July 24, 2020
Note: The North Carolina Center for Nonprofits typically provides Nonprofit Policy Matters each week as a benefit to its nonprofit members . However, to help all North Carolina nonprofits respond to the COVID-19 crisis, we're temporarily providing this newsletter to non-member nonprofits.
In this issue...
Share your nonprofit’s 2020 advocacy successes
President directs Commerce Department to exclude undocumented immigrants from Census count
Congress expected to provide additional COVID-19 relief in next two weeks
Census tip of the week: Get-out-the-count funding available for nonprofits
Learn about nonpartisan voter education for nonprofits
Federal Reserve revises plans for nonprofit lending program 
Share Your Nonprofit’s 2020 Advocacy Successes
Earlier this month, the Center compiled a summary of the key state policy developments affecting nonprofits during this year’s legislative session. Nonprofits’ advocacy made a difference on every policy issue identified in this summary (and many other issues that weren’t included). Many bills were introduced because of the recommendations of nonprofits. Other legislation was improved because nonprofits explained to policymakers the negative consequences that proposals might have on the communities they serve. In some cases, nonprofits helped stop bills that would have been detrimental to their missions. 

In challenging times like now, it is particularly important for nonprofits to share, celebrate, and learn from their advocacy successes. Please share your story about how your nonprofit advocated on public policy issues at the federal, state, or local level this year so other nonprofits can learn from your great advocacy work!
President Directs Commerce Department to Exclude Undocumented Immigrants from Census Count
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed a memorandum instructing the U.S. Department of Commerce to exclude undocumented immigrants from the 2020 Census that he sends to Congress at the end of the count. As the NC Counts Coalition explained in a statement responding to the memorandum, this action, which directly contradicts the U.S. Constitution, would politicize the Census and could lead to an undercount of North Carolinians, costing our communities federal funding for healthcare, food security, affordable housing, unemployment insurance, and many other essential needs.

The NC Counts Coalition statement concludes with a call to action for nonprofits and other community organizations to continue their efforts to achieve a complete and accurate count of all North Carolina residents in the 2020 Census: “The Census is the most inclusive form of civic engagement in our country, and it increases equity in our communities. An attempt to prevent any persons from being counted is a direct attack on our democracy, inherently unconstitutional and quite frankly dehumanizing... We must continue to educate, engage, and mobilize our communities to ensure that every person is counted.”
Congress Expected to Provide Additional COVID-19 Relief in the Next Two Weeks
This week, the White House and the U.S. Senate have been working on plans for the next COVID-19 recovery legislation. Congress is expected to introduce and pass this legislation in the next couple of weeks. Last week, thousands of nonprofits sent a letter to congressional leaders asking them to include four nonprofit policy solutions in the final package:
  1. Continue Emergency Funding Programs including improvements to the Paycheck Protection Program, creation of a nonprofit jobs-expansion program, and funding for community support grants programs that enable nonprofits to serve vulnerable populations.
  2. Provide Low-Cost Loans to Mid-Size and Larger Nonprofits that have been left out of and not able to access government funding.
  3. Strengthen Charitable Giving Incentives by expanding the incentives to all taxpayers, not just itemizers, via an above-the-line or universal charitable deduction of one-third of the standard deduction.
  4. Provide Full Unemployment Benefit Reimbursement benefits paid to laid off or furloughed employees of self-insured or reimbursing nonprofit employers.

The Center continues to work with North Carolina’s congressional delegation to ensure that nonprofit priorities are included in the next federal COVID-19 recovery bill.
Census Tip of the Week: Get-Out-the-Count Funding Available for Nonprofits
A complete and accurate count in the 2020 U.S. Census is important for nonprofits since it will help ensure that North Carolina has full representation in Congress and access to federal funding that supports the work of many nonprofits . Because nonprofits are trusted messengers that often serve hard-to-count communities, it is important for all nonprofit organizations to spread the word about the importance of completing the 2020 Census. Nonprofit’s engagement in Census outreach is particularly critical since North Carolina continues to lag behind other states in our Census response rate. As of Wednesday, North Carolina’s response rate was 58.7%, well below the national average of 62.3% (see the U.S. Census Bureau’s map of response rates for more details).
Census Tip of the Week
The NC Counts Coalition invites North Carolina nonprofits committed to ensuring a fair and accurate Census to apply for $7,000-$20,000 grants (collaborative proposals for larger amounts will be considered). Funds will support plans in North Carolina communities at risk of being undercounted, also known as hard-to-count (HTC) communities. NC Counts has recorded an informational webinar with more details for prospective applicants. Grant applications are due today.
Learn About Nonpartisan Voter Education for Nonprofits
A record number of North Carolinians are expected to vote by absentee ballot for the first time in 2020. This process could be challenging and confusing for many voters, so it will be particularly important for nonprofits to provide clear, accurate, and nonpartisan information about the election process to their staff, boards, volunteers, and those they serve this year. You Can Vote is offering a free series of Voter Empowerment Training webinars to help nonprofits effectively educate and register voters using new materials and digital tools, including:
  • The latest on changes to North Carolina’s voting laws; 
  • The 2020 election schedule and what will be on the ballot; and
  • How to successfully educate and motivate voters to cast their ballots.

Even if your nonprofit has not done nonpartisan voter registration or voter education work in the past, the Center encourages you to provide information about the election process this year.
Federal Reserve Revises Plans for Nonprofit Lending Program
Last Friday, the Federal Reserve released its revised plan to expand the Main Street Lending Program to provide access to credit for nonprofit organizations. Yesterday, the Federal Reserve posted Frequently Asked Questions to help nonprofits better understand this new lending program. The Center submitted comments to the Federal Reserve on its original draft of plans for this nonprofit lending program, noting that:
  1. Because the loans would not be forgivable, they could create financial liability for nonprofits;
  2. Many of the proposed loan terms (e.g. the requirements that borrowers have at least 50 employees and that no more than 30% of their total revenue come from donations) would disqualify most nonprofits; and
  3. Some of the financial provisions are not directly applicable to nonprofits’ operations and would require greater clarification.

The revised Federal Reserve proposal improves upon the eligibility criteria and proposed loan terms, but it would still exclude many nonprofits from participating. More significantly, the loans to nonprofits in this program would still not be forgivable; Congress would need to pass legislation allowing for nonprofits to seek loan forgiveness if they received financial support through the Main Street Lending Program.
Nonprofit Policy Matters is a weekly newsletter for current members of the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits. We track state and federal policy issues that affect all 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Learn about the Center's public policy priorities . For more information, contact David Heinen , Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy.

Your Center membership allows each staff member, board member, and key volunteer in your organization to set up their own online account to access member resources, benefits and services. Encourage everyone to create an account .