June 5, 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...
Nonprofit community speaks out against structural, systemic racism
Take 15 minutes to let funders and state government know what your nonprofit needs
U.S. Senate approves bill to extend and improve on PPP 
Take 5 minutes today to help inform policymakers about necessary UI relief for nonprofits
Let us know: Is your nonprofit facing county or city funding cuts?
Let us know: Will state grant matching fund requirements be a problem for your nonprofit?
New task force will address disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color
Census tips of the week: Learn the latest on the state of the Census...and take action 
NC Senate committee approves bill to simplify absentee voting requirements in 2020
Center offers re-engagement guide for nonprofits
Nonprofit Community Speaks Out Against Structural, Systemic Racism
The recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor have brought into sharper focus the structural and systemic racism that plague our state and our country. This week, many North Carolina nonprofit organizations and leaders – with a wide range of missions and backgrounds – have reaffirmed their commitment to ending institutional racism, through their words, actions, and willingness to listen. As Jeanne Tedrow, the Center’s President & CEO explained in a blog post on Wednesday: “Let us seek a positive peace which is the presence of justice. In my role at the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits, I recommit myself to our work in equity, diversity, and inclusion and to doing the work required to dismantle structural, systemic anti-Black racism and oppression. I invite others in our sector to join me.”
Take 15 Minutes to Let Funders and State Government Know Your Nonprofit Needs
Two weeks ago, the Center and our state government partners launched a new survey on the impact of COVID-19 on North Carolina nonprofits. More than 900 nonprofits have already completed the survey, and we're hoping to have thousands more organizations reply in the coming days and weeks. Please take 15 minutes to complete the survey, which asks about your organization's operations and needs during the COVID-19 crisis and in the coming months. Your response to the survey will inform government, philanthropy, and others about what COVID-19 related needs are most pressing in North Carolina. To maximize the benefits and value of this survey, responses will be publicly available.

The survey, which is available in both English and Spanish, is a joint effort of the Center, the Office of the NC Secretary of State, and the Strategic Partnerships office at the NC Office of State Budget and Management. The Center encourages nonprofits to complete the survey even if you responded to our original COVID-19 survey in March.
U.S. Senate Approves Bill to Extend and Improve on PPP
On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate approved a bipartisan bill ( H.R. 7010) to strengthen the PPP. Among other things, the bill would:
  1. Extend the PPP through December 31;
  2. Extend the deadline for borrowers seeking loan forgiveness to rehire employees until December 31, 2020;
  3. Expand the covered period for loan use from eight weeks to 24 weeks; and
  4. Replace the SBA’s rule that at least 75% of the forgivable funds from PPP loans must go to payroll expenses with one that allows up to 40% of funds to be used for non-payroll expenses.

The bill addresses some, but not all, of the issues that the Center identified in its public comments to the SBA on the PPP last month. The House approved this bill last week, and President Trump signed it into law this morning.
Take 5 Minutes Today to Help Inform Policymakers about Necessary UI Relief for Nonprofits
Next Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee is holding a hearing on unemployment insurance (UI) issues related to COVID-19. Among other things, the Center and other nonprofits hope that Senators and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Eugene Scalia will address the problematic DOL guidance that requires self-insured nonprofits to reimburse states for the full amount of their COVID-19 related UI claims before they are reimbursed for 50% of these claims. The National Council of Nonprofits and 30 other national organizations have asked Secretary Scalia to rescind this guidance and replace it with guidance that would:
  1. Have states use CARES Act funding to reduce the actual bills to reimbursing nonprofits for COVID-19 related UI claims by 50% rather than forcing nonprofits to reimburse for the full amount of claims and then seek reimbursement of their reimbursement from the state; and 
  2. Allow states (like North Carolina) that are not charging reimbursing nonprofits for their COVID-19 related UI claims to access the full CARES Act funding to cover half of the cost of these claims. 

Does your nonprofit self-insure for your UI claims? Is your organization now facing burdensome payments to the state unemployment trust fund due to coronavirus-related layoffs and furloughs? If so, please take five minutes to complete a confidential survey from the National Council of Nonprofits. The information from this survey will help the Center and our partner organizations advocate for Congress and state policy makers to provide relief to nonprofits for their COVID-19 related UI claims. The survey closes today!

To keep the survey as simple as possible, here are a few tips for North Carolina nonprofits:
  1. North Carolina is the only state where the state unemployment agency bills nonprofits annually instead of monthly or quarterly (this is a good thing!), so you can answer “Other” to that question.
  2. North Carolina is providing additional relief to reimbursing nonprofits (again, that is a good thing!), so you can answer “Yes” to that question.
  3. Since North Carolina nonprofits should not yet have received a bill from the Division of Employment Security for their COVID-19 related UI claims, you just need to fill in the box with the estimate of the cost of your claims.
Let Us Know: Is Your Nonprofit Facing County or City Funding Cuts?
Like the state legislature, North Carolina’s local government leaders are in the process of planning their budgets for the upcoming year. Most counties, cities, and towns are also facing significant funding shortfalls and could look to fill their budget gaps by cutting or eliminating nonprofit grants or imposing new taxes, fees, or payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) on charitable nonprofits. For example, Wake County is proposing eliminating most of its grant funding for nonprofits in its recommended budget for the next fiscal year.

Let us know if your nonprofit is facing funding cuts from your local governments. Also, let us know if your county, city, or town is proposing any new taxes, fees, or PILOTs on local nonprofits. As the Center learns about budget proposals in different parts of the state that could be harmful to nonprofits, we are available to help local organizations advocate for preservation of their government funding or in opposition to unreasonable new taxes, fees, or PILOTs. Thank you if you have already replied!
Let Us Know: Will State Grant Matching Fund Requirements Be a Problem for Your Nonprofit?
In addition to looming cuts to state and local government grant funding, many nonprofits have seen steep reductions in earned income and individual and corporate contributions over the past three months. Because of this lost revenue, some nonprofits have expressed concerns to the Center about meeting matching fund requirements for their state grants next year. The Center is exploring ways to advocate for temporary changes to matching grant requirements if this is a widespread problem for North Carolina nonprofits. Let us know if your organization may have difficulty meeting a matching fund requirement for a state grant next year (and let us know the specific grant program and/or the state agency through which you receive grants).
New Task Force will Address Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Communities of Color
Communities of color have experienced much higher rates of COVID-19 diagnoses and deaths than the overall population of North Carolina. Yesterday, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order No. 143, establishing the Andrea Harris Social, Environmental, Economic, and Health Equity Task Force to address some of the root causes of this racial disparity. Specifically, the task force will seek policy solutions related to disparities in access to healthcare, economic opportunities, and environmental justice. The task force will meet bi-monthly during the COVID-19 state of emergency in North Carolina and quarterly thereafter.
Census Tips of the Week: Learn the Latest on the State of the Census...and Take Action
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 56.9%, well below the national average of 60.6% (see the U.S. Census Bureau’s map of response rates for more details).
Census Tips of the Week
  1. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the 2020 Census in many ways. The NC Counts Coalition is hosting a free webinar with an update on the state of the Census in North Carolina on June 23 at 10 a.m. The Center encourages nonprofits to register for this update so your organization is aware of what has changed and ways you can still work to get a complete count in your community.
  2. My Black Counts Week of Action is the week of June 15-June 20. If your organization would like to host an online event, caravan, food drive, or other event that week to raise Census awareness and participation among the Black community, please email Beatrice Beaubrun at the NC Counts Coalition.
  3. To learn more about Census response rates in your community, check out the county-level Census analysis from Carolina Demography. Each county report includes breakdowns of response rates among young children, minority populations, immigrant populations, and households without Internet access.
NC Senate Committee Approves Bill to Simplify Absentee Voting Requirements in 2020
On Tuesday, the NC Senate Redistricting and Elections Committee approved a bill ( H.B. 1169) that would make several changes to North Carolina’s absentee voting process to make it easier for North Carolinians to vote by mail in 2020. These changes, which were approved by the House last week, would include:
  1. Allowing North Carolinians to request absentee ballots online rather than by mail; and
  2. Simplifying the requirements to request an absentee ballot this year by only requiring one witness (current law requires most North Carolinians to have either two witnesses or a notary attest to their signature when submitting an absentee ballot request).

North Carolina’s current absentee ballot requirements, which are stricter than most other states, make it challenging for many North Carolinians – particularly homebound seniors and individuals with disabilities – to request absentee ballots. The Center supports the absentee ballot bill, since it would help many North Carolinians who receive nonprofits’ services vote by mail this fall if COVID-19 remains a problem.

The Senate committee added a provision to the bill requiring the NC State Board of Elections to investigate any internet protocol of virtual private network from which more than 10 absentee ballots are requested. This requirement could lead to the investigation of some nonprofits that provide computer access to clients or residents.
Center Offers Re-Engagement Guide for Nonprofits
In the past few months, nonprofits have successfully adapted to the challenges of serving our missions in the face of a pandemic. Now, as North Carolina reopens and nonprofit staff begin to return to offices and reopen facilities, the Center has pulled together recommendations and considerations to help organizations plan and prepare. Going Forward: Best Practices and Considerations for Nonprofit Re-Engagement, offers guidance on everything from operations, human resources and board governance to communications, donor relationships and events.
Nonprofit Policy Matters is a service 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 .