Disaster relief news

June 24, 2020

League Calls for Improvements to Nonprofit Main Street Lending Program

This week, the League submitted comments to the Federal Reserve, in coordination with the broader nonprofit sector, to suggest several revisions to the Main Street Lending Nonprofit Organization Expanded Loan Facility and the Nonprofit Organization New Loan Facility, which was proposed on Monday, June 15. In order for orchestras and other nonprofit organizations to utilize these much-needed resources, the program should be improved to remove the 50-employee floor, eliminate the requirement that no more than 30% of 2019 revenues come from donations, and offer more favorable loan terms and eligibility requirements. Additionally, nonprofit advocates are calling on Congress to take action to allow the Main Street loans to be forgivable. The League will keep you posted as the Fed takes next steps in finalizing the terms of the Nonprofit Main Street Lending program.

The Latest Paycheck Protection Program Updates and League Webinar

The League is presenting a webinar on Monday, June 29 at 1:00pm Eastern, providing the very latest information on the loan forgiveness process for the Paycheck Protection Program, which has been a key form of relief for orchestras and musicians amidst the COVID-19 crisis. This fourth webinar offering will build on prior League learning events, and will provide an overview of the newly-released loan forgiveness application form and instructions, the EZ loan forgiveness application and instructions, and additional loan forgiveness guidance issued just this week by the Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Our featured speaker is Kyle Miller, of the law firm Pryor Cashman. We will answer orchestra stakeholder questions submitted in advance via our question portal, as well as your live questions during the event. Find out more and register for the webinar here.

Last week, the League joined other national nonprofit organizations in submitting to the Small Business Administration key questions related to PPP loans and forgiveness. These advocacy efforts have been informed by the many questions shared by orchestras during League webinars and one-to-one consultations - thank you for your continued engagement.
 
Please also visit our Federal Assistance web page for important background information, prior webinars, and the latest links to federal guidelines.

Policy Updates for Nonprofits Self-Insuring for Unemployment Benefits

Last week, the Protecting Nonprofits from Catastrophic Cash Flow Strain Act was introduced by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tim Scott (R-SC) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) to help relieve burdens on orchestras and other nonprofits that self-insure for unemployment benefits. The bill would address an administrative problem created through Department of Labor guidelines, which require nonprofits to pay 100% of their liability, before being reimbursed by the states for the 50% of coverage that was provided in the CARES Act. In both a House and a Senate letter to Congressional leadership, bipartisan support has been expressed for increasing the coverage to 100% for nonprofits in the next COVID-19 relief package. Learn more about this topic in this section of the League's COVID-19 federal assistance resources.

April 24, 2020

Congress Acts on New Funds for PPP and SBA Loans

Congress and the White House are taking final action on a narrowly-tailored "interim" COVID-19 relief bill. The deal adds funding to the existing Paycheck Protection Program administered by local lenders and the Economic Injury Disaster Relief program administered by the Small Business Administration, and provides additional resources for COVID-19 testing and hospitals. Congress is expected to take up a separate package of new and expanded COVID-19 relief measures in the weeks to come, and ongoing advocacy will be essential.

Here is a quick overview of the Paycheck Protection and Health Care Enhancement Act:

  • Paycheck Protection Program:
    $310 billion in new funding (with $60 billion of that amount set aside to be administered by smaller lending institutions like credit unions and community financial institutions).
     
  • SBA Economic Injury Disaster Relief:
    $50 billion in new funding for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program
    $10 billion in new funding for the EIDL Grants

In the interest of speedy passage of this bill, negotiators chose not to make substantial changes to the eligibility for the relief programs, which means requests by nonprofit advocates for a dedicated pool of resources and for Congress to lift the 500-employee cap are not included in this measure. The bill has been approved by the Senate and House, and the White House has signaled its support.
 
While there is not a clear answer as to how soon lenders will be able to administer the new funds, policy leaders say the resources will be "rapidly" available to lenders.
 
The League's COVID-19 Federal Assistance Resource page provides more information about these and additional forms of relief.

April 10, 2020

Top Developments on COVID-19 Resources

Webinars and Legal Assistance: Two League webinars are now available to guide viewers through specific questions about how various forms of federal relief apply to orchestras and their workforce. The League is also offering member orchestras individualized technical assistance on the COVID-19 federal relief opportunities from qualified legal experts from the Pryor Cashman law firm. 

Paycheck Protection Program: Lenders nationwide began accepting applications for forgivable loans to cover eight weeks of eligible payroll costs, while the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration issued interim rules and answers to a growing list of Frequently Asked Questions. While some lenders began processing applications, others are delayed as they seek to build loan systems to accommodate both eligible organizations and independent contractors. Meanwhile, the Administration and Congress are negotiating over adding more funding to meet the overwhelming need for payroll support. The League has joined other leaders in the nonprofit sector in asking Congress to broaden access to the Paycheck Protection Program.

Pandemic Unemployment Benefits: State-by-state, departments of labor are rushing to create new systems to administer enhanced unemployment benefits for unprecedented numbers of unemployed workers. The Future of Music Coalition is tracking which states are prepared to receive unemployment claims from self-employed workers.

July 15, 2008

Prepare for Disasters - Before They Strike

Just one year ago, performing arts organizations officially became eligible for disaster relief assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The League, together with the Performing Arts Alliance, worked with Congress and federal agencies to ensure that performing arts organizations in communities affected by disaster will have improved access to federal relief. Plan ahead and have the proper documentation in order - namely, if your orchestra rents a facility, you'll need to show language from your rental agreement that spells out that your orchestra is responsible for repairs. While the League compiles an overview of FEMA rules, begin preparations by checking out the official FEMA policy.

Read About Key Developments in Disaster Relief for Non-Profits

October 3, 2006

FEMA Support for Performing Arts Approved!

Congress has recognized the public value of performing arts organizations by addressing a significant inequity in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster relief policy.  In response to concerns raised by the performing arts community, the FY07 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill included a provision adding nonprofit performing arts facilities to the list of organizations eligible for future FEMA disaster relief.  FEMA eligibility enables organizations that are located in a Presidential-declared disaster area and own their facilities to seek reimbursement for the costs to repair facilities to their pre-disaster condition, as well as for costs associated with debris removal and emergency protective measures.  Each FEMA application is considered on a case-by-case basis.  While the new performing arts eligibility does not guarantee that each future application will be approved, it allows requests to be fairly considered.  Please stay tuned - we are working with FEMA to learn more about future eligibility requirements.