ASAE Calls for More Association-Specific Relief for COVID-19 Impacted Organizations  

April 7, 2020

ASAE applauded Congress for swiftly constructing a $2.2 trillion emergency coronavirus relief package while calling on policymakers to include more association-specific relief in a fourth relief package currently taking shape.

A review of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on March 27, shows that Congress allocated extraordinary relief for individuals, small businesses, corporations, hospitals, state and local governments and 501(c)(3) nonprofit groups, but few provisions that directly assist trade and professional associations experiencing severe revenue losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many associations have had to cancel large meetings, trade shows and other in-person events due to the pandemic, and others are experiencing the same operational shortfalls that have befallen large and small businesses in recent weeks.

These two provisions in the CARES Act apply for 501(c)(6) associations: 

  • An employee retention payroll tax credit available to businesses that have seen at least 50 percent reduction in revenue in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter of 2019, among other qualifying conditions
  • Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grants that can be used for payroll costs, rent or mortgage payments, or repaying obligations that cannot be met because of revenue losses

“Fortunately, there are a couple of avenues Congress has provided for associations to obtain assistance in these difficult times, but we need more,” said ASAE President and CEO Susan Robertson. “Many associations are already experiencing extreme financial losses directly tied to the coronavirus pandemic, and more difficult decisions for these groups are on the horizon. ASAE calls on Congress to include association-specific relief in the next legislative relief package that is negotiated.”

A fourth relief measure will reportedly take shape over the next several weeks. In a sign-on letter sent to Capitol Hill on April 3, ASAE and nearly 3,000 organizations across the country called for additional aid for associations experiencing financial losses from cancelled meetings and events, and specifically, allowing 501(c)(6) groups to be eligible for small business interruption loans to prevent layoffs and continue paying employees. ASAE has also suggested Congress create a pandemic risk insurance program to create a federal backstop for prospective insurance claims related to a pandemic or epidemic.

To learn more about ASAE’s efforts and access its coronavirus resources page, go here.

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