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Jun 5, 2020
Posted Under: COVID

The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, signed into law today, gives organizations more flexibility and time to spend PPP funds.

Highlights from the Act include:

  • An extension of the “covered period” for PPP loans from 8 weeks to 24 weeks. Note that the covered period cannot extend beyond Dec. 31, 2020.
  • A reduction in the percentage of funds that must be spent on payroll. Specifically, the requirement to spend 75% of PPP funds on payroll reduced to 60%.  To qualify for any forgiveness, borrowers must spend at least 60% on payroll costs.
  • Extended loan terms for any unforgiven portions that need to be repaid from 2 years to 5 years, at 1% interest.
  • An extension to December 31 for employers to restore employee and wage levels to pre-pandemic levels.
  • A removal of limits on loan forgiveness for small businesses and nonprofits that were unable to rehire employees, hire new employees or return to the same level of business activity as before the virus.
  • An opportunity for payroll tax deferment for PPP recipients.

Although the law has been signed, the SBA and treasury have yet to release updated guidance. We will continue to advocate for nonprofits and keep you updated about the latest developments. Contact us if you have any questions.

Jun 2, 2020
Posted Under: Uncategorized

A Note from Laurie Wolf, President and CEO, The Foraker Group

The weight of this time in history is beyond measure. And this past week it got impossibly heavier. The murder of George Floyd, piled on other visible racist action against Christian Cooper in Central Park, reminds all of us that injustice is a daily, if not hourly experience for too many people of color. Living through this pandemic, while also a shared experience, is not the same experience. Someone thoughtfully noted, “we are in the same ocean but not the same boat.”

If you entered this phase in our lives and you are elderly and live communally, or you are in an abusive relationship, or you are hungry, or you feared for your child’s safety, or you lost your job and already lived paycheck to paycheck, or you experience historical trauma from disease that decimated your people in its wake, or you are experiencing racism because this virus is labeled as “Asian,” or you are black and you also just watched the vivid displays of racism and murder across our collective screens, then this experience is vastly and incomparably different from anything the rest of us can understand. This virus is doing more than just making people sick and killing them. This virus is exacerbating the vast inequities in our country.

As a Jewish woman I have privilege and I have a different understanding of hatred and violence that has increased in the last many years in Alaska and around the country. I have shared experiences as a woman about safety. But nothing in my experience helps me know the fear, anger, and sadness of black America. I simply do not know. I don’t pretend to know.

Even in this space of not knowing, I have an obligation to use my voice. To stand up and say out loud “Black Lives Matter.” I honor the lives of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Dreasjon “Sean” Reed, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and the countless other black people who have been killed by police officers. I am devastated by this ongoing violence, and the failure of our government to protect black communities is criminal.

In my work I also have the privilege and obligation to live Foraker’s core values which recognize that the indigenous land we live on and the 10,000 years of knowledge that Alaska’s first people live and share every day make all of our lives richer and better. I also get to work across sectors and within the nonprofit sector, which is built on action and hope. I am reminded that every national movement from our past and into our future – civil rights, women’s rights, LGBTQA rights, and children’s rights – came from our sector. We are the birthplace of change. We are the translators from anger and despair to action. What I also know is that the next wave in our work will shift from starting with the institution to starting with the people. We are seeing that today. The momentum around us will create the change we want to see and that we MUST see in this world.

The rapper Killer Mike said this weekend that it’s the time to “plot, plan, strategize, and organize.” At Foraker we are committed to groups of people and organizations who are doing this work, or want to do more of this work, or are starting this work.

June is Pride month, it’s immigrant heritage month, and it’s a reminder that our struggles and liberation are connected. As we work to build, protect, and support our communities, there’s no better tool than our collective power.

To that end, my fear about this time is that we will collectively miss these crisis moments to secure lasting change. We will miss the fissures that are breaking through and further revealing the great inequities that have always been with us. My fear is that we will only fix the surface. Cover up the fissure. Cover over the learning and the seeing, and go back.

We can’t go back. Our organizations or collective actions or missions have immense privilege and potential to take leaps forward. This is the sector of hope and action and from that place I have witnessed in these last many days nonprofit and community leaders across Alaska and America speak with conviction and clarity about the inequity of our systems. I am seeing groups collaborate who didn’t before. I am seeing a reckoning that it is not buildings and offices and places that make mission work but people with shared vision and immense determination. I am seeing Alaska communities come together in peaceful protests.  I am seeing the Anchorage Police chief and local government leaders across Alaska stand in solidarity against racism.

I see anger and sadness, but also insight and action.

What I know is at Foraker we will continue to use our voice.  We will continue to move forward and find new ways to take action with you.  I invite every group to not miss this moment, to ask your team about what going forward means. Ask what do you need to take with you and what can you leave behind that perpetuates inequity in our communities. Foraker has and will continue to ask these questions and to stand beside Alaska’s nonprofits and community leaders to move forward.

Jun 1, 2020
Posted Under: COVID

The application period for the AK CARES Grant Program is open on the Credit Union 1 website.

Is your nonprofit eligible? If your organization is a 501(c)3 or 501(c)19, has 1-50 employees, did not receive federal relief funds (PPP, EIDL) then you are eligible to apply.

We can help. If you need help preparing to apply, contact us.

May 28, 2020
Posted Under: COVID

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been eight weeks since the Paycheck Protection Program began. If you would like the PPP funds to be a grant instead of a loan, it’s time to prepare to apply for PPP forgiveness.

Please note Congress is currently debating possible extensions to the PPP program, but as of today, nothing is finalized. The highlights in this post are based on current PPP guidance.

The PPP forgiveness application can be found here. The recently released PPP forgiveness guidance can be found here. Find a quiet moment to dive into these documents. They are lengthy but important and worth the read.  Here are some highlights:

The full amount of your PPP loan may be eligible for forgiveness if you meet the forgiveness conditions.

  1. Spend all of the funds within 8 weeks (56 days) of fund disbursement.
  2. Spend at least 75% of the funds on eligible payroll expenses.
  3. Maintain your pre-COVID 19 employment and compensation levels.
  4. Spend up to 25% on eligible non-payroll costs:
  • Interest on business mortgage
  • Business rent
  • Business utilities (electricity, gas, water, transportation, telephone or internet)

Complete the PPP Forgiveness Application and submit it to you lender. Your lender has 60 days to determine your forgiveness.

Important notes:

  • Payroll costs may be paid or incurred during the 8 week period. (If your organization operates on a bi-weekly or more frequent payroll, you may opt to use an Alternate Payroll Covered Period which will begin on the first day of the first regular payroll cycle after disbursement.)
  • You must maintain pre-COVID employment levels. If you had to furlough or lay off employees, you can re-hire them by June 30 without penalty.
  • If you offer to re-hire an employee and they refuse your offer, document both the offer and refusal in writing. You must also report the employee to the Alaska Office of Unemployment Insurance for refusing to return to work within 30 days of refusal. If you can document all these steps, your forgiveness will not be impacted by a reduction in employee levels.
  • You must maintain pre-COVID employee compensation levels or not reduce them by more than 25% to qualify for full forgiveness. If you have reduced an employee’s compensation by more than 25% and not returned it to pre-COVID levels by June 30, your forgiveness will be reduced.

If you have questions about PPP forgiveness, please feel free to contact us. We’ll do all we can to assist you.

May 27, 2020
Posted Under: COVID

Foraker’s President/CEO Laurie Wolf was invited to testify at an Anchorage Assembly work session focused on the impact of COVID to Anchorage nonprofits. The following is her testimony:

Thank you Chair Rivera and members of the Anchorage Assembly.

I am here today as President and CEO of The Foraker Group, which serves as Alaska’s nonprofit association and the capacity building organization for nonprofits and tribes across the state.

Before I jump into talking about the considerations that nonprofits need for relief I want to emphasize the critical role nonprofits play in Alaska.

Importantly, nonprofits are a major economic driver for our state and our city. We deliver essential services, leverage public funds for maximum impact through public/private partnerships, invest in our communities, and ensure community well-being and quality of life. Alaska nonprofits are an economic driver both as major employers and as revenue generators in our municipality and across Alaska.

No industry in Alaska can prosper without the strength of the nonprofit sector. We are part of healthcare, fisheries, tourism, and the oil and gas industries. We provide essential services such as early childcare, basic utilities, housing, and food security and arts and culture― just to name a few. We are the safety net across Alaska and across Anchorage. Every family in our state and community is the beneficiary of a nonprofit because nonprofits are woven into the fabric our communities. 

Nonprofits are businesses and during this crushing economic time we have to remember that our sector is experiencing this crisis alongside all other businesses.  We are in this economy and this pandemic together.

Specifically, we are seeing the impact on Alaska’s nonprofits in two ways:

  • An increased demand to adapt quickly and expand service and delivery options while losing volunteers, charitable and earned income revenue, and simultaneously spending reserves. Some of these groups are human service nonprofits who continue to face significant demand for their services as you are hearing about today. For example, domestic violence providers expect increases in the need for services; food pantries are reporting a 50-80% increase in food requests; and mental health nonprofits are reporting increases in patient numbers.
  • Organizations closed their doors in the name of public health and lost all revenue while needing to maintain missions, facilities, and cover their expenses. These are groups in arts, culture, tourism, education, and religion just to name a few. Many of these groups also saw their reserves disappear in the stock market and will see another hit with the loss of tourism dollars this summer.

Even before this pandemic, nonprofits were living on thin or no margins and those with reserves are now spending them to survive or scrambling to request philanthropic support that cannot fill all the gaps. Truthfully, without significant CARES funding and a generous outpouring of donations, nonprofits will face major changes, deep cutbacks, and some closures.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR RELIEF

As you work through the ways to improve our economy and respond to this pandemic, I offer you four considerations in your approach to the nonprofit sector. Nonprofits need a different but connected response to your efforts to support small businesses.

We must plan for the future we want to see in our recovery and beyond.

Funding can be for the immediate relief and also for systems change.  We don’t want to come out of this knowing that we didn’t spend time working on a plan for an improved Anchorage.  We also don’t want to emerge without support for existing work that makes our community thrive.  From arts and culture to human service to child care to the environment we need to take time to support groups now and plan and fund our future.

Nonprofits, just like our small businesses, will need support in two time frames and maybe even three.

  • They need support now for the adaptations to ramp up and serve Alaskans and to maintain their missions with closed programs and no revenue.
  • They will need support three-to-nine months from now because the PPP program will be over, most CARES Act money will be distributed, and our economy will not yet be recovered.
  • Those that rely on tourism, arts, seafood, and oil and gas will also likely need more support measured in years, not months, to recover from the impacts of this pandemic.

We need our economic response to be holistic and to recognize the direct and indirect ways that nonprofits are impacted and the ways they will be part of Alaska’s recovery. Specifically,  we encourage you to:

  • Recognize that many nonprofits do incredibly necessary work with no FTE staff. Unfortunately this creativity and flexibility is now being penalized in gaining access to some relief efforts.
  • Recognize that relief efforts are a puzzle that requires many pieces. Eliminating a group who gets one type of funding like PPP or EIDL is not a recipe for fixing what is broken.  Organizations need unrestricted operating support and quickly.

There is much more to say but I want to end on this note.  I urge you to say the word “nonprofit” in every communication you put out around relief and recovery.  When you only say small business you render our sector invisible.We need to be visible not just in the relief effort but in Alaska’s collective response and recovery. We appreciate that the Mayor is incorporating nonprofits into his work. We encourage all of the Assembly to do the same.

Thank you for your time and interest in supporting the nonprofit sector as an essential part of Anchorage and our economy. We stand ready to partner with you to ensure our sector and local government are working well together for all of our Municipality.