October 15, 2021
In this issue...
Congress extends federal debt limit through December
Behind-the-scenes negotiations continue on federal and state budgets
OSHA close to finalizing rule on COVID-19 vaccination requirements for large employers
Share information about job vacancies at your nonprofit
Encourage early voting in 2021 municipal elections
Federal Reserve survey shows impact of pandemic on nonprofit service providers
Let us know continuing impact of pandemic on your nonprofit
Nonprofit employees with student debt may be eligible for student loan forgiveness 
Nonprofits can help maximize participation in 2021 municipal elections
Third quarter lobbying reports due next Thursday
Congress Extends Federal Debt Limit Through December
On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to raise the nation’s debt limit by about $480 billion so that the federal government will not default on its past financial obligations until December 3. President Biden signed the bill into law yesterday.

If Congress had not agreed to raise the debt limit, nonprofits could have felt both short-term and long-term impacts of the resulting economic challenges. Most immediately, nonprofits would have been expected to provide a wide variety of basic services if government programs were shut down. If the United States defaulted on its financial obligations and went into a recession, nonprofits would likely experience several years of reduced contributions from individuals, businesses, and foundations with declining incomes and investments. Nonprofits – and the economy more broadly – could still face these dire consequences if Congress cannot agree on a longer-term solution to the debt crisis before the U.S. once again reaches its debt limit in early December.
Behind-the-Scenes Negotiations Continue on Federal and State Budgets
This week, leaders in Washington and Raleigh continued negotiations on massive spending plans for federal and state governments. To help your nonprofit understand the basics of the federal and state budgets – and why they matter for nonprofits – the Center has developed a fact sheet on the federal and state budget process. Here is a quick update on the status of negotiations on both spending plans:
  1. The federal government is currently operating under a continuing budget resolution that provides temporary funding through December 3. Democrats in Congress continue to negotiate on a pair of bills that would: (a) spend about $1 trillion on infrastructure like roads, bridges, public transportation, and broadband; and (b) spend between $1.5 trillion and $3.5 trillion on “human infrastructure” like anti-poverty programs, clean energy, expanded health coverage, and affordable housing. Many of the programs in the “human infrastructure” or “Build Back Better” proposal would provide funding for nonprofits and support to people who receive services from nonprofits. With the size of the final “human infrastructure” bill likely to be much smaller than the original $3.5 trillion proposal, congressional Democrats are deciding whether to limit the types of programs that would be funded by the bill or to limit the duration and scope of the new and enhanced federal programs.
  2. At the state level, legislative leaders are negotiating with Governor Roy Cooper on the final version of the state budget for FY2021-23 (S.105). The main areas of disagreement between the Governor and legislative leadership appear to be funding for public schools, Medicaid expansion, individual and corporate income tax cuts, and pay raises for teachers and state employees. The new budget could provide several million dollars in new funding for nonprofits. The Center has prepared a chart comparing various appropriations and provisions affecting nonprofits in the House-approved budget and the Senate-approved version.
OSHA Close to Finalizing Rule on COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for Large Employers
On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) submitted an emergency rule on employer COVID-19 vaccinations to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The rule will require employers with more than 100 employees – including many large nonprofits – to: (a) require their employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or to be tested at least once a week; and (b) provide paid time off for workers to get vaccinated or recover from vaccinations. Details of the rule will be available once OMB publishes it to the Federal Register, which will probably happen later this month. Once the rule is finalized, the Center will provide analysis of what it means for nonprofits.

Earlier this month, the National Council of Nonprofits sent a letter to OSHA asking some common nonprofit questions about the forthcoming vaccination requirement rule, such as how employees will be counted, whether the rule will apply to employees working offsite, and whether volunteers will be covered by the rule. For more on vaccination requirements, check out the Center’s analysis of vaccination considerations for nonprofits.
Take 2 Minutes to Share Information About Job Vacancies at Your Nonprofit
Nonprofits in North Carolina and around the country are struggling to fill vacancies at their organizations. To help learn more about the sources of these problems and to try to develop policy solutions, the National Council of Nonprofits has launched a brief survey on the nonprofit workforce shortage. Please take two minutes to complete the survey.
Encourage Early Voting in 2021 Municipal Elections
On Thursday, early voting began in many of the cities and towns around North Carolina holding municipal elections this fall. One highly effective way to help ensure that your staff, volunteers, and the people you serve participate in these elections is to publicize the early voting hours and locations in the counties you serve. Your organization can consult the NC State Board of Elections’ One Stop Early Voting Site List and push out the relevant information via your emails, social media, and flyers. With some counties changing voting sites due to COVID-19, the few minutes you put in to look up this information and push it out to everyone your nonprofit can reach has the potential to help hundreds of voters cast their ballots more easily.
Federal Reserve Survey Shows Impact of Pandemic on Nonprofit Service Providers
On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve released the results of the nationwide survey on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on low- to moderate-income people and the nonprofits serving them. More than 3,600 nonprofits responded to the survey, including more than 100 North Carolina nonprofits. Key findings include:
  • Almost 70% of respondent organizations indicated that demand for their services increased compared with pre-pandemic levels.
  • About 35% of respondent nonprofits noted an increase in their ability to provide services, and 46% noted a decrease in ability to serve.
  • Almost 70% indicated that their expenses had increased compared to pre-pandemic levels. 
  • More than half of the respondents said the pandemic had a negative impact on their entities’ financial health, and 60% of those respondents indicated their entities could operate for less than a year in the current environment before exhibiting financial distress.
  • Across almost all categories, half the respondents estimated it will take one to three years to return to pre-pandemic conditions.
  • More than half of responding organizations (57%) said that COVID-19 was causing a significant disruption to services for children, with 77% noting that conditions were still worse than they were pre-pandemic.
Take 15 Minutes to Let Us Know Continuing Impact of Pandemic on Your Nonprofit
To learn more about the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (beyond the questions that were asked in the Federal Reserve survey mentioned above), the Center launched a survey of North Carolina nonprofits last month. To help the Center and our partners continue to advocate for policies that would help nonprofits respond to the pandemic, please take 15-20 minutes to complete the 2021 COVID-19 Survey. Thank you if your organization has already completed the survey.
Nonprofit Employees with Student Debt May Be Eligible for Student Loan Forgiveness
Last week, the U.S. Department of Education announced plans for significant changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, including a new Limited PSLF Waiver that will allow many nonprofit workers to count their past payments from all federal loan programs – including direct loans and consolidated loans – toward their PSLF loan forgiveness. This is estimated to help more than 550,000 borrowers qualify for loan forgiveness (for perspective, only about 16,000 borrowers have ever had loans forgiven under PSLF). The Limited PSLF Waiver will begin in the next few months and will continue through October 31, 2022. Nonprofit workers with student loans can do two things to prepare for loan forgiveness through PSLF:
  1. Log on to the PSLF Help Tool to find out what they need to qualify for loan forgiveness and to ensure that their nonprofit work is certified for the PSLF program; and
  2. Check out the recent blog post from the National Council of Nonprofits on the recent and forthcoming improvements to the PSLF program.
Nonprofits Can Help Maximize Participation in 2021 Municipal Elections
With dozens of cities and towns around North Carolina holding municipal elections this fall, now is a great time for nonprofits to help ensure their staff, volunteers, and the people they serve are registered to vote and show up during Early Voting or on Election Day. Voter turnout is typically much lower in years when there are no national or statewide races on the ballot, so it is particularly important for nonprofits to promote the 2021 election (if there is one in the municipality where you provide services). Here are easy (and nonpartisan) steps your nonprofit can take today:
  1. Check on what municipal elections are coming up this fall in the regions you serve by searching the NC State Board of Elections 2021 Municipal Voter Tool
  2. Check out the recently-updated local elections resources from You Can Vote to learn more about what’s on your ballot, why local elections matter for your nonprofit and your community, messaging for nonpartisan voter engagement, and ways you can get involved.
Third Quarter Lobbying Reports Due Next Thursday
Third quarter lobbying expense reports are due to the NC Secretary of State by Thursday, October 21. Nonprofits that are registered as lobbyist principals and nonprofit staff and contractors registered as lobbyists must submit their expense reports each quarter. For more information on lobbying registration and reporting requirements, check out the Center's newly-updated summary of NC lobbying laws for nonprofits.
The Center 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. Don’t miss out – become a member to ensure you continue receiving these updates along with many other valuable benefits.
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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.