Nonprofits, saying they are running out of funds, make call for more state assistance

New Jersey nonprofit leaders are calling on New Jersey’s congressional delegation and state Legislature to act swiftly to pass additional COVID-19 relief packages for nonprofit organizations.

The Center for Non-Profits and the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers and others recently held a virtual event to state their case.

Linda Czipo. (File photo)

Nonprofit leaders discussed the urgent need for additional federal and state relief to address food and housing insecurity, health care, child care, the arts and education — noting that New Jerseyans are suffering, and nonprofits’ ability to help meet their basic needs is in jeopardy if action isn’t taken soon.

Center for Non-Profits CEO Linda Czipo said the nonprofit community gets hit first and recovers last in times of crises.

“We can’t afford to let that happen,” she said. “Too many people are counting on us.”

The groups said the aid that has been provided so far has been a lifeline, but that more is desperately needed.

Maria Vizcarrondo. (File photo)

Maria Vizcarrondo, the CEO of the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, said you can’t replace government funding.

“(The pandemic) is causing unprecedented human and economic devastation and uncovering a level of systemic racism that demands our attention,” she said.

Vizcarrondo called on the federal and state governments to ensure that nonprofits can continue to serve people fighting to stay afloat during the crisis.

Speakers emphasized that the aid provided so far is running out, with no end to the crisis in sight.

Among the requests made by nonprofit leaders:

  • Additional funding: Including additional federal aid to state and local governments, and additional federal and state funding to help charities meet increased demands, retain employees, address rising expenses, purchase desperately needed PPE and disinfecting supplies.
  • More low-cost and forgivable loans: Especially for midsize and larger nonprofits that have been ineligible for the Paycheck Protection Program and other loan programs.
  • Strengthen incentives for charitable giving: Nationwide, charitable giving was down 6% in the first quarter of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019, and that was before the worst of the pandemic began to hit. Passing federal and state legislation to provide incentives for people to give to charity — regardless of their federal itemizing tax status — would provide a desperately needed lifeline to these essential organizations.
  • Help for nonprofit employers: Many nonprofits have laid off or furloughed employees as a result of the pandemic, with more job losses undoubtedly forthcoming. These unforeseen staff reductions compromise program continuity and effectiveness and can result in dramatic increases in unemployment expenses. The ask is to need to pass legislation to ensure that the layoffs and separations precipitated by this crisis do not adversely affect the experience ratings for nonprofits that contribute to the state’s unemployment fund.
  • Modification of contract terms: On contracts between nonprofit organizations and state agencies for when a nonprofit is unable to fulfill the original terms due to COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Regulatory and filing relief: Extend corporate and charities registration report deadlines and raise mandatory audit thresholds.

Czipo said assistance cannot come soon enough.

“New Jerseyans are counting on nonprofits to be there with immediate and long-term programs and services to help us through the current crisis and through long-term recovery,” she said.