September 15, 2020
Hello Nonprofit Leaders and Supporters,

We are now well into our second week of fires raging across our state and whole communities have been displaced. An estimated 40,000 people have been evacuated and remain displaced from their homes. There are no complete estimates on damages, as the fires continue to burn in some cases with limited or no containment. In my experience in mass scale disaster events such as these, the damage to homes, properties, and businesses will undoubtedly be in the billions of dollars and the recovery and rebuilding efforts will take a decade or more.   
 
In some heartening news yesterday, Governor Brown announced that, at her request, The Ford Family Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust and the Oregon Community Foundation have established 2020 Community Rebuilding Fund with the goal “to  gather resources  and  plan for  what comes next after the extraordinary devastation brought by wildfires across a state already reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic and  consequences of  racial injustice.”  The fund will seek to leverage public investment with private and philanthropic investment to catalyze a rebuilding effort for a stronger Oregon. We deeply appreciate the leadership of these foundations for taking on the enormous responsibility for this rebuilding effort. As the fund has just been launched, we do not yet have information on how it will work, what criteria will be used for eligibility and other key issues that I know community members and nonprofits will be asking. We will work to get that clarity as soon as possible.  
 
In the short term, the 40,000 people who have been displaced are needing all kind of service support from you, our nonprofit sector leaders. While we hope that many of the impacted will be able to return to their communities soon and have homes to stay in, news reports and information so far points to hundreds of homes having been burned completely. With winter fast approaching, many of those displaced will need temporary emergency housing and services.  
 
Several emergency funds for short-term relief efforts have been set-up by the United Ways and several foundations and nonprofits to work on these immediate needs. We at NAO thank all of you who have responded and are continuing to respond to these critical needs. We have curated a set of resources and links and created an Oregon Wildfire Response Resources page 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 local county Office of Emergency Management, United Ways and County/Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COADs).
At the State Level

Yesterday, the Governor submitted a major disaster declaration request to the White House. Under the Stafford Act, this declaration, if approved, provides a wide range of federal assistance programs for individuals and public infrastructure, including funds for both emergency and permanent work. That declaration request has the full support of Oregon two Senators and all of our Congressional delegation.

Governor Brown announced yesterday that she will veto a number of budget adjustments passed by legislators last month, restoring planned cuts to a handful of state agencies while scrapping $100 million lawmakers had earmarked for emergency spending.

The notice of the line-item vetoes was contained in two budget bills Monday afternoon. The Governor indicated that the line-item vetoes will keep more money in state coffers while funding response to dozens of wildfires burning in the western part of the state. The Governor is required under the constitution to provide at least five days' notice before issuing vetoes.

OPB is reporting that the Governor is first eliminating $100 million that the Legislature gave to its own emergency board in order to deal with pandemic-related cost increases on health care and social services. That money will be kept in state coffers instead. This could significantly impact the plans already in motion with nonprofits that receive state funds for those services. We are working to get better clarity on what exactly might be cut and kept. 
At the Federal Level

The House returned to Washington, D.C. yesterday, triggering wildly diverging rumors about what is going to happen this month. Conventional wisdom has it that no COVID deal will be struck and Congress will adjourn until after the elections once it passes a temporary spending bill. It is of the highest priority for nonprofits to disrupt that thinking and generate sufficient engagement, outrage, and discomfort to convince Congress to act sooner than later. Here are some variables:

Short-Term Continuing Resolution: The one thing that is “agreed to” between Speaker Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin is a shared desire to pass a “clean” continuing resolution (CR), a short-term spending bill that keeps all federal departments and programs funded and operating until a date in December or later. The House is scheduled to vote on the CR next week, although the measure hasn’t been written yet. Negotiations are ongoing over whether additional provisions might be added to the “clean” bill. Every politician and lobbyist in D.C. has a list of things to attach, which is why Speaker Pelosi reportedly is rejecting all proposals and has been quoted as saying something to the effect of “clean means clean.”

Moderate Democratic Revolt in the House? Yesterday, there were numerous reports that moderates in the House are agitating for a cheaper COVID bill costing about $2.2 trillion (the House-passed HEROES Act would cost $3.4 trillion). The argument is that it’s been four months since the House last voted on COVID relief and moderate Democrats need a recent vote to show they are focused on the immediate needs in their communities. House Budget Committee Chair Yarmouth (D-KY) said in an interview, “We should pass a targeted bill with our top immediate priorities—UI, food support, state and local aid, maybe some small business help.” Speaker Pelosi reportedly has rejected the suggestion and is urging Democrats to remain firm in the negotiations.

Bipartisan House Approach? Several state association colleagues and national organizations have heard rumors that the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of 40 or so Representatives, will soon be offering a COVID-relief bill costing between $1.5 trillion and $2 trillion. Representative Kurt Schrader (OR-D 5th) is the Vice-Co-Chair of this Caucus. It’s expected to propose about $500 billion in aid to state and local governments. Rumors and reports claim that White House Chief of Staff Meadows and Secretary Mnuchin are tacitly encouraging the work of the caucus. We are checking with Representative Schrader’s office and hope to learn more on what they are doing and whether bipartisan nonprofit priorities will be included. 
 
Bill to Extend Key 2020 Census Deadlines Due to COVID-19 Pandemic Introduced: Today, U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) introduced a bipartisan bill that would extend two key statutory deadlines for the 2020 Census by four months and require the Census Bureau to continue field operations through October 31, 2020. This bipartisan bill would help ensure accurate count by extending these deadlines. Delays in census operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic could result in a severe undercount of the population, specifically in Native, minority, and rural communities across the country. These extensions would allow the Census Bureau to continue collecting and processing data, which will lead to a more accurate count. In August, Senators Schatz and Murkowski led a bipartisan group of 48 senators urging congressional leaders to include these deadline extensions in the next coronavirus relief package. More than 200 groups have endorsed the legislation, including the Nonprofit Association of Oregon, the National Association of Counties, U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities, National Organization of Black County Officials, National Council of Nonprofits, National Congress of American Indians, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NALEO Educational Fund, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and MALDEF. A full list of endorsements can be found here.
Upcoming Online Sessions

In case you missed our earlier announcement, NAO has made the decision, to hold off on convening our 20120-2021 in-person networks that we usually launch in the fall of each year. Instead, we will extend the strategy deployed in mid-March when COVID-19 restrictions were first put in place to hold online sessions – free of charge to participants - until such time that the State of Oregon and the Oregon Health Authority lift restrictions on in-person gatherings. We thank our supporting foundations, corporate sponsors and members for making this possible.  Here is what we’ve got coming up over the next few weeks:

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.
 
Collaborative Fundraising: Moving From Scarcity to Abundance, Wednesday, September 30, 9 – 10 a.m. PT: Fundraising doesn't have to be a competitive sport. There are times when multiple organizations, working together, can raise a lot more money collectively. Join Andy Robinson, Principal at Andy Robinson Consulting, who will dive into the specifics of shared fundraising, including: options for collaborative fundraising, why donors and funders appreciate this approach, sorting out the work, dividing up the money, and fundraising with unexpected partners. Register for the session here

The Impact of COVID-19 on Oregon Charitable Nonprofits, Thursday, October 1, Noon – 1 p.m. PT: Grace L. Chikoto-Schultz, PhD, Assistant Professor at Portland State University and Jim White, Executive Director at NAO will share the findings of the COVID-19 Impacts on Oregon charitable nonprofits survey conducted in June. The survey was aimed at quantifying the challenges nonprofits are facing. The findings underscore not only the importance of the nonprofit sector at this time, but also the pain these organizations are feeling and the hope and concerns they have for the future. Join Grace and Jim for a discussion about what these findings mean for the sector as we chart a path forward through this uncertainty and COVID-19 crisis. Register for the session here.

Virtual Fundraising Events, Tuesday, October 6, 10 – 11 a.m. PT: Many organizations are reimagining their in-person fundraising events in amazing ways across digital platforms. Samantha Swaim. Principal at Swaim Strategies will guide you on virtual events, how they can support your organization’s mission and fundraising efforts, and what you need to put together for a successful and impactful event. Samantha will discuss virtual fundraising event how-tos, trends and what’s working in the virtual space, understand technology needs to go virtual; and looking ahead to how virtual events will change in the future. 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.

Wait, Now I’m Managing Remote Workers? Addressing Legal and Practical Realities of a Virtual Workforce, Thursday, October 15, 10 – 11 a.m. PT: Many nonprofits hastily converted to virtual work with the onset of COVID-19. Now, what started as a short-term solution has shifted to a permanent or long-term strategy to keep mission-critical work moving forward. Leaders are grappling with how to support their employees in this changed work environment, how to manage organizational risk around employee matters, and how to keep their teams safe, productive, and effective. P.K. Runkles-Pearson, Partner at Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP will dive into the important legal and practical considerations nonprofit employers must consider and address as they adapt to the “new normal.” Register for the session here.

QuickBooks Made Easy Webinar: Desktop, November 10, 11, and 12, 11 a.m. – 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® 2020 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 Made Easy Webinar: Online, November 17, 18, and 19, 11 a.m. – 1 pm. 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® 2020 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.
I hope that you all 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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