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November 23, 2020
 
With Election over, Challenges Remain for Mass. Nonprofits
Mass. map with people2

November 10, 2020 — Massachusetts nonprofits are likely to continue to face considerable financial challenges following last week’s election, which will usher in a new administration in Washington in January, as renewed federal aid remains in doubt and the coronavirus pandemic worsens in the state.

Issues they face include:

  • Reduced revenue due to donors facing their own financial pressures and restrictions on their ability to host in-person fundraising events.

  • Questions regarding potential additional federal support.

  • Increased demand for services, especially among health-related and social services nonprofits, which could grow if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is struck down by the Supreme Court.

“We urge the passage of a new stimulus bill, a follow-on to the CARES Act, which would make a big difference for nonprofits,” said Jim Klocke, CEO of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, the state’s nonprofit trade association. “A bill that includes another round of PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) funding will provide direct relief to nonprofits that need it the most. A bill that includes funding for state and local governments will relieve pressure on their budgets and help preserve nonprofit services supported by government.”

He noted, “If the Supreme Court negates the ACA, we will need Congress to pass corrective legislation.”

Congressional action on the ACA and follow-on funding, similar to the CARES Act, could stall if the Senate remains in Republican control, to be decided by two special elections in Georgia in January, which will decide which party controls the Senate. Prior to the election, and as the pandemic has worsened in every state, Senate Republicans expressed little interest in renewing federal support to individuals and state and local governments.

Amy Rosenthal, executive director of Health Care For All, a Boston nonprofit that is a leading advocate in Massachusetts for comprehensive, affordable, and accessible health care, following the election said, “It has never been clearer how important it is for every American to have access to health care and to address structural racism. Whether we have a divided Congress or not, we cannot play politics with people's health care. We must build on and expand the ACA to cover everyone and ensure access to quality, affordable health care for all.”

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation yesterday released an estimate that 422,000 Massachusetts residents could lose health insurance coverage if the ACA is struck down, more than doubling the number of uninsured.

Nationally, a recent survey found that 75% of registered voters said Congress and the president need to take urgent action to provide support for charities.

Since the pandemic began in earnest in March, grant makers across Massachusetts have stepped in to assist nonprofits across the state, not only by providing funds but also by easing access to those resources.

“The philanthropic community has provided nonprofits with waves of new support since the pandemic started,” said Klocke. ”We also appreciate the ways in which foundations have streamlined their grant application and reporting processes.”

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