Funders Convene; Federal Aid; Disaster, Emergency Resources

March 24, 2020 — Massachusetts funders convene to share ways to help nonprofits... Nonprofits aided by Families First Coronavirus Response Act... Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation gives $30K to Mass. nonprofits... Disaster and emergency relief resources.

Massachusetts Funders Convene to Share Ways to Help Nonprofits

More than 260 funders across Massachusetts connected online last week to share approaches and recommendations to continue and speed funding to Bay State nonprofits and the communities they serve that have been impacted by the rapidly unfolding coronavirus pandemic.

The meeting, hosted by Philanthropy Massachusetts, a Boston-based regional association of grant makers, agreed that they can best help by:
  • Releasing restrictions on grants, e.g., shifting requirements for program grants to general operating support
  • Releasing grant payments earlier to help cash flow
  • Extending grant application deadlines
  • Suspending or delaying reporting requirements
  • Rethinking site visits by postponing or using, recognizing that nonprofit organizations are scrambling to also implement remote work solutions
The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, the state's nonprofit trade association, has proposed that the state allow for cost-sharing between the state and self-insured employers where those employers are paying for individuals unemployed as a direct result of COVID-19, the disease caused by a coronavirus.

Nonprofits Aided by Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed into law last week, provides a complex set of temporary paid leave mandates and employer reimbursement provisions, as well as funding for free coronavirus testing, food nutrition security, and unemployment extension to help nonprofits and others. Among other things, it:
  • Requires employers with fewer than 500 employees (including nonprofits) and government employers to provide their employees two weeks of paid sick leave, paid at the employee’s regular rate, to quarantine or seek a diagnosis or preventive care for the coronavirus.

  • Expands the number of workers who can take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act for coronavirus-related reasons.

  • Allows employers paying for the mandated paid leave to claim a refundable tax credit.
For a comprehensive overview of provisions of the new law, click here.

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation Gives $30K to Mass. Nonprofits

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation yesterday announced it has donated $30,000 to three Massachusetts nonprofits to help address COVID-19 relief efforts.

Michael Carson, president and CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, said, “This is our initial community funding support to meet the immediate needs individuals and small businesses are facing in our communities. As this unprecedented pandemic continues, we are committed to further reinforcing community efforts across the region in addition to caring for our members and supporting our providers."

Receiving the funds were the following:
  • Boys & Girls Club, Worcester: $10,000 for food access.
  • United Way of Greater Fall River, Fall River: $10,000 for the COVID-19 Relief Fund.
  • United Way of Greater New Bedford, New Bedford: $10,000 for the COVID-19 Relief Fund.
It also provided $280,000 to the City of Boston's Resiliency Fund to support residents most affected by COVID-19.

The foundation said it plans to give more than $3 million for COVID-19 relief efforts by supporting community and nonprofit organizations in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire.

Disaster and Emergency Relief Resources

Philanthropy Massachusetts has compiled a continuously updated list of resources that either have been established recently in response to the coronavirus crisis or that already exist to aid nonprofits, and others, responding to emergencies. It is available here.