Agudath Israel of America is joining other national nonprofits in urging Congress to take steps to help charities continue their vital work. Nonprofits, like other entities, suffered terrible losses in resources during the period of the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, nonprofits have been asked to step up to provide communities the relief, recovery and rebuilding services that are so desperately needed.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Agudath Israel has successfully worked with Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), others on Capitol Hill, and organizational partners, to ensure that nonprofits, including religious entities, would be included in the benefits of COVID relief efforts, both as providers and beneficiaries.
“As a result of these federal programs, synagogues, yeshivas, and Jewish community charities have received critical sums to remain in existence and continue their work serving the community,” Rabbi Abba Cohen, Agudath Israel’s Vice President for Government Affairs and Washington Director.
In a letter to congressional leadership, Agudath Israel and other charitable service organizations are calling for legislation that will help nonprofits bring back and hire additional staff to provide essential services. This would include passing the WORK NOW Act, which would inject $50 billion into the nonprofit sector to add to its workforce. It also calls for an extension of the Employee Retention Tax Credit, an extremely helpful program for larger nonprofits, beyond the year 2021and to make modifications in the program that would more accurately address the special circumstances of nonprofit providers.
The letter also calls for measures that would bring in more financial resources to compensate for the shortfall in charitable donations during this economic crisis. Charities are calling for more federal incentives for charitable giving, including increasing the cap on the charitable deduction, extending the current deduction through the year 2022, and preserving the itemized deduction for charitable contributions.
“These programs and improvements have been, and will be, extremely beneficial to the health and well-being of our communities, especially during these most trying and challenging times,” concluded Rabbi Cohen. “We strongly support them and hope that Congress will swiftly take action to pass them and bring the enhanced relief we need."