November 25, 2020
Note: The North Carolina Center for Nonprofits typically provides Nonprofit Policy Update each week as a benefit to its nonprofit members. However, to help all North Carolina nonprofits respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we're temporarily providing this newsletter to non-member nonprofits.
In this issue...
New executive order tightens face covering requirements in North Carolina
Expiration of unemployment benefits could hurt nonprofits and the economy in 2021
Spread the word: Low-income families can still apply for extra credit grants
Learn the latest on legal compliance for nonprofits on December 8
Take 2 minutes to share your nonprofit’s role in historic election turnout
Congress reaches agreement on federal spending levels
What does the 2020 election mean for nonprofits?
Funding runs out for MURR grants
Annual Legal Compliance Checklist now available
New Executive Order Tightens Face Covering Requirements in North Carolina
With COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths surging in North Carolina and across the country, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order No. 180 on Monday. This new executive order, which takes effect at 5 p.m. today, requires all North Carolinians aged five and older: 
  1. To wear face coverings when they are indoors with anyone who does not live in their household, even if it is possible to maintain six feet of social distancing; and
  2. To wear face coverings when they are outdoors and unable to maintain six feet of social distancing from people who do not live in their households. 

The executive order also gives local law enforcement officials greater authority to enforce non-compliance with face covering rules against individuals, businesses, and nonprofits. In addition to strengthening requirements for face coverings, the executive order extends Phase 3 of the re-opening of North Carolina’s economy through December 11.
Expiration of Unemployment Benefits Could Hurt Nonprofits and the Economy in 2021
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic will continue in 2021, many of the federal benefits that provide relief to individuals, businesses, and nonprofits are set to expire on December 31, 2020. The U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee has a useful fact sheet on the year-end unemployment insurance cliff. Notable provisions for nonprofits that are set to expire on December 31 include:
  • Federal support to cover half of the COVID-19 related unemployment insurance costs of reimbursing nonprofits. The state of North Carolina is covering the other half of these costs for reimbursing nonprofits through December 31.
  • Up to 13 weeks of Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation for workers who have exhausted state unemployment benefits.
  • Up to 39 weeks of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for self-employed workers and staff of small (fewer than four employees) and religious nonprofits that are exempt from providing unemployment.

The Center and other nonprofits are calling on Congress to prioritize passing meaningful additional COVID-19 relief – including extension of these unemployment benefits into 2021 – as soon as they return to Washington after Thanksgiving. Look for a call to action next week.
Spread the Word: Low-Income Families Can Still Apply for Extra Credit Grants
Thanks to the effective advocacy of the nonprofit Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy, many low-income families in North Carolina will get a second chance to apply for the Extra Credit Grant Program. In September, the NC General Assembly approved the Extra Credit Grant Program, which provides $335 payments to help taxpaying families with children pay for virtual schooling and child-care costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While most taxpayers received these payments automatically, low-income families that did not file a 2019 state tax return had to apply to the NC Department of Revenue (DOR) to receive their $335 payments. The original deadline for applications was October 15, but low-income families now have a second chance to apply through December 7 at 2 p.m. Families can check their eligibility and apply for grants at Applications are relatively simple, only requiring taxpayers to list their names, SSNs, contact information, and their children’s names, ages, and SSNs.

The Center strongly encourages nonprofits serving low-income North Carolinians to help spread the word to ensure that those who did not file a 2019 tax return submit their applications by mail or online before the December 7 deadline.
Learn the Latest on Legal Compliance for Nonprofits on December 8
As nonprofits’ operations have changed during the pandemic this year, many organizations have encountered new and challenging legal compliance and liability issues. To help your nonprofit better understand its legal options both now and in the future, the Center is offering the (virtual) 2020 Legal Update for North Carolina Nonprofits on December 8 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. This workshop is part of the 2020 Conference for NC Nonprofits

The workshop will begin with a one-hour overview of important laws for 501(c)(3) nonprofits and include an “Q and non-A” session to help address participants’ legal questions. Breakout sessions will include the latest on operational considerations during the pandemic, trends in employment laws affecting nonprofits, changes to state tax laws, ways the new NC collaborative law statute can help nonprofits with dispute resolutions, and board governance basics. 

Register now for the 2020 Legal Update or for the full conference (December 8-10).
Take 2 Minutes to Share Your Nonprofit’s Role in Historic Election Turnout
This fall’s election showed the power of nonprofits’ nonpartisan voter registration, voter education, and get-out-the-vote work. These efforts helped produce a record high – 75.32% of registered voters cast their votes during Early Voting, on Election Day, or through mail-in absentee ballots. Overall, a record 5.5 million North Carolinians voted in this year’s election. Even if many of the individual races didn’t turn out the way you would have liked, you should celebrate this high level of civic engagement as a tremendous victory for our democracy – and one that nonprofits played a significant role in achieving!

The Center encourages you to take two minutes to share your nonprofit’s experiences and successes with Nonprofit VOTE, a national partner of the Center, by completing the 2020 Nonprofit Voter Engagement Survey. By completing this quick survey, your feedback will help Nonprofit VOTE determine how it can better serve your nonprofit and how it can develop strategies to “voterize” nonprofits in 2021.
Congress Reaches Agreement on Federal Spending Levels
Yesterday evening, leaders in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives reached an agreement on the levels of spending for various federal appropriations bills for the current fiscal year, which began on October 1, 2020. This is an important step in Congress passing federal appropriations legislation by December 11 to avoid a partial shutdown of the federal government.
What Does the 2020 Election Mean for Nonprofits?
Now that North Carolina’s election results are almost final (the statewide recount for the race for Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court is still ongoing), you may be wondering what the results of the 2020 results mean for North Carolina nonprofits. Regardless of how you prefer to digest information, the Center has answers for you!
Funding Runs Out for MURR Grants
The NC Department of Commerce has run out of funding for the Mortgage, Utility and Rent Relief (MURR) Program, which provided grants of up to $20,000 per facility for certain businesses and nonprofits that were closed during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally, these grants were only open to for-profit businesses, but the Center successfully advocated for the Department of Commerce to change the eligibility requirements to allow nonprofits to receive grants. We have heard that many nonprofits have received MURR grants or have applications still pending.
Annual Legal Compliance Checklist Now Available
The Center has released its 2020 Legal Compliance Checklist. Updated annually, the checklist is a comprehensive resource that outlines a wide variety of federal and state laws that affect North Carolina nonprofits’ governance, finances, advocacy, human resources, and fundraising. This year’s edition includes details on legal issues related to COVID-19, new state tax laws, and changes to employment laws.

If your nonprofit is a member of the Center, you can download the checklist as part of membership. If your nonprofit is not currently a member of the Center, you can either purchase a copy of the checklist or join the Center to get access.
Not a Center Member? Join now.

Nonprofit Policy Update 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.