The WORK NOW Act will help organizations meet increased service demand due to coronavirus pandemic and help newly unemployed return to work serving their communities

WASHINGTON -- Today, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) are announcing legislation to help nonprofit organizations meet an increase in service demand due to the coronavirus pandemic while helping newly unemployed Americans get back to work. The WORK NOW Act will create a major new grants program to help nonprofit organizations whose workers serve public needs that are growing due to the current crisis retain their employees, scale their service delivery, and provide unemployed Americans with new jobs serving their communities.

"Nonprofits are on the front lines of this crisis helping millions of Americans in need. From food banks, to shelters, to counseling centers, charitable organizations are doing incredible work to help families put food on their table, provide housing assistance, and serve people with disabilities,” said Klobuchar. “But as demand for their services soars, many of these organizations are struggling financially. At the same time, over 30 million Americans have lost their jobs and are looking for work. We need to help charitable nonprofits keep their doors open, scale their invaluable services, and provide opportunities for unemployed men and women to return to work serving their communities.”

"Nonprofits are fast, they are nimble, and they are on the frontlines. These institutions are pivotal to our survival and our recovery and they need help. Our bill will put people back to work and give nonprofits the resources they need to help more families get through this crisis,” said Schatz.

“America’s 1.3 million charitable nonprofits embody the best of America. They feed, heal, shelter, educate, inspire, enlighten, and nurture people across the country. But with even more people relying on them now, nonprofits need help in meeting the enormous demand created by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Tim Delaney, President and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits. “The WORK NOW Act is a crucial piece of legislation that will help nonprofits retain and rehire their employees, expand services to meet the skyrocketing human needs, and put newly unemployed men and women back to work for the common good.”

At the same time that the need for many nonprofit services is soaring, charitable giving and other revenue streams have declined precipitously as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, forcing many nonprofits to lay off workers and cut back on services. This legislation will provide a major mobilization of resources so Americans recently separated from the workforce can get back to work helping our nonprofit organizations meet the massive needs of this moment.

The program will be administered by the Treasury Department and allocations will be made to states and local governments—with all funding being channeled to eligible nonprofits meeting needs that have increased as a result of the pandemic and the attendant economic crisis. National nonprofit organizations will be invited to apply directly to the Treasury Department on behalf of their local chapters across the nation. The bulk of federal funding must be used for employee compensation—paying the wages, salaries and benefits of either existing employees or new employees. Some funding may also be used to help nonprofits innovate in delivering services in new ways to meet the challenges imposed by the pandemic.

To facilitate immediate hiring and placement during this period of limited mobility, the bill will create an online employment hub to directly connect Americans available to work with nonprofit organizations receiving federal funding through this initiative.