LANGHORNE, PA – Today, March 27th, Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1) and Seth Moulton (MA-6) introduced the Save Organizations that Serve (SOS) America Act. The legislation would provide emergency funding for nonprofits and create a universal charitable deduction. The representatives will also advocate for nonprofits of any size to qualify for newly-created Small Business Administration (SBA) loans. The bipartisan legislation has the support of leading American nonprofits from across the country, who added their voices to call for the legislation’s swift passage.
“Charitable organizations in my community and across our nation are hurting. In times like these, we must support these critically-important organizations that serve our most vulnerable citizens,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “The focus of our efforts to save America’s small businesses must include all of our nonprofit organizations. Our community and our nation, and those most in need, cannot survive without them.”
“Nonprofits are operating at a loss to help people manage the disruption coronavirus is causing. The YMCA is feeding kids who don’t have school lunches to count on. The YWCA is sheltering women who don’t have safe homes to quarantine in. Other groups are advocating for Americans with compromised immune systems in a health care system that’s being tested,” Rep. Moulton said. “Despite this work, these groups and many others still face the same challenges small businesses are facing, and they need a hand from the government. I urge Congress to work with Rep. Fitzpatrick and me to provide one.”
The 12 million people working for America’s charities are on the frontlines of the coronavirus response: they are the backbone of the food banks, shelters, domestic violence services, houses of worship, early care and education centers, after-school facilities, and more that are being called on to feed, house and care for people whose lives have been disrupted by closures, job loss, and sickness.
With millions of jobs and invaluable services at risk, the SOS America Act would ensure that nonprofits are not left behind in disaster relief legislation by providing $60 billion in emergency assistance and creating a robust universal charitable deduction. Going forward, Rep. Moulton and Rep. Fitzpatrick plan to amend the legislation to ensure all nonprofits qualify for the new SBA loans by removing the 500-employee caps. The bill is cosponsored by Representatives Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Darin LaHood (R-IL), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Lori Trahan (D-MA), and Harley Rouda (D-CA).
“This financial crisis will hit our communities doubly hard if charitable nonprofits do not survive,” said Steven C. Preston, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “Not only will unemployment be exacerbated through massive layoffs in this sector, which employs 12 million workers, but essential services to the most vulnerable will decline significantly at the very time they are needed the most. America’s charitable nonprofits need the same supports given to other industries so we can stabilize our employees and support the millions in need.”
“Across the country, YMCAs are working quickly to provide critical services that communities need right now, such as child care for the children of healthcare workers and first responders, food programs for young people who no longer have access to school meals and shelter for the homeless,” said Kevin Washington, president, and CEO of YMCA of the USA. “We are doing everything we can now, and we are committed to being here for communities as our country begins the tough work of recovery. However, to sustain our operations and care for our staff until that time comes, we will need help on a scale that only the federal government can provide. We can’t do this alone.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic is causing individuals and families, particularly those most vulnerable, to make stark decisions about their lives and livelihoods,” said Brian Gallagher, president, and CEO of United Way Worldwide. “To put it bluntly, nonprofits meet these people’s needs and many are being stretched to their limits. Local United Ways around the world are stepping forward to help everyone, from workers to children to seniors, and 211 call centers that provide accurate information are experiencing 200- to 300-percent increases in call volume. Bipartisan legislation that ensures charities are able to access the resources required to keep their doors open will reduce Americans’ suffering and shorten the duration of this crisis.”
“Community-based human services organizations house, feed, and care for millions of children, adults and families across the country who require critical support,” said Susan N. Dreyfus, president and CEO of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities. “They are essential employees in every community across the nation and critical to answering the need for vulnerable families, now more than ever. Many rely on Medicaid funding and carry little to no cash reserves, which means that their jobs and the mission services they support are in jeopardy. The provision of funds through emergency funding or small business loans is essential to their survival. Existing legislative proposals which place 500-employee caps will eliminate the majority of human services organizations from receiving these vital funds.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency. The longer it goes on, the more it also becomes a housing emergency,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International, who also serves as chair of Leadership 18, an alliance of Chief Executive Officers responsible for leading some of the country’s largest and most well-respected charities, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations. “When this crisis subsides, nonprofit organizations like Habitat for Humanity will be a key part of building back the economy and aiding those most impacted. Congress’s support of these organizations now will allow us to be ready to serve.”
“Now, more than ever, we are depending on support from the federal government to assist thousands of Jewish agencies serving people of all backgrounds, including hospitals, nursing homes, community centers, family and children’s service agencies, and vocational training programs,” said Eric D. Fingerhut, president and CEO of The Jewish Federations of North America. “And, at the same time, we hope Washington will incentivize all Americans to make charitable contributions which are the lifeblood of our vital work.”
“Nonprofits are a vital part of American society. Every day, we feed, heal, shelter, educate, inspire, enlighten, and nurture people in communities across the country,” said Tim Delaney, president, and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits. “We also employ 12.3 million Americans, which makes nonprofits the third largest workforce industry — larger than transportation, construction, and even manufacturing. Our communities rely on charitable organizations of all sizes — large, medium and small; all are — and all are essential to our economic and social well-being. We urgently need the relief that the bill from Reps. Moulton and Fitzpatrick would provide so we can continue doing what we do best: serving and improving our communities.”
“Nonprofits serve as frontline responders to national crises such as the coronavirus, providing resources and care to those facing profound disruption in their lives and communities, particularly the most disadvantaged among us,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. “The American Heart Association has proudly announced rapid-response scientific research investments to accelerate our understanding of the cardiovascular implications of the coronavirus, with the goal of quickly developing more effective treatments. We are grateful to Representatives Moulton and Fitzpatrick for introducing the Save the Organizations that Serve America Act, which provides critical relief for the nonprofit sector in response to the coronavirus pandemic to ensure charities across the country continue their vital work.”
Specifically, the SOS America Act would:
Expressly provide charitable nonprofits with $60B for any emergency funding proposals. The charitable sector needs an immediate infusion of $60 billion and a mechanism must be constructed for a rapid infusion of cash to those organizations serving immediate needs in communities facing lost and declining revenue due to the pandemic.
Create a robust universal charitable deduction. Improve the proposed above-the-line charitable deduction by significantly raising the cap and allowing all taxpayers to immediately claim the deduction on their 2019 taxes and beyond.
Once the CARES Act is enacted into law, Reps. Fitzpatrick and Moulton plan to amend the bill to ensure all nonprofits qualify for the newly created small business loans and remove the 500-employee caps. They will clarify that charitable nonprofits of all sizes are able to participate in the emergency SBA loan program and remove the cap on the number of employees.