Action Alert- Tell members of Congress that action is needed on COVID-19 Relief before the end of the year! Maryland Nonprofits Statement to Members of Maryland’s Congressional Delegation
Dear Members of Congress,
On behalf of our 1100 member organizations and nonprofits across Maryland, we must ask for continued support from Congress to sustain our ability to meet the needs of people and communities suffering from both the health toll and the economic distress of the Covid-19 pandemic. These have been the most severe for the least able among us, and have dramatically pointed out the continuing tragic injustice of racial and social inequities in our nation.
At the same time, I must express our gratitude for what you have already done over the last eight months. Direct financial support to employers through the Paycheck Protection Program, support for the costs of unemployment liabilities of reimbursing organizations and governments, billions to governments and health, education and other organizations, through the CARES Act and other legislation, have been critical lifelines. The Paycheck Protection Program alone pumped $10 billion into Maryland’s businesses and nonprofits to preserve employment and services.
But as the pandemic continues, and now worsens, most or all of that support is being exhausted. You will shortly be enacting, we hope, a new round of vitally needed aid and stimulus. On behalf of nonprofits across the state, we urge you, in this or if need be in subsequent legislation, to include:
- Continuing direct support to individuals, families, and service providers for basic needs and services, such as food assistance, shelter (including eviction and foreclosure relief and protection), health services (including access to vaccines), and enhanced unemployment benefits;
- Renewal of the Paycheck Protection Program or other forgivable direct loan assistance, with amounts targeted for smaller businesses and nonprofits, including prior recipients still in need, and larger nonprofits that were largely cut out of earlier relief programs;
- Financial aid for state and local governments to sustain public safety, education and other services, as well as to provide supports such as PPE and other supplies to allow safe re-openings and operations until the population is sufficiently vaccinated; and
- For nonprofits, continued relief for costs of ‘reimbursing’ unemployment benefits, assistance for smaller nonprofits facing an escalating burden as unemployment ‘rate-payers’, and continuation of the CARES Act’s ‘above the line’ charitable deduction in 2021.
Finally, among the all other inequities highlighted by the pandemic, the lack of meaningful access to high- speed internet – either because of location, affordability, or the ability to use it, has deprived too many families of access to, and even basic information about, critical health care, work opportunities, the ability to even apply for unemployment or other social assistance, and remote learning. When needed most, these were hardest to reach. The ‘digital divide’ must be addressed and must be dealt with – it is essential national public infrastructure.
We understand the challenges and divisions that you are working to face, and we thank you again for the assistance that you have provided for all of Maryland, and particularly the nonprofit community over the past year.