After unanimous approval in the U.S. Senate and passage last Friday in the House of Representatives, SCI applauds Congress for extending financial relief to certain nonprofit groups, potentially helping many conservation and outdoor organizations.
Sportsmen and women are some of the biggest financial contributors to America’s economic health. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, outdoor recreation accounted for 2.2% of GDP in 2017, resulting in $778 billion in economic activity such as licenses, tags, excise taxes, and charitable donations. Many sportsmen and women are also members of non-profit organizations like SCI, Ducks Unlimited, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation or one of many other great groups. These organizations rely on revenue generated by events and fundraisers to drive their conservation efforts.
SCI’s Government Affairs Director, Ben Cassidy, noted that the worldwide crisis brought on by the pandemic has come at the worst possible time for many organizations. “The spring months are some of the most important months for fundraising for many conservation organizations. The vast majority of this revenue comes directly from events held in local communities across the country. It is encouraging to see Congress take action to provide a needed lifeline.”
The bill, S. 748, provides more than $350 billion in loans to small businesses, including entities that file under 501(c)3 of the tax code. U.S. Senators, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), included language for non-profits to obtain low-interest loans, called the Paycheck Protection Program, or “PPP” loans. The loans, available through private lenders, are backed by the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) Loan Program.
All small businesses with fewer than 500 employees, including 501(c)3’s, will be eligible. Loans will be available up to $10 million, will have a 4% interest rate, and will cover payroll, group health, and many other costs. They will be processed without SBA review. The PPP loans will also feature a Loan Forgiveness tool to incentivize employers not to lay off workers. For many borrowers these loans will work more like a grant.
“Many organizations who do outstanding conservation work operate on thin margins, so SCI was strongly supportive of these provisions during Congressional consideration,” said Cassidy. “SCI members stepped up and did their part by reaching out to the Congress through SCI’s Hunter Advocacy Action Center.”
The overall $2 trillion economic relief package is the largest in American history. It will provide direct payments to families, support for the unemployed, business tax deferral, and will leverage $4 trillion in liquidity for distressed industries.