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Help from Washington

March 27, 2020


The three-week National Cherry Blossom Festival started in Washington, DC, a week ago, and it’s a sight to behold (see the 24/7 “Bloom Cam” here to experience it virtually).

Washington is on everyone’s mind these days as Congress has been struggling to craft emergency legislation to keep our economy afloat. Two major aid packages have already become law. Our main article today highlights some features of a third package, the 880-page Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act just passed by the Senate on Wednesday and by the House today, and how it will affect nonprofits.

Today’s featured topic: Congress CARES

On March 25, after significant political wrangling, the Senate passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a massively complex piece of legislation that includes aid, tax relief, and other provisions that will affect almost all taxpayers. The House passed the legislation this afternoon. Experts are still digesting the bill (which has not yet been signed into law), but here are a few provisions of interest to nonprofits (and their donors) that you will want to follow:

  • Employers, including nonprofits, can defer payment of the employer portion of Social Security tax (generally 6.2% of employee wages). Half will be due by December 31, 2021, and the remaining half will be due by December 31, 2022.
  • Individuals (read “donors”) can now take a $300 charitable deduction for contributions made to qualified charities in 2020, regardless of whether they itemize deductions. (Many fewer individuals could deduct charitable donations after the major tax law change in 2017.)
  • For individuals, the 50%-of-adjusted-gross-income ceiling on charitable contributions is suspended for 2020.
  • For corporations, the 10%-of-taxable-income limitation charitable contributions deduction is increased to 25% of taxable income.
  • The ceiling for deducting contributions of food inventory has been raised from 15% to 25%.
  • Two kinds of loans for nonprofits: The Families First Coronavirus Act, passed on March 18, 2020, created non-forgivable Disaster Relief loans that are available to nonprofits. Meanwhile, the CARES Act includes emergency Small Business Administration loans to small businesses, including nonprofits, that do include a forgivable component. We will be watching for more clarity on how these loans can be applied for and how you may be able to use them.

Related CEO Roundtable: We will, of course, keep you updated on this important legislative development. To learn more, sign up for our next COVID-19 CEO Roundtable, “Nonprofits and the CARES Act.” Our presenter, Becky Phillips, CPA, CFF, CFE, heads MCM CPAs & Advisors Not-for-Profit Service Team – and serves on CNPE’s board. The webinar will take place on Wednesday, April 1, from 9 to 10:15 AM.

We are producing these roundtables for nonprofit CEOs, Executive Directors, and board chairs. If you are one, have not been getting emailed invitations to register, and would like to, please contact Merv Antonio, our Director of Learning, here.

Other COVID-19 CEO Roundtables: We hosted our first virtual CEO Roundtable last Tuesday and our second one this morning. These free roundtables, open to CEOs, Executive Directors, and board chairs of both CNPE members and prospective members, let nonprofit leaders learn from local subject-matter experts how to navigate during the coronavirus outbreak.

  • Our first webinar addressed COVID-19: HR and Legal Perspective for Nonprofits. View replay here.
  • Our second roundtable, Communicating in a Crisis: Lessons for COVID-19, took place this morning. View replay here.

 “The List”: The CNPE team curates links to resources that you can use on our COVID-19 Nonprofit Resources List.

Calm iconCNPE Self-Care Tip of the Day: Quiet your mind. There is no better time than now to explore this healing practice. Meditation takes many forms; a great one to start with is mindfulness. Meditation helps you take control of your mind and stay in the present, which contributes to your mental well-being. Practice regularly. Frequency is more important than duration. Start with two to five minutes a day. If you can, work up to 10 to 20 minutes a day.

Hang in there. Don’t forget to stop and smell the blossoms along the way.

My best,

Ann L. Coffey, CEO

The CNPE office is closed temporarily to help ensure everyone’s health. Our staff will be working remotely, though, and remain available to help members. Please don’t hesitate to contact us. CNPE Staff Contacts

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