NAO Update: February 25, 2021

I hope that you are all doing well. I am excited to share what I think are the first glimpses of Spring. The days getting longer, the light returning and the geese flying in their V-shaped formations are giving us all that serotonin boost we’ve been needing and missing these winter months. (On a run the other day I saw a crocus blooming in my neighbor’s yard!) The slow, but steady release of the COVID vaccine is also helping to give us a sense of some light at the end of a very dark tunnel. We all still need to be careful and observe safety precautions, but there’s a renewed sense of hope.

With the light of Spring also comes that sense of doing some Spring cleaning and refreshing. (For those of you that are already clearing out flower beds, planting peas or getting pullets at Wilco, you know what I mean.) We all get that drive to start the warm months of the year with a fresh start to make the things you’ll do in 2021 more effective and fun.

As you prepare your personal life, I also want to invite you to do some Spring cleaning at your nonprofit. Look through those board notes and make sure the Secretary signed all meeting minutes; Check to be sure you’ve updated board signatories at your bank; Be sure that you’re clearing out the “garage” of your documents that don’t need to be retained and properly storing those that do.

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Special Paycheck Protection Program Alert

Beginning Wednesday, February 24 until March 9, the Small Business Administration will process Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications exclusively from businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees. The recent changes to the PPP mark a major step towards promoting equitable relief – supporting not only our nation’s smallest nonprofits, but also minority-owned small businesses that may have previously missed out on accessing emergency funds during the pandemic.

NAO strongly encourages those who are eligible, to take advantage of this two-week period! If you think your nonprofit may be eligible for an initial PPP loan or a second draw loan Congress authorized at the end of 2020, now is the best time to contact a lender and find out how much relief may be available.

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NAO Update: February 18, 2021

With the recent snow and wind storms here in Northwestern Oregon and similar weather gripping the entire middle of America, we are reminded how vulnerable people depend on nonprofits in our communities. So many of your organizations are doing the important work of responding to the needs of people without power, heat, food or a roof over their heads. In addition, nonprofits are continuing to act, discuss and push the needle on important issues like race, justice and equity. Thank you all for the vital work that you are doing each day to improve our world, America and Oregon.

In light of this, I am excited to share that today we are releasing our latest episode of NAO’s podcast The Public Space, titled The Race to Lead in the Nonprofit Sector. Sean Thomas-Breitfeld, Co-Director of the Building Movement Project discusses the racial gap in nonprofit leadership and offers tangible actions to address the gap. Be sure to check out our latest episode! NAO’s The Public Space features thought leaders who share strategic ideas and solutions that spark positive change in civil society. Never miss an episode, subscribe to The Public Space wherever you get your podcasts.

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NAO Update: February 11, 2021

The Oregon Legislative session is now in full swing and committees are conducting hearings on the over 1,600 bills before them. We are so inspired to hear about so many coalitions of nonprofits coming together to advise and lobby our legislators as they work toward greater investments and support for Oregon communities. We are noticing nonprofits leading on racial justice and police reform issues, broadband access in rural communities, equitable housing measures, important responses to the wildfires, and hunger and education for underserved communities. Thanks to so many of you that are engaging in that important work!

NAO continues to watch several pieces of legislation that are either supportive or damaging to our sector as a whole. I specifically want to call out SB723 that some of you may recognize from past years (a zombie bill?).

This is an attempt to dissuade nonprofits from participating in their legal right to engage in lobbying in our legislature. The rules for charitable nonprofits regarding lobbying policymakers on issues important to their mission, program participants and stakeholders are already confusing enough. In too many cases, nonprofits are easily dissuaded from engaging in lobbying because they’re afraid they may run afoul of the law. This has already been deemed a foolish measure in previous legislative sessions. It is an attempt to throw more roadblocks in the way of nonprofits standing up for people experiencing homelessness, working for social justice reforms, pushing for measures that support investment in wildfire relief for devastated communities, and advocating for other critical investments.

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NAO Update: February 04, 2021

February is Black History Month – a time when we especially call attention to, recognize, and celebrate the achievements of African Americans and the vital role they have played and continue to play in our country and state’s history. We join our nonprofit colleagues across Oregon in paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity, marginalization, and racism to achieve full citizenship in American society. Also known as African American History Month, the recognition was spearheaded by noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Here in Oregon, we have several Black-led and Black-serving nonprofit organizations who do amazing work in our communities, and NAO is proud to count many of them as our members and part of our statewide network. We also have amazing Black nonprofit leaders and staff who are doing equally incredible work across the state to further causes and build community. I encourage you to learn more about Black History, and find ways to support the work of Black-led and Black-serving nonprofit organizations in the important work they are doing across the state.

I would also like to thank all our NAO members from across the state who participated in our Annual Meeting of membership held last week. Together with incoming President Rick Jung and outgoing President Brad Russell, I was proud to give an overview of our work in 2020 and our vision for 2021. As part of that event, the 2021 NAO Officers and Board of Directors was named. We were very happy to have so many of you engaged and we appreciate the opportunity we had in 2020 to serve your needs in such a challenging year. We look forward to continued service to all of you this year!

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NAO Update: January 27, 2021

Last Friday, a national coalition of nonprofit organizations sent an initial letter to federal leaders urging Congress and President Biden to enact a package of solutions tailored to the needs and realities of nonprofits serving the public good. The letter, after highlighting the unique role of charitable nonprofits in providing pandemic relief and economic recovery, urges President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, and Leaders Schumer, McCarthy, and McConnell to include provisions in the next COVID relief package that accomplish the following: Provide Nonprofit-Specific Grants, Forgivable Loans, and Refundable Tax Credits for All Nonprofits; Strengthen Charitable Giving Incentives; Provide 100% Unemployment Benefit Reimbursement; Provide Substantial Financial Aid to State and Local Governments.

The letter was sent last week to make sure negotiators and bill drafters knew the position of nonprofits. All of your Congressional delegation need to hear from you, but particularly Senator Wyden and Congressman Blumenauer who both have important committee positions that are involved directly in the drafting and negotiating of the bill.

Nonprofits from all subsectors and across the country are expressing their support by signing onto the letter to signal to Congress the groundswell of nonprofit support. NAO has signed on to the letter. We know from experience that policy proposals like these have a much greater chance of adoption when the constituents they’re meant to help show their support by contacting their lawmakers. With your help, we can show every member of Oregon’s congressional delegation that nonprofits in their districts want these measures.

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