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As Economy Struggles, Nonprofits Ask Congress For Help

The YMCA is among several national groups asking Congress for $60 billion in emergency funding to nonprofit organizations nationwide. Above, a sign hangs on the door of the  Schlessmann YMCA in Denver, Colo., on March 16, 2020.
David Zalubowski

As members of Congress continue to struggle to agree on terms for an emergency aid package aimed at addressing the financial consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, a coalition of national nonprofit groups is asking lawmakers to do more to help the nation's charities.

Nonprofit groups say the nation's charitable sector is especially hard-hit at this time. Several national groups – among them the United Way, the YMCA and YWCA, and the American Cancer Society – are asking Congress for $60 billion in emergency funding to nonprofit organizations nationwide. They also are requesting additional tax breaks and other incentives meant to encourage charitable contributions, and access to federal small business loans for nonprofits.

"Funding for charitable organizations is going to fall precipitously but the needs in our communities will not," Gary Reedy, CEO of the American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said in a joint statement released by the coalition.

A spokesperson for the United Way said in an email to NPR that the organization is receiving an influx of calls for help as Americans cope with layoffs and other economic challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials with the YWCA said they're concerned about growing demand for space at domestic violence shelters, which is complicated by the need to respect social distancing guidelines designed to reduce the spread of the virus.

The YWCA surveyed more than 200 member organizations. Of those that responded, more than one third reported an increase in demand for domestic violence services of all kinds, including counseling, and more than half reported an increase in requests for housing and shelter, according to a spokesperson.

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Sarah McCammon worked for Iowa Public Radio as Morning Edition Host from January 2010 until December 2013.
Sarah McCammon
Sarah McCammon is a National Correspondent covering the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast for NPR. Her work focuses on political, social and cultural divides in America, including abortion and reproductive rights, and the intersections of politics and religion. She's also a frequent guest host for NPR news magazines, podcasts and special coverage.
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