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Nonprofit Quarterly

Nonprofit Quarterly

Scaling Economic Solidarity: The Pandemic, Nonprofits, and Power

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how a disease can reveal an underlying sickness—and in America, that means our failure to provide universal health care, our marginalization of immigrants and others, and our devaluation of the caring work that makes lives possible. But it has also revealed another basic truth: Our economy is fundamentally built on social connection. Without the ability to gather in shared social spaces—restaurants, airports and hotels, sports arenas, offices—our economy has experienced truly astounding and unprecedented shocks, and the speed of the recovery will depend on how quickly we can safely congregate again.
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Reconsidering Charitable Tax Exemption: A Modest Proposal for the “Nonprofit 1000”

This article comes from the spring 2020 edition of the Nonprofit Quarterly. In looking at any kind of policy—public policy (policy made by public officials), organizational policy, or even personal policy—the relationship between the policy and its target may change. The sociological concepts of cultural lag and structural lag are helpful in understanding this process.
INCOME TAX
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What Did Paycheck Protection Loans Go Toward—and Who Gave Theirs Back?

An April 13 report from the US Small Business Administration (SBA) Cares details where the (largely forgivable) Paycheck Protection Program loans from the CARES Act went, by geography and industry. While it only assesses $247,543,393,521 of the $349 billion made available, it provides a sense of the proportion of the loans made to various “industries,” including nonprofits, which we assume is covered primarily in the “Health Care and Social Assistance” line. This was the fourth-highest category both for numbers of loans given (114,236) and dollar amount ($27,907,315,755); overall, the category received 11.27 percent of the loans. Other categories where nonprofits may be represented include Educational Services (2.29 percent), Information (1.80 percent), and Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (1.49 percent).
SMALL BUSINESS
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Racial Disparities Prominent in Pandemic Layoffs, Survey Finds

A study conducted by the Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research at the University of Southern California (USC) finds that unemployment is rising fastest in communities of color. Called the Understanding Coronavirus in America study, the survey has tracked 5,500 adults nationwide since the pandemic shutdown began. The survey finds that 15 of 100 surveyed whites have lost their jobs in the past month, compared to 18 percent of Latinx respondents and 21 percent of Black respondents.
JOBS
Nonprofit Quarterly

California Becomes First State to Provide Relief to Undocumented Immigrants

With 2.2 million undocumented immigrants living and working in California, the state last week announced the launch of a disaster relief fund to provide cash assistance to undocumented residents who have been impacted by COVID-19. The state has dedicated $75 million to the fund and has a commitment from the philanthropic network Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees to raise an additional $50 million.

Our Nation’s Childcare Infrastructure Faces an Existential Risk

April 17, 2020; Caller-Times (Corpus Christi, TX), City Lab, and the Hechinger Report. In a country where most parents must work, childcare is not optional. As with other parts of our economy, COVID-19 has disrupted the network of organizations—public and private, for-profit and nonprofit—that together made up a haphazard national childcare system, unguided by any coherent set of national policies, and exposed its deep flaws. Nationally, notes Lillian Mongeau for the Hechinger Report, there are 1.7 million childcare providers. Whether that system can survive is now uncertain.
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX
Nonprofit Quarterly

Remaking the Economy in Fresno: Community in the Time of COVID

When thinking of California, Fresno is rarely front of mind. But Fresno County, home to over 940,000 people and a national agricultural leader, is central to the US economy. Still, amidst the fertile Central Valley soil is tremendous racial and economic inequality in the majority people-of-color city. Fresno residents are working to change that. Recently, Fresno allocated $66 million in capital investment through participatory budgeting, the largest use of that process in US history.
Nonprofit Quarterly

Why Grantmakers Need to Break Their Restriction Habit—Permanently

For years, funders have been trying to come to terms with the unintended harm their restricted grantmaking has caused to nonprofit organizations and the communities they serve. Restricted grants are like the cigarettes of the nonprofit world. They hurt the smoker and everyone around them. They permeate the air we breathe and have shaped our systems and culture. And as things change, we’re faced with the collective damage of this longstanding habit.

Economic Justice and System Change: How Should Nonprofits Respond?

Increasingly, economic inequality has become a central problem of US society. Since the 1970s, wealth and income inequality has risen rapidly, affecting the work of nearly all nonprofits. But how should nonprofit actors conceptualize the economy and address the many economic problems that affect the people we serve, especially today, as more than 20 million Americans have lost their jobs?
POLITICS

Profiteering & Self-Cheering: The Ruse of New Philanthropy in the Age of COVID

COVID-19 is proving to be, among other things, a stage where the great inequities in American society can play out under a harsh spotlight. Over 22 million people have filed for unemployment in the last four weeks, their jobs swept away by the virus’s rising tide. While millions struggle to pay rent and feed their families, many of the wealthiest Americans have seen their income grow. For them, this crisis is as an opportunity to make new investments on the cheap. Will this period, like the last and far less dramatic recession, simply exacerbate the wealth divide, or can we take the moment to disallow and reverse those trends?
JOBS
Nonprofit Quarterly

What Are the Arnolds Doing in Baltimore? Using COVID to Cover Sidestepping Democracy

Longtime NPQ readers may remember the 2016 story about a massive aerial surveillance plan cooked up by the Baltimore Police Department and funded by the Texas-based philanthropy of billionaire couple Laura and John Arnold. This philanthropy used to be housed in the Laura and John Arnold Foundation but is now deployed from an LLC called Arnold Ventures.

In the Age of COVID-19, Whose Job Is It to Fight Racism?

In a good-hearted, and highly symbolic action, three Asian-American nonprofits in Orange County, California donated much-needed face masks, gloves, and other protective equipment to the first responders of the county. Noting the recent attacks and animosity towards Asian Americans in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Howard Li of the Chinese American CPA Association, one of the donors, said, “Our enemy is the virus, not the Chinese. It’s time to put aside our differences, and we will succeed.”
ORANGE COUNTY, CA

CDC Weakens Protective Guidelines as Need for Essential Workers Intensifies

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, grocery store employees and other workers who were suddenly acknowledged as “essential” received military-style “thanks for their service” even as they were exposed, often unnecessarily, to the coronavirus. At Amazon, for example, frontline employees have had to struggle for safe working conditions; 74 workers are known to have tested positive for COVID-19, and one has died. Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos has added $24 billion to his personal wealth and Amazon stock has hit an all-time high as the call goes out for 175,000 new workers.
HEALTH

$349B in PPP Loans May Already Be Spent—Will the Next Round Be Better?

NPQ, as readers know, has been following the story of the Paycheck Protection Program of the CARES Act as nonprofits worked through the chaos of the application process. The program, which was open to small businesses—including nonprofits—with fewer than 500 employees, offered forgivable loans to retain employees on payroll and promised some kind of a bridge over the COVID-19 shutdown period if it did not extend too long.
SMALL BUSINESS
Nonprofit Quarterly

Keeping it Real: The Scrappy Resilience of Some Nonprofits

When NPQ recently did a summation of what happened to nonprofits during the last recession, one thing we found was that they turned out to be highly resilient. If one revenue source dries up, they will quickly try to expand into another, strategizing on an ongoing basis not only around cash revenue, but on ways to employ other forms of capital. This can lead to the kind of homegrown creativity that makes for organizational legend.