Letter to City Council on Behalf of New York’s Nonprofits

Letter to City Council on Behalf of New York’s Nonprofits

Nonprofits are calling on City Council to include us in economic recovery efforts and assure FY20 Council appropriations will be honored. Sign on to our letter today to show we are united in calling for nonprofits to be included in economic recovery plans.


Letter to City Council on Behalf of New York City’s Nonprofit Sector
Nonprofits Must Be Included in Economic Recovery Plans

Dear Speaker Johnson,

On behalf of the undersigned organizations, thank you for your leadership and all you are doing to sustain our communities through the COVID-19 pandemic and recession. Nonprofits are a vital part of our city’s economy, but our organizations and the communities we serve have experienced severe impacts due to COVID-19. New York City’s nonprofits employ 16% of the private workforce, 6% higher than the national average. In the Bronx we are 34% of the workforce, in Staten Island 25%, in Brooklyn 21%. The 45,000 nonprofits in New York City employ close to 700,000 people paying $42 billion in wages [1]. We are faith centers, shelters, nature conservancies, schools, theatres and arts education centers, advocates, environmental justice champions, musicians, philanthropic institutions, and sites of housing, community, and economic development among many other fields. Nonprofits celebrate, employ, and serve: undocumented people, people of color, transgender and gender nonconforming people, people with disabilities, women- identifying, immigrants, and people living in poverty. Communities left out of federal relief efforts and communities bearing the brunt of the virus in New York City. City Council’s discretionary appropriations include initiative funding that is essential for New York City’s communities bearing the brunt of COVID-19. The City has confirmed these Council appropriations might not be honored as recently as this week. Nonprofits request the following of City Council to ensure we can do our part to end the pandemic and maintain our city’s vibrancy, economy, and infrastructure.

We ask that City Council:

  • Specifically name nonprofits in the Council’s $12 billion relief plan and economic stability recommendations for the city budget, as significant employers and economic engines
  • Include nonprofits in decision-making and cross-sector task forces in the same way the city is including for-profit business and philanthropic leaders
  • Allow nonprofits to help shape programs and structures for relief to ensure nonprofit business models can be included and eligible for relief
  • Extend proposed tax, fee, utility payment deferrals, and future relief grants and loans for businesses to nonprofits
  • Ensure and expedite execution of all City Council appropriations committed for FY20; Waive the requirement that contracts larger than $100,000 go through a public hearing while no public hearings are happening
  • Extend the same protections to City Council discretionary appropriations that MOCS committed to other city contracts
  • Assure nonprofit Council item and capital commitments be honored and expedited for organizations who have experienced significant revenue loss; pay nonprofit expenses already incurred on the City’s behalf
  • Allow City-contracted nonprofits who provide essential services flexibility to use contracted dollars to support their staff, including incentive pay
  • Convert discretionary funding to general operating support so nonprofits have the flexibility to meet immediate needs
  • Center equity in the city’s economic recovery; include resources for undocumented New Yorkers fully left out of federal relief, communities of color disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, and the nonprofits led-by and serving these communities

Even before COVID-19 much of our sector struggled to provide services to communities on limited budgets [2]. Now with even higher demand for services, nonprofits in New York City have lost significant revenue, laid off staff, or closed entirely [3]. Larger organizations who will be critical for the city’s survival [4] have been left out of the CARES Act forgivable loan program [5], and recent city decisions to cut programs have made certain nonprofits ineligible for federal relief efforts [6].

New York’s Congressional Delegation and state leaders have all attempted to specifically include nonprofits in economic recovery plans, but the city has largely excluded nonprofits from economic relief. SBS’s employee grant retention program, now closed, was available for nonprofits with less than five staff. No other city relief or services have been made available to nonprofits. City government launched robust programs and made multiple public commitments to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19. This same relief has not been extended to the nonprofit sector. The City Council’s response to the Mayor’s FY21 budget proposal calls on the Administration to take measures to stabilize the small business community, specifically extending the emergency small business loan program, which excludes nonprofits. There is no City agency or office dedicated to serving nonprofits. While MOCS works with organizations contracted by the City, many nonprofits do not have government contracts, and do not have a designated office or agency to reach out to for relief.

The nonprofit sector has been active in shaping federal COVID-19 action, and will continue to work with our Congressional Delegation to advocate for economic relief for our state and city. We are calling on Congress to work with New York’s government leaders to provide federal relief for our budget deficits, and include at least $4 billion for New York’s nonprofits. We are committed to doing our part to support our communities and our city government to survive, and ask that the City Council recognize our sector as a vital component of our City’s economy worthy of economic recovery efforts.

Signatories (as of April 22, 2020):

82nd Street Academics
Acacia Network
Advocacy Institute
Alice Austen House
Alliance for Coney Island
Alliance for Positive Change
America on Tech
Asian American Arts Alliance
Asian American Federation
Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development
Ballet Tech
Ballet Tech Foundation
Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association, Inc.
Big Reuse
Bonnie Youth Club
Boys & Girls Club of Harlem
Bronx Arts Ensemble
Bronx Council on the Arts
Brooklyn Arts Council
Brooklyn Lifelong Learning
Brooklyn Perinatal Network
Brooklyn Section, National Council of Jewish Women
BWICA Educational Fund, Inc.
CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities
Callen-Lorde Community Health Center
Caribbean Cultural Center Afrian Diaspora Institute
Catholic Migration Services
Cause Strategy Partners
The Center for Anti-Violence Education
Center for Community Alternatives
Children's Rights
Children's Aid
Children's Aid-Goodhue Center
Chinese Methodist Center Corporation
Chinese-American Planning Council
Chocolate Factory Theater
Churches United for Fair Housing
City Parks Foundation
Coalition for Asian American Children and Families
Commission on the Public's Health System
Community Association of Progressive Dominicans
Community Healthcare Network
Community Resource Exchange
Comprehensive Youth Development
Cooper Square Community Land Trust
CP Unlimited/Cerebral Palsy Associations
Dancing Classrooms
Day One
Diana H. Jones Innovative Senior Center/Riseboro
East Harlem/El Barrio Community Land Trust
El Museo del Barrio
EngageWell IPA
Engineering Conferences International
Exponents, Inc.
Fifth Avenue Committee & Neighbors Helping Neighbors
Flatbush Development Corporation
Foundation for Filipino Artists
The Fortune Society
Friends of the High Line
Friends of Karen, Inc.
Friends of Wheels
Garden of Hope
Genesis Transitional Housing
Goddard Riverside
Goodwill Industries of New York and Northern New Jersey
Gowanus Canal Conservancy
Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club
The GRACE Foundation
Grand Street Settlement
Grant writer for NYC nonprofits
Greater Bethel Community Development Corporation
Health People
Hester Street
Housing Conservation Coordinators
Housing Works, Inc.
Hudson River Healthcare, Inc.
Human Services Council
Hunger Free America
Hungarian Human Rights Foundation
India Home
Japanese American Social Services
Junior Achievement of New York
Kingsbridge Heights Community Center, Inc.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
Lineage Project
Love Gospel Assembly
Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center
Mott Haven Port Morris Community Land Stewards
National Lighthouse Museum
National Multiple Sclerosis Society of New York
Nazareth Housing Inc.
New Economy Project
New York City Anti-Violence Project
New York City Employment & Training Coalition
New York Immigration Coalition
New York State Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare
New York State Sickle Cell Advocacy Network
NIA Afterschool Program
NIA Community Services Network
Nonprofit New York
Northfield Community LDC of Staten Island, Inc.
Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition
NY Gender Diversity Coalition
NYC Mission Society
Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow
The Panafrican Cultural and Training Center Inc.
Partnership for After School Education (PASE)
Phipps Neighborhoods
Piatigorsky Foundation
Planned Parenthood of Greater New York
The Possibility Project
Princess Janae Place Inc.
Queens Historical Society
Read Alliance
Riverdale Neighborhood House
Rockaway Artists Alliance, Inc.
Ryan Chelsea-Clinton
Sakhi for South Asian Women
SC Group
Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services
S.O.U.L. Sisters Leadership Collective
South Asian Youth Action
South Bronx Unite
Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation
Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center
Staten Island Museum
Staten Island Not For Profit Association
Sunnyside Community Services
Supportive Housing Network of NY.
TakeRoot Justice
The TechLinc Project
Teens for Food Justice, Inc.
Tell Every Amazing Lady About Ovarian Cancer
Tottenville Historical Society
Turning Point for Women and Families
United Neighborhood Houses
United Way of New York City
Urban Pathways
Urban Health Plan, Inc.
Urban Youth Alliance
USA Mali Charitable Association of NYC
Violence Intervention Program
Voices of Ascension
Waterfront Alliance
We Stay/Nos Quedamos
Women Creating Change
Women's Rights Information Center
YMCA of Greater New York
Youth Represent


[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2017) Research Data on the Nonprofit Sector.

[2] SeaChange Capital Partners. (2016). Nonprofit Risk Management Report.

[3] In March 2020 Nonprofit New York surveyed member organizations about the impact of COVID-19 on their organizations. Of respondents, 85% had to cancel programs or events, 70% experienced reduced revenue, 63% experienced a disruption of services, and over half expected a drop in revenue as a result of COVID-19. New Yorkers for Culture & the Arts COVID-19 impact survey found organizations canceled events cost some close to $900,000 in revenue and $500,000 in rentals. On March 29th, the New York Post reported 1/3 of food pantries in New York City have closed due to COVID-19.

[4] SeaChange Capital Partners. (April 2020). Too Big to Fail: New York City’s Largest Human Service Providers.

[5] Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) SBA 7(a) loan programs exclude nonprofits with more than 500 staff. Public Law 116-136, Section 1102.

[6] The City’s decision to cancel SYEP with one day’s notice required organizations to lay off staff making them ineligible for PPP loan forgiveness. Section 1106 of the CARES Act requires organizations to rehire or retain staff for PPP loan forgiveness.

[7] The federal Families First Coronavirus Act established quarterly payroll tax credits to reimburse nonprofit employers for paid sick and family leave. The CARES Act included nonprofits in the Small Business Administration’s PPP, EIDL, and Industry Stabilization loans. The following state legislation introduced between March 24th and April 8th specifically name nonprofits along with small businesses for economic relief efforts: A10247 (Niou)/ S08139 (Gianaris); A10208 Buchwald); A10212 (Otis)/ S02520C (Harckham); A10266 (Barclay).