WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons (both-Del.) joined their colleagues Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), to introduce legislation to help nonprofit organizations meet an increase in demand for their services due to the coronavirus pandemic while also helping newly unemployed Americans get back to work. The Work Opportunities and Resources to Keep Nonprofit Organizations Well (WORK NOW) Act will create a major new grant program to help nonprofit organizations retain their employees, scale their service delivery, and provide unemployed men and women with new jobs serving their communities.
In addition to Senators Carper, Coons, Klobuchar, Schatz, Wyden, and Brown, the legislation is cosponsored by Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).
“Delawareans and Americans across the country find themselves in dire straits through no fault of their own. Too many families are struggling to pay their rent and bills and are worried about how they are going to put food on the table. And just this week, our nation’s unemployment rate reached nearly 15 percent -- the highest since the Great Depression. Now, more than ever, we must do everything we can to support our nation’s food banks, shelters and other charitable groups that are serving as a critical lifeline to so many families during this pandemic,”said Senator Carper. “That’s why I am proud to join my colleagues to introduce the WORK NOW Act, a bill that will help get people back to work while also ensuring that our nation’s nonprofit organizations have the workforce and resources necessary to continue providing critical services to our communities.”
“Delaware nonprofit organizations are absolutely critical pillars of our community, and they’re doubly important during this COVID-19 crisis,” said Senator Coons. “For many Delawareans, food pantries and shelters are literal lifelines right now, and that’s why I’m working with Senator Carper to help ensure that Delaware nonprofit organizations are able to keep their employees on payroll and continue serving our must vulnerable neighbors.”
“Delaware nonprofits appreciate Senator Carper and Senator Coons’ strong support of the charitable community, as evidenced by their co-sponsorship of the WORK NOW Act introduced today,” said the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement (DANA) President and CEO, Sheila Bravo. “This bill offers immediate support to the organizations best suited to help put Delawareans to work addressing the most critical needs in our communities.”
The legislation is endorsed by the following groups: National Council of Nonprofits; United Way; Boys and Girls Clubs of America; Goodwill Industries; YMCA, Habitat for Humanity; Jewish Federations of North America; Mentor, Orthodox Union; Lutheran Services in America; Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis; Minnesota Council of Nonprofits; Lutheran Social Services Minnesota; Aspire Minnesota; St. David’s Center for Child & Family Development; Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota; and Hawai'i Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations.
At the same time that the need for many nonprofit services is soaring, charitable giving and other revenue streams have declined precipitously as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, forcing many nonprofits to lay off workers and cut back on services. This legislation will provide a major mobilization of resources so American men and women recently separated from the workforce can get back to work helping our nonprofit organizations meet the massive needs of this moment.
The program will be administered by the Treasury Department and allocations will be made to states and local governments—with all funding channeled to eligible nonprofits meeting needs that have increased as a result of the pandemic and the attendant economic crisis. National nonprofit organizations will be invited to apply directly to the Treasury Department on behalf of themselves and their local chapters across the nation. The majority of federal funding must be used for employee compensation—paying the wages, salaries and benefits of either existing employees or new employees. Some funding may also be used to help nonprofits innovate in delivering services in new ways to meet the challenges imposed by the pandemic.