Dear Senators Fischer and Sasse, Representatives Bacon, Fortenberry and Smith,
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands urges you to consider the needs of nonprofits in any upcoming COVID-19 stimulus legislation. Specifically, we ask the bill expressly allocate and include $60 billion for charitable nonprofits. We ask you to support Sen. James Lankford’s amendment to improve the above-the-line charitable deduction by raising the cap to $4,000 and allowing all taxpayers to immediately claim the deduction on 2019 taxes and afterwards.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands (BBBSM) creates and supports one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. In this, we nurture children and strengthen community. BBBSM serves Douglas, Sarpy, Saunders, Cass and Washington counties; we have counterparts that serve youth, mentors and families across Nebraska. Not only has the pandemic paralyzed our matches’ ability to meet and grow their relationship, it has significantly and negatively impacted our revenue and ability to run our program. We are doing our best to find innovative ways to accommodate this situation but some setbacks cannot be avoided.
To do our part in slowing the spread of the virus, we cancelled major fundraising events and are expecting revenue losses over $500,000. Social distancing and isolation has impeded our ability to recruit and train new volunteer mentors. As we try to overcome these challenges, it means little to our waitlist of 120+ children seeking a mentor.
Our ability to support youth and mentoring relationships relies on revenue. We are bracing for a large gap between our anticipated and actual revenue. A stimulus package with meaningful assistance to nonprofits will help cushion the blow and speed our recovery.
The nonprofit sector is the 3rd largest employer in Nebraska, making up over 11% of all jobs. With significant cutbacks to government social welfare programs, we were already heavily relied upon to make up for the gap of services for our community’s most vulnerable. While the COVID-19 crisis has adversely affected all sectors of the economy, today, nonprofits have become the most vulnerable.
I urge you to include the policy solutions proposed by the nonprofit community in any COVID-19 relief and stimulus legislation.
Nichole Turgeon, CEO