CalNonprofits Articles

March 16, 2020 - Nonprofits touch the lives of every Californian every day and play a vital role in the state’s economy and provision of services. In response to COVID-19, California’s nonprofits are stepping up without hesitation to serve their communities, to protect public health, and to support their own employees. But we need immediate contracting, budget, staffing, and programming flexibility and timely resources from the state, local governments, and philanthropy to be able to continue this work through the months ahead.

Below are some short-term policy recommendations from the California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits) – on behalf of our more than 10,000 member organizations – and key data on the role of nonprofits in the state. 

CalNonprofits Recommendations

  • California government agencies should continue to pay on contracts and grants with nonprofits if they are underperforming due to temporary organization or site closures or suspension of services. Example: homeless shelters and senior food programs are having to close or serve fewer people due to virus-related, social-distancing mandates. To keep their staff and facilities going, they need temporary relief from contract deliverables that cannot be met due to new COVID-19 related directives and mandates.
  • An expedited or automatic approval process for budget modifications that do not increase the contract total should be instituted to allow nonprofits to move budget-line items associated with existing contracts to new priorities such as the cost of disinfecting facilities.
  • New and immediate emergency funds should be available to address increased costs to nonprofits to support the uninterrupted delivery of essential services that affect public health, such as stepped-up sanitation, take-out meals for the homeless, and pre-packaged food at food banks.
  • Programs aimed at assisting employers or tenants through this crisis should be equally available and beneficial to nonprofit and for-profit entities.
  • State agencies should be allowed to waive certain certification procedures to let nonprofits provide emergency and essential services as needed.

Role of Nonprofits in California

  • There are roughly 92,000 active nonprofits in the state, of which about 37,000 have paid staff.
  • The nonprofit sector is the fourth largest employer by number of jobs among key California industries and employs more than 1.2 million Californians. One of every 14 jobs in California is at a nonprofit.
  • Nonprofit economic activity generates about 15 percent or one-sixth of California’s Gross State Product. California government agencies partner closely with nonprofit organizations to provide essential services throughout the state. Government relies on nonprofits to provide 32 percent of Medi-Cal services, one example of nonprofits delivering services for government. California nonprofits rely on government funding for 30 percent of the sector’s total revenue.
  • Nonprofits mobilize 4.8 million volunteers, contributing the equivalent of 331,000 full-time workers.
  • California nonprofits bring $40+ billion into the state each year from out-of-state sources.

California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits), a statewide policy alliance of more than 10,000 organizations, is the voice for California’s nonprofit community. Through our advocacy work, we protect and enhance the ability of California’s nonprofits to serve our state, the nation, and the world.

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