Shaheen Joins Call For More Funding For Social Service Nonprofits in Next Coronavirus Relief Bill

April 29, 2020

During Pandemic, Nonprofits Are On Front Lines Feeding Vulnerable Communities, Providing Housing And Medical Assistance 

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) sent a letter with a group of 26 Senators urging Senate leadership to include additional emergency funding for nonprofit organizations in the next COVID-19 relief bill. Nonprofits are an essential part of the frontline coronavirus pandemic response, providing important social services such as nutrition assistance, shelter for those experiencing homelessness, child care and education programs, and care for victims of domestic and sexual violence. 

The Senators wrote, “During this public health crisis, communities nationwide are relying on nonprofit services to survive—more and more each day. At the same time as this increased demand, nonprofits are facing significant economic hardship. Providing the nonprofit sector increased emergency funding for targeted state formula grants and programs will ensure that national and local organizations can maintain a continuity of services. These funds must be distributed quickly through multiple existing funding streams, including emergency grants to nonprofits operating under existing federal grants, as well as through subgrantees for state or local governments, or other pass-through entities.”

The Senators went on to highlight specific funding streams that should be included in the next coronavirus response package, including support for sexual violence survivors, afterschool and summer learning programs, nutritional assistance and vital aid for seniors and much more. In closing, the Senators wrote, “The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act was a positive first step to aid the nonprofit sector. The nonprofit community will continue to play an essential role in coronavirus response, and we need them to scale up and meet an increase in demand. A rapid infusion of funds to nonprofit organizations that are partnering with state and local governments will help frontline responders and vulnerable families.”

While demand for nonprofit services is increasing, these organizations are facing significant economic hardship. Senator Shaheen fought to ensure nonprofits would be eligible for partially forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES), but initial funding of $350 billion ran out within weeks. The $310 billion in new funding for this loan program passed by Congress last week is also expected to quickly run dry. Rather than requiring nonprofits to continue to compete for limited resources with small businesses, the Senators are calling for a significant increase in funding specifically for nonprofits.

The letter, led by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), was endorsed by 53 organizations, including the National Council of Nonprofits, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Meals on Wheels, YWCA USA, YMCA of the USA, and National Health Council. For a full list, click here.

The full text of the letter is available here.

Senator Shaheen voted in favor of four economic response bills to provide financial relief to states in their COVID-19 response efforts. Shaheen was a lead negotiator on the small business provisions of the CARES Act, for which certain nonprofits qualify to apply for assistance. By standing firm during negotiations and demanding a better bill, Senator Shaheen helped secure $30 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund to provide financial assistance to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as private nonprofits providing critical and essential services. Earlier this month, Senator Shaheen announced $11.7 million in additional funding to assist New Hampshire’s vulnerable homeless population and other local needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. New Hampshire also received $4.9 million in initial funding to help the state prepare for COVID-19, which was provided by the first bipartisan coronavirus response bill.