Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, joined Sens. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, and Angus King, I-Maine, on a May 8 bipartisan letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, to advocate that they do not overlook nonprofits, charities and houses of worship in the fourth-phase relief proposal for the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter asks the leaders to consider expanding access to relief and support, increase unemployment insurance reimbursement for nonprofit employees and strengthen charitable giving incentives to help ease the burdens facing nonprofit employers as well as other types of small businesses.

During the previous Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act discussion, Coons and Lankford offered an amendment, which would have increased the bill’s $300 limit on the charitable giving deduction to one-third of the standard deduction — $4,000 for an individual filer and $8,000 for married joint filers — for the 2020 tax year, a move supported by more than 1,000 nonprofits across the nation. While the CARES Act also provided some nonprofits access to the Paycheck Protection Program, there are additional steps the Senate can take to ensure these entities are able to continue to serve where the government cannot.

“In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, charities and nonprofits are facing extraordinary challenges,” said Coons. “These organizations are being relied on to address needs in our communities like hunger, illness and child care, with dwindling resources and a payroll to maintain a federal response I am proud to support is ensuring that every American taxpayer is encouraged to support our nation’s charities, by giving them access to the charitable deduction. This simple, straightforward change to the tax code would mobilize the goodwill of all Americans as we collectively strive to overcome this pandemic.”

The following nonprofits and charities have offered their support for the senators’ letter: Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, American Alliance of Museums, American Council on Education, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Red Cross, Americans for the Arts, Apartment Life, Inc., Arthritis Foundation, Association of Art Museum Directors, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Catholic Charities USA, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Child Welfare League of America, Community Action Partnership, Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, Covenant House International, Ducks Unlimited, Extended Day Child Care Center, Inc., Faith & Giving Coalition, Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls Inc., Goodwill Industries International, Inc., Habitat for Humanity International, Independent Sector, Jewish Federations of North America, Land Trust Alliance, Leadership 18, League of American Orchestras, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Looking Glass Community Services, Lutheran Services in America, Mental Health America, National Alliance for Caregiving, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, National Council of Nonprofits, National Health Council, National Human Services Assembly, NatureBridge, San Diego Zoo Global, Solve ME/CFS Initiative, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Squash and Education Alliance, The Arc of the United States, The Nonprofit Trust, The Trevor Project, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, United Cerebral Palsy- National, United Philanthropy Forum, United Way Worldwide, Volunteers of America, Welcoming America, World Wildlife Fund, YMCA of the USA, Youth Advocate Program, YWCA USA and Boys and Girls Club of America.

The full text of the letter is available at bit.ly/2xPIrOe.