March 2020 Public Policy Roundup

March 2020 Public Policy Roundup

Publication date: 
March, 2020

By Hillary Evans, vice president of professional learning & public policy, Philanthropy Southwest

COVID-19 $2 Trillion Stimulus Package Bill Includes Support for Non-profit Sector

On March 27, Congress passed a $2 trillion dollar stimulus bill, H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). This legislation is the largest emergency aid package in US history. Earlier last week, the Senate unanimously passed this stimulus plan. The House then returned to Washington and approved the 880-page stimulus package, which the President signed into law, bringing temporary relief to Americans during this global crisis. 

For the nonprofit sector, the bill provides the following: 

  • Creates a temporary one-year universal charitable deduction for non-itemizers, capped at $300. This provision excludes gifts to donor-advised funds and 509(a)(3) supporting organizations.
  • ​Temporarily suspends current adjusted growth income limits for charitable deductions for cash gifts made by individuals and businesses. This provision excludes gifts to donor-advised funds and 509(a)(3) supporting organizations.
  • ​For individuals, total charitable contributions can be deducted up to the taxpayer's adjusted gross income. 
  • For corporations, charitable contributions can be deducted up to 25 percent of taxable income. ​
  • Provides small business loan relief to nonprofit organizations with less than 500 employees. 
  • Provides fully refundable tax credits to nonprofits that have a furloughed or reduced workforce due to the coronavirus that would cover employee wages and be applied against the employer’s share of payroll taxes.

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has indicated this bill is meant to bridge the economic fallout from the coronavirus for the next 10 to 12 weeks, and congressional leadership has said they are already looking ahead to a fourth bill to provide further economic relief. National Council of Nonprofits has provided further initial analysis of this bill which can be found by clicking here. We will continue to keep the grantmaking community updated on any future legislative developments. 

Philanthropy Southwest Delegation Attends Foundations on the Hill

Philanthropy Southwest joined around 200 philanthropy support organizations and foundations for Foundations on the Hill (FOTH), March 9-11. The Philanthropy Southwest Delegation, consisting of almost a dozen foundation leaders, met with House and Senate offices from Texas, Colorado and Nevada. These meetings on the Hill came shortly before the U.S. Capitol closed to visitors amid concerns of the COVID-19 global pandemic. 
Congressional leaders welcomed conversations with philanthropy, working in partnership to support communities during these unprecedented and challenging times. In Hill meetings, the Philanthropy Southwest Delegation thanked Congress for passing the revenue neutral private foundation excise tax and repealing the unrelated business income tax. The Delegation also encouraged congressional leaders to support a universal charitable deduction, incentivize giving through the legacy IRA legislation, repeal the exclusion of donor-advised funds from IRA charitable rollovers, and support the protection of Census data.

Following FOTH, the charitable and nonprofit sectors mobilized together calling upon both House and Senate leaders to include deductions for charitable giving and other support for the nonprofit sector as part of the COVID relief bills.  Representatives Smith of New Jersey and Cuellar of Texas urged Secretary Mnuchin to include a temporary universal charitable deduction.  Senator Lankford of Oklahoma proposed an amendment that would, for 2020, create an above-the-line deduction for charitable donations.

Efforts like FOTH and the mobilization that followed are essential to the viability of the charitable and nonprofit sectors. These sectors rise in times of crisis and beyond crisis to support communities in need. It is critical that the philanthropic community continue this advocacy in working with government to preserve these sectors and amplify their impact. 

Funder Resources for Census 2020

Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation provided the below resources in preparation for 2020 Census Day.

April 1st is 2020 Census Day. During this time of uncertainty in the wake of COVID-19, it is critical that we continue to collectively prioritize the health and safety of our communities and uplift the importance of responding to the census (and how easy it is to complete online, over the phone, or through the paper form). 

The toolkit contains the following sections: 

  • Key Dates 
  • Examples of Philanthropic Engagement
  • Talking Points
  • Sample Social Media Posts 
  • Partner & Practitioner Toolkits
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