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COVID-19 Update: CARES Act and Lankford Amendment

Publication date: 
March, 2020

On March 19, 2020, Senate Majority Leader McConnell proposed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act. The United States Senate will likely consider voting on this bill in the next 24 hours, depending on negotiations with the House of Representatives and the President.

Over the weekend, NCG, in coordination with our Philanthropy California colleagues, sent letters to Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Kamala Harris to respectfully request that the CARES Act include support for the nonprofit sector.

Specifically, we asked that the bill: 

  • Expressly include charitable nonprofits in the $200 billion loan fund for businesses, including airlines. The charitable sector needs an immediate infusion of $60 billion, and the loan program is a fast way to get cash in the hands of organizations that are facing lost and declining revenue due to the pandemic, yet continue serving immediate needs in communities.
  • Improve the above-the-line charitable deduction by raising the cap to $4,000 and allow all taxpayers to immediately claim the deduction on their 2019 taxes (due on July 15), and afterward through 2021.
  • Clarify that charitable nonprofits of all sizes are able to participate in the emergency Small Business Loan Program by using the tax law definition of charitable organizations and removing the language that excludes nonprofits eligible to receive Medicaid reimbursements. This bill currently excludes community health center for accessing this loan program.

Read the Letter to Diane Feinstein

Senator James Lankford (R-OK) is planning to propose an amendment to the Senate COVID-19 Stimulus bill that would, for 2020, create an above-the-line deduction for charitable donations. The amendment would:

  •  Provide an above-the-line deduction for charitable giving capped at one third of the standard deduction ($4000 for individuals / $8000 for married couples).
  • Ensure that the deduction is available for all of 2020 so that those who’ve already donated this year can also take advantage of this.
  • Ensure that there’s no giving floor included, so that the deduction is accessible for small-dollar donors, which are critical to churches and charities.
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