Letter to New York’s Congressional Delegation on Behalf of New York’s Nonprofits

Letter to New York’s Congressional Delegation on Behalf of New York’s Nonprofits

Below is a letter to New York's Congressional Delegation on behalf on New York's nonprofits drafted in partnership with a coalition of New York organizations. Sign on today to show we are united in calling for federal economic relief.


Letter to New York’s Congressional Delegation on Behalf of New York’s Nonprofits

April 16, 2020
Contact: Chai Jindasurat, Policy Director ([email protected])

On behalf of the undersigned nonprofits, thank you for all you are doing to sustain our communities through the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonprofits in New York account for 18% of the private workforce, and contribute $800 billion in wages.[1] We have experienced severe financial losses and layoffs due to COVID-19. The swift action Congress took to pass the Families First Coronavirus Act and the CARES Act will help our communities and organizations provide sick and family leave, prevent further layoffs, and offset significant revenue lost from COVID-19. We are grateful Congress included nonprofits in the PPP/SBA 7(a), EIDL, and Industry Stabilization Fund loans, and that the Senate rejected the proposal to exclude nonprofits that bill for Medicaid. We understand Congress will work on a fourth phase of COVID-19 federal legislation, and offer the following outstanding concerns and recommendations for Congressional action.

Resources for all New Yorkers
New York State is home to 4.4 million immigrants, who are a vital part of our state’s social fabric and economy. [2] Recent federal actions have excluded undocumented immigrants from accessing relief and assistance. We recommend any further relief efforts protect all people, regardless of immigration status, including undocumented immigrants, DACA and TPS recipients, and mixed status families.

SBA 7(a) loan eligibility for organizations with more than 500 employees
Due to years of chronic under-funding by local governments, many human service organizations have merged or consolidated into organizations with well over 500 staff members. These nonprofits operate with very thin margins [3], are shifting scopes of work as essential providers during the pandemic, and are in most need of zero-interest and forgivable emergency loans. We recommend that in further relief efforts, nonprofits with more than 500 staff members can access zero-interest and forgivable loan programs and adjust available resources proportionally.

Charitable giving deduction
The expanded “above the line” giving by $300 for 2020 does not go far enough to encourage charitable giving for organizations heavily dependent on individual donors. Following the 2008 recession, charitable giving dropped by $42 billion nationally [4], and our sector expects giving to decline as a result of the COVID-19 recession. We recommend Congress improve the above-the-line charitable deduction by raising the cap to $2,000 and allowing all taxpayers to immediately claim the deduction on their 2019 taxes (due on July 15), and afterwards through 2021.


The COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented — no one could have foreseen an instance where all or most of an organization’s workforce was laid off at once at a time when their services are needed the most. Under the CARES Act, employers who self-insure will only receive 50% reimbursement for their unemployment insurance claims, unless New York State provides an additional 50%. Before COVID-19, many nonprofits may have chosen to self-insure as the most prudent unemployment insurance option, however during this time of crisis we need to support our nonprofit workers. We recommend Congress expand unemployment insurance reimbursement funding to 100% for organizations that self-insure.

Many nonprofits have realized through COVID-19 that their insurance plans did not cover business losses related to pandemics and contagious diseases, and force majeure clauses will not cover COVID-19 related losses. We recommend Congress expand insurance coverage for nonprofits that have experienced and will continue to experience losses related to COVID-19.

Funding for New York's budget deficit
New York State is facing a $15 billion budget deficit, and New York City's deficit could be as high as $6 billion. Cuts to nonprofit programs have already begun. We recommend New York's Congressional Delegation work with our state, county, and city leaders to include federal relief for our budget deficits, and include at least $4 billion in economic relief for New York's nonprofits.

Cost of living equity
The cost of living in the New York City area is significantly higher than other parts of the country, and New York employees earn higher wages than other parts of the country in order to cover those much higher living costs [5][6]. The $511/day and $200/day quarterly reimbursement for paid sick and family leave will not cover as much of New Yorkers’ wages as it will in other states. The SBA 7(a) loan program thresholds also do not take cost of living into account, which will leave more New York employers without full loan forgiveness. Additionally, payments to individuals will have significantly more purchasing power in other parts of the country than New York City. We recommend cost of living equity for future Congressional action, that accounts for the higher or lower cost of living in different regions.

Nonprofit ‘revenue' and 'income' for loans and grants
Nonprofit revenue and income streams are complex and the 'products or services' we provide are subsidized because they are considered a public benefit. This means that the 'fee' for products and service are not an equivalent to the 'fee' that for-profit businesses collect. Criteria for certain relief funds are based on a loss of 'revenue’. We recommend the definition of revenue or income for funding eligibility include donations, sponsorships, and grants.

Gaps in paid sick and family leave coverage
There are gaps between federal, state, and local paid leave coverage that do not cover the full length of the virus, will leave out smaller employers, and burden families quarantined or at home because of school closures. We recommend Congress expand coverage for all employees, utilize an expansive definition of family, and expand the length of coverage for the full period of COVID-19 recovery which is at least around 20 days.


SIGNATORIES (as of 4/18/2020):

Adaptive Design Association, Inc.
Advocacy Institute
Aesthetic Realism Foundation
Alice Austen House
Alliance of New York State YMCAs
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American Documentary, Inc.
Art Transforms, Inc.
Asian American Arts Alliance
Asian American Federation
Association of Nonprofit Specialists
Ballet Tech
Ballet Tech Foundation
Bedford Hills Free Library
Boys & Girls Club of Harlem
Bronx Council on the Arts
Brooklyn Arts Council
Brooklyn Community Foundation
Brooklyn Community Services
Brooklyn Historical Society
CAI Global
Caring for the Hungry and Homeless of Peekskill
Cause Strategy Partners
Center for Aging in Place
The Center for Anti-Violence Education
Center for Remembering & Sharing
Cerebral Palsy Associations
Chicken & Egg Pictures
Child Mind Institute
Children's Aid
Children's Aid-Goodhue Center
Children's Rights
Chinese-American Planning Council
Chocolate Factory Theater
Churches United for Fair Housing
City Parks Foundation
Clay Art Center
Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School
Community Resource Center
Community Studies Inc
Congregation Etz Chaim
Connect, Inc.
Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies
Covenant House New York
Credit Do
Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation
D & C
Day One
Dorf & Nelson LLP
Dress for Success Worldwide
EAC Network
Edgemont School Foundation
El Museo del Barrio
Elizabeth Mascia Child Care Center
Elizabeth Mascia Child Care Center
Emergency Shelter Partnership
Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center
Enrichment Through the Arts
Ensemble Studio Theatre
Extraordinary Ventures New York
Family & Children's Association
Family Counseling Service of the Fingerlakes
Family Planning of South Central New York
Family Service Society, Inc.
Family Ties of Westchester, Inc.
First Nonprofit
First Universalist Church of Rochester
The Fortune Society
Friends of Karen, Inc.
Future Care Planning Services
Garden of Hope
Genesis Transitional Housing
Geto & de Milly
Girl Be Heard
Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson, Inc.
Girl Scouts of Nassau County
Girl Scouts of Suffolk County
Girl Scouts of Western New York
Girls Inc. of Long Island
Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region
Goodwill of New York and Northern New Jersey
Goodwill of the Finger Lakes - ABVI
Goodwill of Western New York
GoodWorks Advisory Group
Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club
Grant Professionals of Lower Hudson
Graves Memorial CME Church
Haste help Africa save their children
Health and Welfare Council of Long Island
Her Justice
Hester Street Collaborative
Hillside Family of Agencies
Historic Districts Council
Hudson River Community Sailing
Hudson River Healthcare, Inc.
Human Services Council
Human Services Leadership Council of Central New York
Huther Doyle
Ibero-American Action League
IlluminArt Productions
InterExchange, Inc.
The International Charity Foundation
Japanese American Social Services
Jawonio, Inc.
JCC of Staten Island
JCC Staten Island, Inc.
The Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services
Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester
Junior Achievement of New York
Kadima Strategies, LLC
Kids Orbit Inc.
La Casa de la Herencia Cultural Puertorriquena
Lantern Community Services
LAPA Fundraising
Let's Breakthrough, Inc.
Lewisboro Library - Lewisboro, NY
The LOFT LGBT Community Services Center, Inc.
Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis
Mark Morris Dance Group
Mary's Place Refugee Outreach
Max's Kansas City Project, Kingston, NY
Mental Health America of Dutchess County
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Mixteca Organization, Inc.
Montague St BID
Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry
Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center, Inc.
Museum at Eldridge Street
National Association for Shoplifting Prevention
National Lighthouse Museum
Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter
Nepperhan Community Center, Inc.
The New York Academy of Medicine
New York Cares
New York Center for Interpersonal Development
New York City Anti-Violence Project
New York City Employment & Training Coalition
New York Council of Nonprofits
New York Restoration Project
New Yorkers for Culture & the Arts
NIA Community Services Network
Nonprofit Finance Fund
Nonprofit New York
Nonprofit Westchester
Nonprofit Westchester
Northwestern University NYC Regional Office
Nubian Conservatory of Music
NYC Mission Society
Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, Inc.
The Ossining Children's Center
Phipps Neighborhoods
Piatigorsky Foundation
Pinnacle Community Services
Poughkeepsie Public Library
Queens Action Council
Queens Historical Society
Read Alliance
RiseBoro Community Partnership
Rochester Fringe Festival, Inc.
Rockaway Artists Alliance, Inc.
Ronald McDonald House of the Greater Hudson Valley
Safe Horizon
Sauti Yetu
SC Group
Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services
Soho Rep.
S.O.U.L. Sisters Leadership Collective
Staten Island Museum
Staten Island Not For Profit Association
STEM Alliance of Larchmont-Mamaroneck
Stonewall Community Development Corporation
Stonewall Community Foundation
Strycker's Bay Neighborhood Council
Supportive Housing Network of New York
Swish Ally Fund
TakeRoot Justice
Teatown Lake Reservation
Tempo Group/Tempo Youth Services
The Time In Children's Arts Initiative
Today's Students Tomorrow's Teachers
Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region
Turning Point for Women and Families
UJA-Federation of New York
Ukrainian Institute of America
Union Theological Seminary
United Neighborhood Houses
United Way of New York City
United Way of New York State
United Way of Westchester and Putnam
Upper Manhattan Mental Health Center
Urban Dove
Urban Pathways
Urban Youth Alliance
Villa of Hope
Violence Intervention Program
Visions Services
Voices of Ascension
Volunteer New York!
Waterfront Alliance
Westchester Children's Association
Westchester Children's Museum
Westchester Jewish Community Services
Westchester Library System
Westchester Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute for Nonviolence
WestFair Rides
Women's Rights Information Center
Woodside On The Move
Yes She Can Inc.
YMCA of Central New York
YMCA of Greater New York
Young Audiences New York
YWCA Ulster County
Zoltan Kemeny


[1] Office of the New York State Comptroller. (2019). New York Leads Nation in Nonprofit Jobs & Wages.

[2] New York Immigration Coalition. (2019). Blueprint for Immigrant New York.

[3] SeaChange Capital Partners. (2016). Risk Management for Nonprofits.

[4] Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality and the Russell Sage Foundation. (2012). Charitable Giving and the Great Recession.

New York Immigration Coalition. (2019). Blueprint for Immigrant New York.

[5] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Consumer Price Index Overview Table - New York-New Jersey.

[6] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). County Employment and Wages in New York City - First Quarter 2019.