CalNonprofits Insurance Services

Grants.CA.Gov – the new California Grants Portal that CalNonprofits and hundreds of nonprofits worked for ­– launched on July 15thGuest Article by The California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits)

CalNonprofits Sponsored Bill to Create California Grants Portal

In 2018, CalNonprofits sponsored the bill authored by Assemblymember Monique Limón (Santa Barbara) to create the California Grants Portal, a single (and unique!) website to find state grants and funding opportunities.

Up until now, a nonprofit seeking state funding had to dig through dozens of different state agencies without searchable sites. Thanks to Assemblymember Limón and the nonprofit community who spoke up, the bill (now law) mandated the creation of a single site where all opportunities from every state agency would be listed, along with links to more details and application forms.

Designed for Nonprofits and Local Government Agencies

Designed for nonprofits and local government agencies seeking grants and loans from state sources, the site was built by the California State Library with input from a variety of stakeholders, and improvements are already planned for the coming months. Members of the CalNonprofits Task Force on the Grants Portal were an integral part of the development process.

Assemblymember Monique Limón stated: “I am excited to see the implementation of Assembly Bill 2252 which I authored in 2018 – making California grants accessible to nonprofits in our state. The grants website comes at a time when nonprofits and interested entities need information and access to additional funding sources. State grants make up a significant amount of nonprofits’ revenue; having a one-stop-shop for all current state grant opportunities and a streamlined application process is critical to nonprofit success by allowing greater access to state funding opportunities.” 

Better Access for Nonprofits in Rural Areas and Marginalized Communities

In particular, having better access to government is important to nonprofits in rural areas and in marginalized communities. And state agencies will benefit from having a wider and more diverse pool of nonprofits with which to contract. At the same time, there are still many obstacles for nonprofits in obtaining state funding. This is an important first step, but there are more steps that CalNonprofits will be addressing as we move forward.

Keep in mind: The website is new and state agencies are still figuring out how to add their opportunities – so if you don’t see what you’re looking for bookmark the page and come back in a couple of weeks!

California Grants Portal FAQ

Where does information about these grants come from?

The state agency or department that administers the grant opportunity inputs all information into the Grants Portal. See the Glossary for a description of all the information departments provide.

Are all of the state’s grants on the California Grants Portal?

No. The Grants Portal only hosts state grants that are offered on a competitive or first-come basis. Some grants may not be offered on a competitive or first-come basis, and those grants are not listed on this website.

Can I have new grant opportunities emailed to me?

Yes. You can subscribe to email updates about all new grant opportunities and new grant opportunities in a specific category. View a list of categories that you may subscribe to.

Can I apply for a grant through the California Grants Portal?

No. The Grants Portal hosts information about grant opportunities offered by different state agencies. You can find information about how to apply for each grant on the Grants Portal, but grantseekers must apply through the grantmaking agency’s own application processes.

How often are new grants added to the portal?

State agencies are required to register each of their grants in the Grants Portal prior to the beginning of the solicitation or award process.

The frequency of updates depends on the number and frequency of state agency opportunities.

Courtesy of the Nonprofit Insider, published by the California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits).

Urgent concerns: Accessing government crisis funds, helping nonprofit staff, and what to advocate for now

There are increasingly good resources for how nonprofits can access federal funds and other federal-level resources, from organizations such as the National Council of Nonprofits, Nonprofit Quarterly, and field-based organizations like Americans for the Arts. We have started collecting them on our own resources page, but we’ve been getting similar questions from so many California nonprofits that we want to offer a few responses to what we see as the Top Five Questions for nonprofits right now. 

1. How do we access emergency government dollars for nonprofits to cover payroll and other “overhead” expenses?

  • Federal: The new CARES Act includes several provisions that will result in funding for nonprofits, in addition to the expanded Small Business Administration loan programs described below. You can find an analysis of the CARES Act here. The Act provides $150B for a state, tribal, and local government Coronavirus Relief Fund. Some of those dollars (some sources estimate $15B) will come to California, although we do not know yet how those funds will be distributed.CalNonprofits will be advocating at the state level to ensure that nonprofits get a significant portion. (We have already begun gathering data to estimate the economic impact of COVID-19 on California nonprofits.) Nonprofits may also be able to benefit from the Industry Stability Fund included in the Act, but it is currently unclear whether we qualify. Our national nonprofit advocacy groups are pushing hard to get nonprofits included and will update us with new information as they have it, which we will share with you.
  • U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans that are available to nonprofits include:
    • The Disaster Assistance Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program offers low-interest loans to nonprofits of all sizes in declared disaster areas. This program does not allow loan forgiveness; the interest rate for nonprofits is 2.75%. These loans of up to $2M may be used to pay payrolls, accounts payable, fixed debts, and other bills that can’t be paid because of the impact of COVID-19. The new federal CARES Act expands this program to include an emergency advance, pending a loan application, of up to $10K that the SBA must distribute to the nonprofit within three days. The COVID-19 EIDL application is here.
    • The 7(A) or Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), provides loans of up to $10M to nonprofits with no more than 500 employees. These loans can cover expenses incurred between February 15 and June 30, 2020, for payroll, health benefits, rent, interest on mortgages, utilities, and fixed debts. Interest rates are capped at 4%, but portions of the loan (payroll, rent, interest on mortgages, and utilities) can be forgiven, turning the loan into a grant. The amount forgiven, up to 100%, depends on the extent to which the nonprofit retains employees through June 30. A sample application is available here. An online application process is not yet available but should be very soon. In the meantime, please contact your local SBA bank and ask them for information about how to apply.
  • California Senate Bill 89: This bill, enacted on March 17, authorizes up to $1B in state emergency funds for COVID-19. The bill states that assistance strategies to be included in the Budget Act of 2020 must help nonprofit organizations (as well as individuals and small businesses) experiencing economic hardships due to COVID-19. CalNonprofits is working with lawmakers and with other nonprofit advocates to ensure that the needs of nonprofits are addressed through this bill and through the 2020 state budget process. Right now the best ways to support these efforts are at the end of this bulletin.

2. Aside from getting direct funding, what other financial benefits from the State of California (such as delayed payroll taxes) are available to nonprofits?

  • Delaying payment of state payroll taxes: If your nonprofit is directly affected by COVID-19, you can request up to a 60-day extension to file your state payroll reports and deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest. You will still have to pay the taxes, but you have extra time to do so. Your request must be received within 60 days from the original past-due date of the payment or return.  Apply to the California Employment Development Department (EDD). Talk to your payroll processor for managing the specifics. Key: nonprofits (and all employers) can use their expenses for new leave provisions as credits against payroll taxes. 
  • Delaying payment of federal payroll taxes: If your nonprofit has closed temporarily or had a significant drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 crisis, you can delay paying the employer portion of Social Security (6.2% of wages). Ordinary deadlines still apply for Medicare and the employee portion of Social Security.
  • Mortgage and rent payment delays: As of now, there is no relief for nonprofit mortgages or rental/lease payments for businesses, including nonprofits. For individuals, California has instituted a 60-day moratorium on evictions and a 90-day grace period for mortgage payments. There are several efforts pending in Congress and in California to ensure rent and mortgage protections for nonprofits and small businesses, but nothing is in place yet.
  • Relief for unemployment insurance self-insurers: If your nonprofit uses a self-insured fund such as Unemployment Services Trust (rather than having unemployment insurance), the federal CARES Act includes reimbursement to such employers of up to 50% of their unemployment costs. These group trusts are working to get legislation that will reimburse more; contact your vendor for more info.

3. Form 990: The CARES Act allows individuals and companies to file their tax returns by July 15 (rather than by the usual April 15). Does this also apply to Federal Form 990?

No. Form 990 is considered an “information return” rather than a “tax return” (because nonprofits are typically exempt from income tax). However, a longstanding provision is that you can apply for a six-month extension by filing Form 8868. This extension is automatically granted if you apply by the date your 990 would have been due.

4. What new benefits can we give to our current staff and to people we’ve laid off?

What can we do for our current staff? 

  • A safe environment for staff is essential, especially for staff who are continuing to interact with the public. Cal/OSHA has developed guidelines for specific workplaces (such as health clinics, childcare centers). Some counties may have additional or different guidance; check your county department of public health. You can find fliers for workplace safety in more than 30 languages here (thanks to TranslationServices.com), and fun posters in a few languages from the CDC here.
  • Health insurance: if you are not providing health insurance for some or all of your staff, remind them that a good option for them may be Covered California (the Affordable Care Act), which has extended its enrollment period to the end of June.
  • Check with your insurance broker to make sure your employees are covered by workers’ compensation insurance if they are working at home for the first time. You may be advised to put various risk management systems in place, such as ensuring that your employees understand how to keep their home offices safe. To advocate for self-insured nonprofits, go to: https://accses.org/action-center.

Good news for most student loan borrowers (employed or not): Payments for most borrowers will be suspended through September 30, 2020. Specifically, the CARES Act provisions on student debt apply only to non-defaulted Direct Loans and FFEL loans currently owned by the Department of Education. The suspension will happen automatically, and – crucially – these months will be included in the requirements for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. The Student Borrower Protection Center has more details – including questions we don’t have answers for yet.

What can we do for our laid-off workers?

  • Let your laid-off staff know how to apply for unemployment benefits. Let them know that the usual one-week waiting period has been waived and they can apply as soon as they are unemployed, but it may take up to three weeks before the money is deposited into their account. Staff with reduced hours can also apply for unemployment benefits, but if their hours vary from week to week the calculations of payments can be difficult and could result in overpayments that must be repaid.
  • Independent contractors are not eligible for unemployment insurance but they can apply for Disaster Assistance.
  • Some congregations and other religious organizations that have opted not to pay unemployment insurance: your laid-off employees cannot obtain unemployment compensation, but they are eligible for the Disaster Assistance.

5. What about the new charitable tax deduction?

With the 2018 federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a majority of people who were itemizing on their taxes no longer found it financially beneficial to do so. As a result, for millions of households, donations to nonprofits no longer reduce their taxes. The CARES Act allows – for the 2020 tax year – households to take up to a $300 tax deduction for donations to nonprofits even if they are not itemizing (that is, if they are taking the standard deduction). They will still need to have receipts and documentation of their donations.

Special note: Three types of donations cannot be used for this new deduction: donations to donor-advised funds, donations to private foundations, and non-cash donations. 

There are also expanded charitable tax deductions for corporations and for taxpayers who both itemize and give more than 10% of their income to nonprofits. Encourage these taxpayers to talk to their tax preparers and financial advisors for details.

BONUS: What are the most pressing advocacy needs and what can I do about them now in less than 10 minutes?

Disparities: COVID-19 and the shelter-in-place rules are clearly hurting some people more than others, and some nonprofits more than others. Hardest hit are communities and their nonprofits in rural areas, in poor areas, and in communities of color. And just as the pandemic is deepening inequality, inequality is intensifying the impact of the pandemic.

As we advocate for nonprofits during this period, we must also work hard to get resources to nonprofits in rural areas, in poorer areas, and in communities of color. Our elected representatives are key to this, and we are especially happy to work with so many members of our legislature who come from nonprofit backgrounds.

What you can do:

  • Join more than 1,000 nonprofits and sign on to CalNonprofits’ letter to Governor Newsom, Senate President Pro Tem Atkins, Assembly Speaker Rendon, Senate Budget Committee Chair Mitchell, and Assembly Budget Committee Chair Ting.
  • Contact your assemblymember and state senator and ask them to advocate for the recommendations in CalNonprofits’ letter. Find contact info for your assemblymember and state senator here and a list of Twitter handles for most of the assemblymembers here.
  • If your state assemblymember signed Assemblymembers Rivas’ and Limón’s letter (that includes CalNonprofits’ recommendations and 29 legislators’ signatures) to the Governor, President Pro Tem, and Speaker, call them (leave a message) and thank them.
  • Tweet to @GavinNewsom and ask him to heed the call of 29 state assemblymembers and more than 1,000 California nonprofits and include this link to the Rivas/Limon letter. Include @calnonprofits at the end of your Tweet.
  • Share this Facebook post from Assemblymember Rivas, thank her, and ask Governor Newsom to address the urgent needs of California’s nonprofits.
  • Contact your county board of supervisors and city council members to urge them to keep paying nonprofits with county and city contracts and to give nonprofits the flexibility to use existing and new resources to respond to the needs of their communities.

We are making every effort to keep up with the constantly changing environment; if you have corrections or additions to our resources list, please send them to Christina Dragonetti at christinad@calnonprofits.org.

Our members make this advocacy work possible and transformative; if your organization is not a member, please consider joining today.

 

State Government must support nonprofits now — sign on if you agree!

We share an important invitation from Jan Masoaka and Lucy Salcido Carter, both of the California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits) to join us in asking California policymakers to enact emergency measures to protect nonprofits. State government must support nonprofits now – sign on if you agree!

Members and Friends:

Will your organization join us now in asking California policymakers to enact emergency measures to protect nonprofits, so we can continue to serve our communities, protect public health, and support our employees?

In addition to making sure that nonprofit voices are heard at every level in Sacramento, we have drafted this sign-on letter that will go to Governor Gavin Newsom, State Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Senate Budget Committee Chair Holly Mitchell, and Assembly Budget Committee Chair Phil Ting. We are grateful that nonprofits are included in Senate Bill 89, enacted yesterday. But we know more emergency legislation and executive orders are coming, and we want to be sure nonprofit policy concerns are addressed.

You can sign your organization onto the letter here.
Deadline: Friday, March 20, at 6 PM Pacific time

Based on what we’ve heard from so many of you in the past few days, we request that:

  • Government agencies continue to pay on contracts and grants if nonprofits are underperforming because of closures or suspension or reduction of services associated with the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Contracting agencies institute an expedited approval process for budget modifications to allow nonprofits to move budget-line items to new priorities related to COVID-19 responses as needed.
  • New and immediate emergency funds be made available to nonprofits to address increased costs associated with providing uninterrupted delivery of essential services through this crisis.
  • Programs aimed at assisting employers, tenants, utility rate-payers, and service providers through this crisis be equally available and beneficial to nonprofit and for-profit entities.
  • State agencies waive certain certification procedures to let nonprofits provide emergency and essential services as needed.

California’s nonprofits are crucial to our economy and our communities

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As you know, California nonprofits employ roughly 1.2 million people; one in every 14 jobs in the state is at a nonprofit. Our economic activity generates one-sixth of California’s Gross State Product, and government agencies partner closely with nonprofit organizations to provide essential services throughout the state.

Nonprofits are in the forefront, not only of serving disadvantaged communities but of standing up for them and making their voices heard in policy arenas. The coronavirus crisis is already revealing in new ways the inequities and disparities in

and these inequities make nonprofit work on the response to this pandemic even more essential.

The important work of California nonprofits must continue, whether you are responding directly to the coronavirus crisis or whether you are moving forward with advocacy, services, and programs in other issue areas. In a crisis, every nonprofit is a first responder, and we can’t stop doing our “regular” crucial and urgent work. To continue our work, nonprofits need support and resources from the government; the government-nonprofit partnership has never been more critical than it is now.

The important work of California nonprofits must continue, whether you are responding directly to the coronavirus crisis or whether you are moving forward with advocacy, services, and programs in other issue areas. In a crisis, every nonprofit is a first responder, and we can’t stop doing our “regular” crucial and urgent work. To continue our work, nonprofits need support and resources from the government; the government-nonprofit partnership has never been more critical than it is now.

By signing onto this letter, you are asking our state leaders to implement the above policies and to include nonprofits in emergency measures.

You can sign your organization onto the letter here.
Deadline: Friday, March 20, at 4 PM Pacific time.

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact us:
Jan Masaoka, CEO, janm@calnonprofits.org
Lucy Salcido Carter, Policy Director, lucyc@calnonprofits.org

P.S. Please pass this message along to everyone you know!