrofits. Institutions have shed over 650,000 jobs since the pandemic began, the fastest in recorded history, often hitting low-wage workers and staff of color hardest. A “maintenance of effort” provision will help to protect against higher education cuts at the state and local level.

  • Child Care and Head Start: ARPA includes $39 billion for child care, including nearly $24 billion for Child Care Stabilization grants and nearly $15 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program. States must use Child Care Stabilization funds to award subgrants to qualified child care providers that are either open or temporarily closed to help support their operations during the pandemic. Subgrants can be used for expenses such as personnel expenses, rent and mortgage payments, cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment, mental health services for children and staff, and other goods and services necessary to maintain or resume operations of the child care provider. Subgrant recipients must certify that they will abide by state and local public health guidance, continue to pay their staff full wages, and provide copayment and tuition relief to families, to the extent possible, as a condition of subgrant funding. States may reserve up to 10 percent of grant funds for supply building, administrative, and technical assistance costs. The Child Care Stabilization funding will help sustain an estimated 449,000 child care providers, serving a total of 7.3 million children, for 6 months. The CCDBG funds can be used flexibly by states, including for child care subsidies. ARPA gives states the authority to expand eligibility for child care assistance to essential workers, regardless of their income. The CCDBG funds will expand child care assistance to an estimated 875,000 children. ARPA also includes $1 billion for Head Start, to ensure Head Start programs have the resources they need to continue safely providing services to children and families throughout the pandemic.

  • Family Violence and Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA): ARPA includes $350 million in funding for programs authorized under CAPTA. Families are facing increased stressors related to financial hardship and isolation during this pandemic. This includes $250 million in funding for community-based child abuse prevention programs to provide services to strengthen and support families throughout the pandemic. The funding will ensure that child welfare agencies have the necessary supports to safely prevent, investigate, and treat child abuse and neglect. The proposal also includes funding for domestic violence and sexual assault service providers.

  • LIHEAP and Water Utility Bill Assistance: ARPA includes $4.5 billion for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and $500 million for low-income water assistance. One of the first bills that low-income individuals stop paying when under financial hardship are utility bills. During the COVID-19 pandemic, and especially this winter, non-payment rates have skyrocketed for electricity, heating, and water utilities, posing a mounting risk of utility shutoffs in the middle of the winter, during a pandemic. Funding for LIHEAP and water utility bill assistance will provide vital support to help low income families meet their utility expenses.

  • Institute of Museum and Library Services: ARPA includes $200 million in funding for libraries through IMLS. These funds will provide emergency relief to over 17,000 public libraries across the country. This funding will allow libraries to safely reopen and implement public health protocols. This emergency relief will enable libraries to provide residents with accessible Wi-Fi, internet hotspots, education resources, expanded digital resources, and workforce development opportunities, which are heavily relied upon services for marginalized individuals.

  • National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH): ARPA includes $135 million apiece for the NEA and NEH. These funds will support arts and cultural organizations to address layoffs, budget cuts, and implementation of public health protocols to safely reopen. 

  • Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS): ARPA includes $1 billion to support CNCS. Additional funding will position AmeriCorps to increase the number of national service participants while making immediate targeted investments to meet the priorities outlined in the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 response strategy, including helping schools safely reopen, tackling the growing hunger crisis, and helping communities across the nation address other challenges brought on by the pandemic.

  • Department of Labor (DOL): ARPA provides additional funding of $200 million for DOL worker protection enforcement activities. This includes increases to the Wage and Hour Division, the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, the Office of the Solicitor, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Office of Inspector General.
Title III - Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

  • Emergency Rental Assistance: The $25 billion in emergency rental assistance provided in the December package was a good start, but falls short of the estimated $57 billion in back rent that renters already owed as of January. The ARPA includes $21.55 billion in Emergency Rental Assistance to augment funds provided to states, localities, and territories in December to help families pay the rent and utilities and stay in their homes. 

  • Housing Counseling: Millions of homeowners and renters are behind on monthly payments and will need help navigating assistance and modification and workout options. Housing counselors are on the front lines of providing this advice, yet they have not received funding since the pandemic began. The ARPA provides $100 million for housing counseling, which will be distributed to housing counseling organizations through NeighborWorks. This funding will allow counselors to help both homeowners and renters remain in their homes and avoid being faced with overwhelming debt burdens. 

  • Assistance for People Experiencing Homelessness: Before the pandemic, there were already an estimated 568,000 individuals and families experiencing homelessness, many of whom have underlying health challenges. The ARPA includes $5 billion to help communities provide supportive services and safe, socially distant housing solutions, including purchase of properties like motels for use as non-congregate shelter, to protect the health of these families and individuals and help control transmission of coronavirus.

  • Emergency Housing Vouchers: Emergency housing vouchers will transition high-need homeless and at-risk families, youth, and individuals, including survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, to stable housing. The $5 billion included in the ARPA bill will provide a more stable platform to access health care, education, and jobs. Emergency housing vouchers will expire after these assisted families no longer need them.

  • Rural Rental Assistance: The bill provides $100 million to support households residing in USDA-subsidized rural properties and who are struggling to pay rent during the coronavirus.

  • Mortgage and Utility Assistance: An estimated 3.3 million homeowners are behind on their payments or in foreclosure, and more homeowners are likely behind on utilities and property taxes. Homeowners of color are disproportionately likely to have fallen behind during the pandemic. There has been no funding dedicated to assist homeowners since the pandemic began, and with millions of forbearance plans set to expire in the months ahead, funding will be critical to help homeowners get back on track. The ARPA provides $9.961 billion in funding through the Department of Treasury to states, territories, tribes, and tribally designated housing entities to provide direct assistance to homeowners.

  • Rural Homeowners: Thousands of low-income households who have become homeowners through the USDA 502 and 504 Direct mortgage programs have fallen behind on their payments during this pandemic. The ARPA provides $39 million for these mortgage programs to allow USDA to help homeowners who have fallen behind get back on track.

  • Fair Housing: Fair housing organizations help renters, homeowners, and housing providers identify and combat housing discrimination and need additional resources to address the sudden increase in housing challenges and need for socially-distanced services amid the pandemic. The ARPA provides $20 million to help fair housing organizations meet increased fair housing needs. 

  • Public Transportation: Public transportation agencies estimate they face more than tens of billions of additional costs and revenue losses related to the COVID-19 crisis. The ARPA provides $30.4 billion of additional relief funding to transit agencies to prevent layoffs of transit workers and prevent severe cuts to transit services that essential workers and the general public rely on. Most of the transit relief funding is provided as formula grants based on operating costs, the bipartisan formula established in preceding relief legislation. Funding is also included to ensure that ongoing transit construction projects do not experience costly delays or slowdowns. The legislation also includes $100 million to preserve intercity buses services under the section 5311(f) program.

  • Defense Production Act: In order to combat COVID-19 and address shortfalls in our medical supply chain, the ARPA provides $10 billion to expand domestic production of PPE, vaccines, and other medical supplies. 
Title IV - Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

  • Disaster Relief Fund & Funeral Assistance: The bill will provide $50 million for the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which assists states, Tribal Nations, and territories, as well as individuals and qualifying private nonprofits, as they respond to the over 29 million COVID-19 cases across the country that have led to over 525,000 deaths. This funding can pay for personal protective equipment; vaccine distribution; sanitization of schools, public transit, and courthouses; health care overtime costs; and other needs. This money can also be allocated to extending the funeral assistance program in the last COVID relief package that will reimburse those who have lost a loved one to COVID for many common funeral expenses.
  • FEMA Grant Programs: Emergency managers, firefighters, and governmental and non-governmental organizations such as food pantries and shelters have been on the frontlines of COVID-19 response across the country. These organizations have been strained by surges in need and demand for their help. The pandemic has increased operational costs, reduced capacity, and created shortfalls in many municipal budgets. The bill provides grant funding for the FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter Program; Emergency Management Performance Grants; Assistance to Firefighter Grants; and, Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants. These resources will ensure that these critical frontline organizations will be able to continue to support COVID-19 response locally, provide vital services, deliver humanitarian relief, and maintain capacity to respond to other emergencies in their communities. 

Title V - Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship 

  • Targeted EIDL Grants: The bill will add $15 billion in new funding for Targeted EIDL grants to provide hard-hit, underserved small businesses with increased flexible grant relief. These grants will be particularly helpful for very small businesses and sole proprietors, which include over 90 percent of minority-owned businesses that have been disproportionately devastated by this crisis.

  • Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program: This bill provides $1.25 billion in additional funds for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program because last year’s end-of-year package did not include sufficient funding to ensure all eligible applicants would be covered based on rough estimates. Eligible applicants can now access both the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant and PPP to address SVOG’s delayed start. 

  • Expanded PPP Eligibility: This bill expands PPP eligibility to include additional nonprofits such as 501(c)(5) labor and agricultural organizations and community locations of larger nonprofits and provides $7 billion for that purpose. Nonprofits are a significant sector in the economy and are on the frontlines of providing social services during this crisis. An additional $250 million is also provided to expand PPP eligibility for digital news services that provide local news and lifesaving information about public health guidance during the pandemic.

  • Community Navigator Technical Assistance and Administrative Funding: The bill provides $175 million in new assistance to fund community organizations, SBA resource partners, and community financial institutions with experience working in minority, immigrant, and rural communities to serve as community navigators to help connect small business owners in these communities to critical resources, including small business loans, business licenses, and federal, state, and local business assistance programs. The bill also includes $1.325 billion to support SBA’s mission and to administer the new grants and other relief programs. 
Title VI - Committee on Environment and Public Works 

  • Economic Development Administration: Funding provides flexible investment for rebuilding local economies and hard-hit industries, including tourism and travel. The American Rescue Plan provides the Economic Development Administration with $3 billion to aid communities in rebuilding local economies, which includes $750 million for the travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation sectors. Previously, the CARES Act provided $1.5 billion for economic adjustment assistance to help revitalize local communities after the pandemic. The CARES funding is oversubscribed, with the amount of funding requested far outstripping the available amount, as communities face growing needs in responding to the significant job losses caused by COVID-19. This funding will also help EDA fulfill its role as the lead agency under the National Disaster Response Framework to assist communities with economic recovery following a disaster, including the current health pandemic.

  • Broadband for Remote Learning: At least 12 million K-12 public school students live in households without either an internet connection or a device adequate for distance learning at home. And, a disproportionate amount of the children that lack Internet connectivity come from communities of color, low-income households, Tribal lands, and rural areas. This bill will provide $7.172 billion to the Federal Communications Commission to help schools and libraries ensure that our nation’s schoolchildren can fully participate in remote learning, even as schools look to reopen safely.

  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting: The $175 million in support for public broadcasting provided by this bill will help public broadcasters around the country weather the economic fallout to their stations from the COVID crisis. This stabilization support is critical for ensuring universal access to public broadcasting and the high-quality, non-commercial content and telecommunications services they provide that educate, inform, and help protect the public. 

  • Consumer Product Safety: The pandemic has exposed weaknesses in the nation’s ability to detect and deter unsafe consumer products entering the United States, ranging from a lack of port inspectors to insufficient ability to monitor increases in online sales. This bill provides $50 million in needed funds to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to help the agency protect the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with consumer products during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Prevention of COVID-19 Scams: In 2020, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission tracked a record 4.7 million consumer complaints, including over 365,000 reports of fraud, identity theft, and other scams related to the pandemic. The bill appropriates $30.4 million to the FTC to combat the rise in consumer scams during the pandemic. This funding would allow the FTC to employ more personnel and enhance enforcement efforts to root out COVID-19 scams. 

Title VIII – Committee on Veterans’ Affairs 

  • Copay Waivers: The bill provides funding to waive copays for veterans during the pandemic, and to provide health care services and support to veterans, including COVID-19 vaccine distribution, expanded mental health care, enhanced tele-health capabilities, extended support for veterans who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless, and PPE and supplies for clinical employees.

  • Retraining: It also establishes a new program to provide retraining assistance for veterans who have lost their jobs due to COVID, and includes funding for VA to mitigate the pandemic’s impacts on the benefits claims and appeals backlog.

  • State Veterans Homes: Many states have struggled to protect veterans from COVID, this bill provides funding to support COVID-19 response, staff and veteran safety, and preparedness at these facilities through one-time payments to support operations and additional construction grants to support shovel-ready projects.

  • VA Health Care: Millions of veterans have had their health care appointments delayed during the course of the pandemic, and this bill provides critical funding to ensure VA is able to provide the highest quality of care to veterans when they need it. 

Title IX – Committee on Finance 

  • Direct Payments: This package includes a $1,400 payment to supplement the $600 already provided in December. With the economy on weakened footing, another round of rebates is critical to sustaining household spending for the beginning of 2021.

  • Unemployment Insurance extension: The bill extends the critical financial lifeline of enhanced unemployment insurance for the 18 million Americans that are currently relying on these benefits until September 6, 2021. This includes an extension of the federal unemployment insurance bump that is added to all unemployment benefits (Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, or FPUC), at the current law amount of $300. It also includes extensions of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which expands eligibility for the self-employed, gig workers, freelancers and others in non-traditional employment who do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance, as well as the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which makes additional weeks of benefits available to workers who exhaust their state benefits. All other CARES Act and Families First Act unemployment programs are similarly extended until September 6, 2021.

  • Unemployment Insurance Taxation: The bill creates a $10,200 tax exclusion for unemployment compensation income for tax year 2020 for households with incomes under $150,000. 

  • EITC and CTC: The COVID-19 recession has greatly exacerbated income inequality in America. This bill also includes a significant expansion of two of the most powerful and effective anti-poverty tools the U.S. government has: the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). It will nearly triple the maximum EITC for childless workers, providing additional relief to more than 17 million of these individuals – most importantly, getting economic help to those working in essential but low-paid jobs on the frontlines of the pandemic. To put more money into the pockets of working families, it will increase the amount of the CTC, from $2,000 to $3,000 (with a more generous $3,600 credit for children under the age of 6). The CTC will also be fully refundable, ensuring this vital resource is available to the lowest-income households. It is estimated that these changes will lift nearly 10 million children across the U.S. above or closer to the poverty line. Additionally, this bill includes an expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to help working families afford the cost of child care during this crisis. This includes increasing the credit so households can receive a total of up to $4,000 for one child or $8,000 for two or more children, and making it fully refundable so families who owe little in taxes can still benefit.

  • State and Local Fiscal Aid: The bill includes needed direct aid to state and local governments. It provides $350 billion to States, territories, Tribes, and local governments to be used for responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency, to offset revenue losses, bolster economic recovery and to provide premium pay for essential workers. We also provide a new $10 billion Critical Infrastructure Projects program to help States, territories, and Tribal governments carry out critical capital projects directly enabling work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options, in response to COVID-19. State and local fiscal relief funds can be used for local economic recovery purposes, including assistance to households, small businesses and nonprofits, assistance to hard-hit industries like tourism, travel, and hospitality, and infrastructure investment. Finally, we add a new $2 billion county and Tribal assistance fund to make payments to eligible revenue-sharing counties and Tribes. Eligible counties and Tribes are those for which the Secretary determines there is a negative revenue impact owing to implementation of Federal programs or changes to those programs.

  • Health Care Support: The bill includes five main provisions to improve health coverage. First, over the next two years, it invests nearly $35 billion in premium subsidy increases for those who buy coverage on the ACA marketplaces. The bill both increases the generosity of the subsidies for those who currently are eligible for subsidies, as well as removes the 400% federal poverty level limit on subsidy eligibility. Second, given significant income fluctuations in 2020, the bill forgives more than $6 billion in payments that people would need to make if their 2020 advanced premium subsidies did not match their income. Third, the bill provides a major incentive for holdout states to expand Medicaid, offering them a 5% increase on their base FMAP rate for two years if they expand coverage. Fourth, the bill subsidizes 100 percent of COBRA premiums for six months for individuals who lost employment or had reduced hours. Fifth, for one year, the bill provides premium subsidies of ACA marketplace coverage equivalent to a person earning up to 133% FPL for people who receive unemployment compensation. The bill also includes numerous investments to reduce health disparities, including an option for states to provide one-year of postpartum Medicaid coverage, support for state home-and community-based Medicaid services, and resources for COVID-19 response in nursing homes. The bill also increases rebates that pharmaceutical companies owe to Medicaid programs, provides $8.5 billion for rural providers, provides additional funding to safety-net hospitals and more.

  • Paid Sick Leave Credit: The bill provides an extension and expansion of the paid sick and FMLA leave tax credits created in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020. It provides payroll tax credits for employers who voluntarily provide paid leave through the end of September 2021. It also expands eligibility to state and local governments that provide this benefit.

  • Employee Retention Tax Credit: The bill extends and expands the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) through December 31, 2021. The ERTC, originally enacted in the CARES Act, helps struggling businesses retain and rehire workers. The bill expands the ERTC to allow certain severely distressed businesses to claim the credit for a greater share of employee wages. It also expands the credit to cover newly formed businesses, to help spur hiring and recovery. 

  • Tax Treatment of Certain SBA Programs: The bill provides for the tax-free treatment of Targeted EIDL Advances and Restaurant Revitalization Grants. It also clarifies that any otherwise-allowable deductions continue to be deductible notwithstanding the tax-free treatment of grant proceeds.
  • Modification of Reporting Requirements for Third Party Network Transactions: The bill lowers and modifies the threshold below which a third-party settlement organization is not required to report payments to participants in its network. For any calendar year beginning after December 31, 2021, a third-party settlement organization is required to report transactions with any participating payee that exceed a minimum threshold of $600 in aggregate payments, regardless of the aggregate number of such transactions. 

  • Extension of Excess Business Loss Limitation: The bill extends for one year, through December 31, 2026, the limitation on excess business losses of non-corporate taxpayers. 

Title XI - Committee on Indian Affairs 

  • The federal government holds trust and treaty obligations to provide essential safety-net programs that serve Native communities, which were historically underfunded prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. These programs have experienced significant strain as they attempt to respond to and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on Native communities.

  • Health Care: The Indian Health Service (IHS) serves 2.56 million American Indian/Alaska Natives (AIANs) through health care facilities operated by the federal government, Indian Tribes, and Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs). According to the CDC, AIANs are hospitalized for COVID-19 at four times the rate of Non-Hispanic Whites. This Title authorizes direct funding for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Indian Health Service (IHS) to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on operation of essential health and sanitation programs, including increasing mental health and substance use disorder prevention/treatment, improving health IT, addressing Native community sanitation issues, and replacing lost third party medical billing reimbursements (e.g., private insurance, Medicaid, Medicare) to ensure federally-operated IHS facilities, Tribally-operated IHS facilities, and facilities operated by UIOs can continue operations despite estimated budget shortfalls of 30-80%.

  • Public Safety, Child Welfare, Assistance to Tribal Governments, and Essential Infrastructure: The Bureau of Indian Affairs operates essential programs for the benefit of tribes across Indian Country. Many of these programs continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including law enforcement, child welfare, general assistance, housing assistance, and certain water infrastructure and delivery programs. However, despite the importance of keeping these programs running, the Bureau of Indian Affairs has not received additional resources to support these programs since March of last year. This Title authorizes direct funding for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on operation of its essential social welfare and public safety programs.

  • Education: The Department of Education and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) provide direct support for Native students in fulfillment of the federal trust responsibility. The majority of schools and dormitories serving Native students have critical infrastructure and facilities needs that would make returning to in-person education unsafe for staff and students during the ongoing pandemic. Additionally, many Native students live in highly rural areas without adequate broadband connectivity. Some estimates suggest that roughly 69% BIE students do not have access to virtual learning opportunities because of the digital divide, leaving these students to rely on receiving instruction by mail or risk potential COVID-19 exposure to find internet access points in other parts of their communities. This Title authorizes direct funding for the Native education programs and schools. From these funds, it specifies that these funds must be used for BIE-funded schools/dormitories and Tribal colleges and universities; and programs that support Tribal Education Agencies, Native Hawaiian education organizations, and Alaska Native education organizations.

  • Housing: Native Americans have historically experienced higher rates of substandard and overcrowded housing compared to other demographics, a situation made even more dire by COVID-19, which spreads more readily in crowded, indoor environments. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Native communities experience overcrowding in their homes at seven times the national average. Native Americans also experience high rates of homelessness. Nationwide, they have the second-highest rate of homelessness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published research that linked poor housing conditions to the disproportionately higher COVID-19 infection and death rate among Native Americans. This section authorizes direct funding for the HUD’s Office of Native American Programs to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on operation of its Native American housing and community development programs. 

  • Native Languages: There are an estimated 150 Native languages still spoken in the U.S. today. But, more than 80% of these languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers - many have fewer than 100. Because of the limited size and age of speaker populations, the COVID-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented threat to the survival of Native languages. This Title authorizes direct funding for the Department of Health and Human Service’s Administration for Native Americans (ANA) to issue emergency Native American language preservation and maintenance grants to Native American language communities to mitigate COVID-19 related disruptions or threats to the survival and continued vitality of their mother tongues.
Other Federal Level News

PPP Application Deadline: There is growing interest in extending the PPP application deadline beyond March 31. We’ve previously reported on letters from nonprofit organizationsbusiness groups, and accounting professionals that push for extending the sunset for several more months to give employers time to apply. At a House Small Business Committee hearing today, Chair Velazquez (D-NY) recognized in her opening statement the “need for Congress to consider a short-term extension beyond March 31.” Republican members repeatedly commented that the PPP was never intended to be a permanent program, but seemed to stop short of opposing an extension. Earlier in the week, Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Cardin (D-MD) stated that he supports an extension if it could pass on a bipartisan basis.

Universal Charitable Deduction: The Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act – S. 618 and H.R 1704 is a bipartisan proposal to extend and expand the universal charitable deduction. The bill would ensure that Americans who donate to non-profits such as charitable and religious organizations are able to deduct their giving from their federal tax liability at a higher level than the $300 deduction instituted temporarily through two of the COVID-19 relief packages. The Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act would empower Americans who do not itemize on their tax returns to exclude a larger amount of their charitable giving from their taxable income—up to one-third the value of the standard deduction (which is about $4,000 for individuals and $8,000 for married couples filing jointly). 
NAO is in support of the passage of this bill. 

WORK NOW Act: NAO is proud to see that both of Oregon’s Senators Wyden and Merkley are co-sponsors of the WORK NOW Act. The legislation to provide $50 billion in grants to charitable nonprofits to expand staff and hire unemployed individuals is scheduled for introduction today (Thursday). The Senate version of the WORK NOW Act will be sponsored by Senator Klobuchar (D-MN) and joining our Senators in co-sponsorship are Senators Baldwin (WI), Blumenthal (CT), Brown (OH), Casey (PA), Coons (DE), Duckworth (IL), Feinstein (CA), Markey (MA), Schatz (HI), and Smith (MN). Representative Sanchez (D-CA) is the House sponsor.
Upcoming Online Sessions

NAO offers practical, affordable learning and convening programs in a variety of formats, including convenings, webinars, and cohort series, and webinars. 

Convening Opportunities

NAO’s 2021 Guiding More Good Virtual Conference, Saturday morning, March 13, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. PT: Carrying on the Center for Nonprofit Stewardship’s tradition, this conference will bring you exciting expert speakers, practical resources, and virtual networking opportunities. Session topics include fundraising, finance, and governance. This event will be especially applicable for smaller nonprofits, primarily those that are all-volunteer or with 1-2 staff members. More details and registration here.

Curry County Virtual Nonprofit Resource Roundup – April 7, Noon – 1:45 p.m. PT: Join us for a unique opportunity for nonprofit staff, board members and volunteers of Curry County to connect with funders and learn about resources available to you through NAO. Each participant will have the opportunity to connect with each of our funders in small breakout groups, network with peers, and much more! This event is free and will include representatives from The Ford Family Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Community Foundation, and the Coquille Tribal Community Fund. Space is limited. More details and registration information here.

Webinar Sessions

Oregon Legislative Update - The Nonprofit Perspective, Wednesday, March 24, 10 – 11 a.m. PT: Join NAO’s Executive Director, Jim White for an update on the 2021 Oregon legislative session with a focus on the bills that NAO believes would have the most impact on nonprofits. With Oregon’s lawmakers nearly halfway through the regular session for 2021 and hundreds of bills already heard, join us for this 60-minute informational session to learn what should nonprofit leaders know, be aware of, and take action on. We will also hear from special guest, Chris Cobey of Voter Service Chair for League of Women Voters of Portland on the redistricting issue. How does redistricting fit into the legislature's work? Why is it important to your nonprofit? And how can you participate, both as an entity and individually, to affect the redistricting process?. This event will be free to NAO members. More details and registration information here.

Strategies for Creating Inclusive Work Environments, Tuesday, March 30, 10 – 11 a.m. PT: Inclusion is about acknowledging and valuing people’s differences so as to enrich or shift social planning, decision making, and quality of life for everyone. In an inclusive society, we all have a sense of belonging, acceptance, and recognition as valued and contributing members of society. How do we apply this to our work environments and programs? Join educator, DEI consultant and expert, Alexis James from Construct the Present for an interactive workshop to talk about putting inclusion into action! Come ready to work in virtual table groups to share your ideas and learn from others. More details and registration information here.

Building Your Nonprofit Financial Strategy, Thursday, April 15, 10 – Noon PT: The current public health crisis and resulting economic realities have disrupted many nonprofits’ operations and funding sources, with longer-term impacts that remain unknown. In this two-hour webinar, Scott Schaffer, Principal of Public Interest Management Group will help nonprofit leaders visualize and chart a financial strategy to proactively address the short- and longer-term impacts of the crisis. At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will develop a conceptual framework to pave a pathway toward financial sustainability amid uncertainty. More details and registration information here.

QuickBooks Desktop Edition Made Easy for Nonprofits, May 25, 26, and 27, 11 – 1 p.m. PT: Gregg S. Bossen, CPA of QuickBooks Made Easy, is partnering with NAO to offer an updated three-part QuickBooks® training webinar for nonprofits. This webinar is for the Desktop edition of QuickBooks. Gregg will cover the basics of setting up and entering transactions specifically for nonprofits, an overview of the software updates included in the QuickBooks® 2021 Desktop Edition, as well as advanced topics covering a host of specific processes that will help you do more helpful and amazing things! Register for the three-part webinar here.
QuickBooks Online Edition Made Easy for Nonprofits, June 1, 2 and 3, 11 – 1 p.m. PT: Gregg S. Bossen, CPA of QuickBooks Made Easy, is partnering with NAO to offer an updated three-part QuickBooks® training webinar for nonprofits. This webinar is for the Online edition of QuickBooks. Gregg will cover the basics of setting up and entering transactions specifically for nonprofits, an overview of the software updates included in the QuickBooks® 2021 Online Edition, as well as advanced topics covering a host of specific processes that will help you do more helpful and amazing things! Register for the three-part webinar here.
Learning Cohorts

Effective Board Management for Small Nonprofits, five Thursday weekly interactive sessions – March 18 through April 15, 11 – 12:15 p.m. PT: This five-part series builds on the lessons from the Becoming a Great Board Member webinar to include tools for effective board management. Join a cohort of nonprofit leaders to learn about board management best practices while gaining insight from each other’s challenges and solutions, and problem solving together. This cohort is for new and potential board members who want to understand the fundamentals of board service, seasoned board members looking to increase their board’s effectiveness, and staff and volunteers who support the board. More details and registration information here.
How to Build and Support Strong Teams, five Monday weekly interactive sessions – April 9 through May 7, 12:15 – 1:15 p.m. PT: This five-session interactive series will provide you with coaching tools and frameworks, while allowing you practice these with your peers, using real-life challenges that you are facing, working with an experienced executive and leadership coach. Presented by Anna Young, Principal, Anna Young Leadership Coaching, this cohort is designed to be applicable within the remote working environment as well as translate to a return to the workplace context. More details and registration information here.
Creating a Strong Volunteer Program for Small, Rural Nonprofits, five Monday weekly interactive sessions – April 12 through May 10, Noon – 1:15 p.m. PT: Are you a small, rural nonprofit that utilizes volunteers but doesn’t have a robust system for recruitment and retention? Are you struggling to adapt your volunteer program to meet the challenges of the virtual world we’re living in? Join a group of your peers for this five-session interactive series that will help you create a strong volunteer program that provides a framework for organizational success and benchmarks for volunteer engagement and satisfaction. More details and registration information here.

If you have any questions or difficulties registering, contact NAO's Training Program Coordinator 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.