Resources for Nonprofits Affected by Covid-19

Delainey Lockett • Apr 08, 2020

In the recent weeks, we’ve stood witness to unprecedented change and hardship placed on every level of our communities. 

Not only are nonprofits needed more than ever, but attempting to facilitate donations from a population which has lost 50% of its workforce is an impossible situation. For many nonprofits, keeping doors open through this pandemic will be one of the biggest challenges in recent years. 

We have curated a list of resources available to help nonprofits located in Canada and in the United States.

United States Government Supported Funding for Nonprofits

1. Emergency Support for Small to Mid Sized Nonprofits (500 Employees or Fewer)

The bill creates a new Emergency Small Business Loan program within the SBA 7(a) loan program. 

To be eligible, nonprofits or for-profits must have been in existence on March 1, 2020 or earlier and have 500 or fewer employees. 

An important provision: under this new program, loans are forgivable if the nonprofit or for-profit keeps staff on the payroll between March 1 and June 30. This, in essence, turns the loan into a general operating support grant. Forgivable loans of this type can be taken out for as much as $10 million and can be used to meet payroll and associated costs (including health insurance premiums), facilities costs, and debt service. Further good news: A provision in earlier drafts that would have disqualified nonprofits that are eligible for Medicaid payments was removed from the bill.

2. Loan Support for Larger Entities with 500–10,000 Employees

The stimulus bill also calls for the creation of a loan and loan guarantee program via a new Industry Stabilization Fund specifically targeting “mid-size” organizations, defined as having between 500 and 10,000 employees. This provision, unlike the emergency SBA loan program, does not provide loan forgiveness, but does mandate an interest rate of no higher than two percent and would not accrue interest or require repayments for the first six months. Nonprofits accepting the mid-size business loans must retain or rehire at least 90 percent of their staff at full compensation.

3. Support for Nonprofits of Any Size

The SBA currently has Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). The existing program provides loans of up to $2 million at an interest rate of 2.75 percent for nonprofits. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.

But we’re hearing reports from the field about conflicting messages from SBA offices.

The relief bill would change the EIDL to eliminate creditworthiness requirements and eligible nonprofits with 500 employees or fewer are supposed to be able to get checks for $10,000 within three days.

4. Benefits for Donors

As NPQ board member Gene Takagi details, the stimulus bill also contains a one-time, above-the-line deduction for cash contributions of up to $300 made to certain qualifying charities. 

All taxpayers would be eligible to take the deduction, even people who use the standard deduction. The incentive applies to contributions made in 2020 and would be claimed on tax forms next year. The new deduction would not apply to noncash gifts or to gifts contributed to donor advised funds.

For the eight percent of individual taxpayers who itemize their deductions, the bill would suspend for 2020 the normal limit on deductions for contributions, ordinarily 50 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) or 60 percent for cash. For corporations, the limit on deductions for contributions, ordinarily 10 percent of AGI, is elevated to 25 percent for 2020. Food donations from corporations would be available to 25 percent, up from the current 15 percent cap.

United States Private Grants 

1. Bank of America

$100 million commitment to support communities throughout the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak. 

The bank is dedicating its giving to increase the response capacity of medical organizations, address food insecurity, provide access to distance-learning resources for children whose schools have closed, and provide support to the world’s most vulnerable people. 

Among the first grantees is Khan Academy, which provides free, online learning materials for students ages 4 to 18.

2. Facebook

 $100 million to the Facebook Small Business Grants Program, which will make free online advertising and grants available to 30,000 small businesses in over 30 countries where the social-media company’s employees live and work.

3. Netflix 

$100 million to create an economic-relief fund to help crew members and other members of the Hollywood filmmaking community who are out of work during the coronavirus crisis. 

The streaming company has given $1 million to SAG-AFTRA for its Covid-19 Disaster Fund, $1 million to the Motion Picture & Television Fund, and $1 million to the Actors Fund Emergency Assistance in the United States, as well as $15 million for nonprofit groups outside the United States.

4. New York Community Trust

 $75 million to create the NYC Covid-19 Response & Impact Fund, which will support nonprofit groups in New York that work in arts and culture and social services and will suffer financial losses from the coronavirus pandemic. 

The new fund, administered by the New York Community Trust, will provide grants and interest-free loans to small and midsize nonprofits in the city to help them respond to emerging needs and continue their work. 

Many major foundations in New York have donated to the fund, including Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Estée Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Robin Hood, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

5. Walmart and Walmart Foundation

$25 million pledge to support organizations responding to the global coronavirus crisis. 

The retailer has committed to provide $10 million to support food banks, school-meal programs, and related food-security organizations; $10 million to support efforts in communities facing economic hardship in the United States and internationally; and $5 million to global efforts to help countries prevent, detect, and manage the coronavirus. The first recipients will be announced in the coming week.

Canadian Government Supporting Funding for Nonprofits

UPDATED: Canada Emergency Community Support Fund 

On April 21st, it was announced that a fund of $350 million dollars to be devoted to Nonprofits and Charities across Canada. The fund will be split between small front line nonprofits, and specific funding for larger national charities. The government has stated that this funding will help with Covid-19 efforts across Canada, through support for volunteer led home delivery initiatives, providing more helplines to Canadians for support and accurate information, and aid in providing access to transportation services amongst other virtual social gathering and support initiatives. Nonprofits will be able to apply on Monday April 27th

1. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

Eligible employers would include individuals, taxable corporations, and partnerships consisting of eligible employers as well as non‑profit organizations and registered charities.

Within this subsidy, 75% of wages can be subsidized to a limit of $847.00 per employee per week, and will be administered through the CRA. 

This subsidy would be available to eligible employers that see a drop of at least 30 per cent of their revenue. In applying for the subsidy, employers would be required to attest to the decline in revenue. The CRA portal for this program is expected to be released in mid May. 

2. Extensions to Work-Sharing Program: 

 As an extension of the Employment Insurance program, all employers are eligible to apply for the Work Sharing Program in collaboration with their employees and Service Canada. 

Within this program, employees can share available workload while working part-time, and receive benefits to make up a portion of the missed wages. 

This program is available for up to 38 weeks, and organizations must show a 10% decrease in revenues to qualify! 

3. NSERC Alliance Covid-19 Grants 

The Natural Sciences and Research Council of Canada is offering grants for projects related to industry, not-for-profit or public sector organizations that have a challenge or question that could benefit from research expertise in the natural sciences and engineering disciplines can submit their challenge or question to NSERC. 

Current funding is available to those tackling a project or problem related to the Covid-19 outbreak. There is funding available up to $50,000 per project, apply here

Canada Private Grants

Mitacs Grants 

Mitacs, a government-funded national nonprofit that aims to foster growth and innovation in Canada by using research solutions from academic institutions to solve business challenges, has launched an effort to aid nonprofits in speeding up coronavirus-related projects. 

Within days, organizations will be able to secure government funding; access resources for research, development and equipment; and hire post-secondary interns. 

Mitacs provides both funding and an avenue for collaboration between nonprofits or businesses, and accredited research institutions. For more information see here

Legal Support for Nonprofits

Pacific Legal Education and Outreach Society

Since 2005, the Pacific Legal Education and Outreach Society (PLEO) has provided legal services to nonprofits. As a nonprofit society, PLEO supports nonprofits in Canada with strategic legal services, resources, and tools including the Legal Self Assessment Tool, Ask a Law Student, Legal Lunch & Learn Webinar Series, and much more.

Check out PLEO’s legal resources for nonprofits here.

Free Products and Services for Nonprofits 

1. Avaya

The company is offering its Avaya Spaces collaboration software for free to educational institutions and nonprofits through August 31 in countries where it is available. There is a limit of 200 participants per meeting on the service.

2. Aware

 With many workers now operating remotely, Aware is offering its Spotlight product for free through May. The software gives employers insights and analytics on their distributed workers.

3. Calendly 

Calendly used to charge for integrating with some video conferencing services such as Zoom and GoToMeeting. This integration is now free and the company will also be offering unpaid access to its premium service for teams working on projects to tackle COVID-19.

4. Diligent Corporation

 The company is making its software available for free to nonprofits and K-12 school boards who need to conduct remote board meetings during the COVID-19 crisis.

5. Dropbox

 Dropbox Business, which enables people to work remotely, and HelloSign Enterprise, which manages electronic agreements, will be free for six months for nonprofits and NGOs involved in the battle against COVID-19.

6. Mailchimp

MailChimp’s platform is used by marketers to distribute e-mail newsletters and other online promotions. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the company is offering free accounts for its more feature-rich service to local governments, schools, healthcare providers, nonprofits and other organizations that need to communicate critical health information about the disease. Existing customers who fall into these categories will not be billed during this period and those who are on MailChimp’s free or basic plans will be upgraded to the standard one at no cost.

7. Microsoft

 Microsoft Teams, the company’s collaboration and communication platform, is scrapping the user limit on its free version, which was previously restricted to 300 people. Microsoft has also announced it is making the basic version of its Office 365 enterprise suite of productivity tools such as Word and Excel free for six months to organizations, which gives users access to the premium version of Microsoft Teams.

8. RingCentral

 RingCentral Office, which includes call-management, videoconferencing and other tools, is now free for K-12 schools, healthcare providers and nonprofits. See here for more information! 

9. Hootsuite

Online presence during this crisis is proving to be an enormous factor is the digital fundraising sphere, and Vancouver-based social media management platform Hootsuite is providing its professional plan (which includes 10 social media profiles, unlimited RSS integrations, in-dash live chat support and a $500 monthly boost spend) free to such outfits affected by the virus. The company is also launching a series of free online workshops to help with communications for customers in health care, financial services, higher education and government organizations. Stay connected on Hootsuite’s socials for updates.

10. Beanworks

 Microsoft Teams, the company’s collaboration and communication platform, is scrapping the user limit on its free version, which was previously restricted to 300 people. Microsoft has also announced it is making the basic version of its Office 365 enterprise suite of productivity tools such as Word and Excel free for six months to organizations, which gives users access to the premium version of Microsoft Teams.