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COVID-19 Funding for Nonprofits: What You Need To Know

Tatiana Morand  15 April 2020  0 comments

COVID-19 funding for nonprofits

It’s a tough time for everyone. 

I don’t know any organization who hasn’t taken a hit from COVID-19, whether it’s by needing to cancel events, slow down programming, or reduce staff. 

However, there are resources you can take advantage of to help you get through this and mitigate the impact. 

In this post, we’ve gathered US and Canadian federal relief, COVID-19 specific grants, and numerous service and product freebies that support both nonprofits and nonprofit employees.

Jump ahead to the section that’s relevant for you:


Disclaimer: we’re not experts in nonprofit law or finance, so please note that this post is our best understanding of the available resources but should not be used as a substitute for advice from a qualified professional.

United States Federal Relief 

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was enacted on March 19 to provide job protections and support the vast number of businesses and organizations affected by coronavirus. It also includes funding for coronavirus testing and food security. 


Two Weeks of Emergency Paid Sick Leave

This law requires employers with less than 500 employees (including nonprofits and government agencies) to provide their employees two weeks of paid sick leave. It also mandates partial employee rate care for a family member or child whose school has closed or whose child care provider is unavailable due to the coronavirus. 


All employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick time. The law exempts small businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 50 employees. Learn more here


Twelve Weeks of Emergency Family and Medical Leave

This mandate expands the number of workers who can take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act for coronavirus-related reasons. 


The qualifying reasons for the emergency paid leave are caring for a child if the child’s school or childcare center is closed due to coronavirus. The provisions would also expire at the end of 2020. The law exempts small businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 50 employees. Learn more here

Reimbursable Payroll Tax Credits 

Employers paying for the mandated paid leave are entitled to claim a refundable tax credit, meaning the federal government will cover all or a portion of these paid leave mandated costs. 


All entities mandated to require Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Emergency Family and Medical Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Learn more here. 

CARES Act - Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act

The CARES Act is the most extensive set of laws providing relief funds and provisions to individuals, companies, and nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The CARES Act was enacted on March 27. While many loans and grants are just starting to go into effect, here is information on which laws will benefit nonprofit organizations. 

For more information on application tips and the latest on the CARES Act, visit this resource from the Independent Sector

Paycheck Protection Program Loans 

This loan helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 crisis with loans of up to $10 million for nonprofits and small businesses. The loans allow entities to cover the costs of payroll, operations, and debt service. Loan forgiveness is available for employers that maintain employment for the eight weeks after receiving the loan, or rehire employees by June 30.


Nonprofits with 500 or fewer employees are eligible. Learn more and apply here.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

This loan advance will provide up to $10,000 in low-interest loans intended to help businesses and homeowners recover from declared disasters. The CARES Act expands eligibility for access to EIDL loans and provides upfront grants.


Nonprofits and other entities with 500 or fewer employees are eligible. Note that these loans only reimburse self-funded nonprofits for half of the costs of benefits provided to their laid-off employees. Learn more and apply here

Charitable Giving Incentive

This donation incentive provides a new tax deduction for up to $300 per taxpayer and $600 for a married couple in annual charitable contributions. 


This applies to taxpayers who take the standard deduction, meaning they don't itemize their deductions.

The law will also change the existing cap on annual contributions. It's now 100 percent adjusted gross income (from 60% cap). For corporations, the law raises the yearly limit from 10 percent to 25 percent. Food donations from corporations rose to be available to 25 percent (from 15% cap). 


This applies to individuals and companies that itemize annual contributions. 

Employee Retention Payroll Tax Credit

For employers struggling to meet payroll, this provides a refundable payroll tax credit for 50 percent of wages paid by employers to employees during the COVID-19 crisis. The law also allows employers to delay payment of the employer portion payroll taxes in 2020 to the end of 2021 and 2022.


The credit is intended for employers who were fully or partially suspended as a result of a COVID-19 related shut-down order, or have experienced a loss in revenue of at least 50 percent in the first quarter compared to the first quarter of 2019. 

Economic Stabilization Fund

This loan provides up to $454 billion in financial assistance to mid-sized to large businesses, nonprofits included. Although there's no loan forgiveness for this loan, the interest rates are capped at two percent and would not accrue interest or require repayments for the first six months. Borrowers must keep at least 90 percent of their staff at full compensation and benefits until September 30.  


Entities with between 500 and 10,000 employees that have not otherwise received economic relief in the form of loans or loan guarantees are eligible. Borrowers are asked to submit a good faith certification on the economic conditions that make this loan necessary.

The CARES Act also provides additional government funding for numerous sectors, including agriculture, health, education, human services, the arts, and many more areas. If you manage government-funded programs, here is a full list of sector-specific relief.

US COVID-19 Grants and Funding

Hundreds of foundations from across the United States are providing millions of dollars in relief funds to nonprofits and organizations on the COVID-19 frontlines.  

Visit these two sites for the most up-to-date grant listings per state.

Canada Federal Relief 

The Canadian federal government has put numerous measures in place to support individuals, businesses, and nonprofits during the COVID-19 crisis. Here are various federal initiatives that benefit nonprofit organizations. Visit Imagine Canada’s Federal Government Measure resource for the most up-to-date information.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

The government will subsidize 75 percent of employee wages to a maximum of $847 per week per employee, and there is no cap on how much an employer can receive. Nonprofit organizations can choose to either include or exclude revenue from the government when calculating their revenues.


Employers who experienced a 15 percent drop in revenue in March and a 30 percent drop in revenue in April and May are eligible. Learn more here. 

Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers


This small business deduction includes up to 10 percent of payroll costs incurred between March 18 and June 19.


In addition to small businesses, charities, nonprofits, and Canadian controlled private corporations are also eligible. Learn more here.


Canada Emergency Response Benefit

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides aid to those unable to work because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB will provide $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.


Workers residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old and have stopped working because of COVID-19, are eligible. Individuals must have an income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or the 12 months before the date of their application and expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. Learn more and apply here. 

Business Credit - Canada Emergency Business Account

This credit provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000. 25 percent of the loan will be forgiven if the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022.


Employers with total 2019 payrolls between $50,000 and $1 million are eligible. Learn more here.

Extension of the Work Sharing Program

The maximum duration of work-sharing arrangements are extended from 38 weeks to 76 weeks.


All employers are eligible. Learn more here.

Support for Food Banks and Local Food Organizations

One hundred million dollars will be contributed through the Government of Canada’s Local Food Infrastructure Fund to support food banks and local food security organizations.


This funding is for national, regional, and local food banks and local food organizations across Canada. Eligible activities include the purchase of food, support for the transportation and distribution of food, hiring temporary help to fill volunteer shortages, and activities to implement biosecurity measures, such as the purchase of personal protective equipment, to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among volunteers and clients. Learn more here. 

Support for Vulnerable Canadians

Fifty million dollars will be contributed to women’s shelters and sexual assault centers, including facilities in Indigenous communities, to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak.


Women’s shelters and sexual assault centers are eligible. Learn more here. 

Support for Vulnerable Canadians

Nine million dollars will be contributed to local organizations to support effective services to Canadian seniors through United Way Canada. These services may include the delivery of groceries, medications, or other needed items, or personal outreach to assess individuals’ needs and connect them to community supports.


Local organizations supporting seniors are eligible. Learn more here. 

Canadian Tax Deferrals 

Deferral of T3010 filing

2019 T3010 returns are pushed until December 31, regardless of the organization’s standard filing deadline. 


All registered charities are eligible. Learn more here

Deferral of GST/HST remittances

GST/HST collected for specific periods are deferred until June 30.


Organizations that charge GST/HST for programs, services, or products are eligible. Learn more here.

Deferral of T1044 filing

Information returns due between March 18 and May 31 are now due June 1.


Nonprofit corporations are eligible. Learn more here. 

Deferral of T2 filing

Returns due between March 18 and May 31 are now due June 1.


Organizations that file a T2 corporate income tax return are eligible. Learn more here.

Canada COVID-19 Grants and Funding

Several foundations and companies are providing funding to organizations working tirelessly to support those affected by the coronavirus.  

Winnipeg Foundation

The Winnipeg Foundation is providing funds to leading nonprofits serving vulnerable individuals, providing shelter, and food services. Learn more and apply here.

Breakfast Club of Canada

Breakfast Club of Canada is providing grants for community organizations and schools to ensure children and families have access to food during the pandemic. Learn more and apply here.

Surrey Homelessness & Housing Society

Surrey Homelessness & Housing Society is providing funding to organizations for activities that manage the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 and implement preventative measures to support this population. Learn more and apply here. 

Vancouver Foundation - Community Response Fund

The Community Response Fund is providing funds to nonprofits in BC hardest hit by COVID-19, and to support organizations in BC with community recovery and long-term resiliency. Learn more and apply here. 

Facebook Journalism Project

The Facebook Journalism Project is providing a total of $1 million in grants to support U.S. and Canadian local news organizations covering the coronavirus. Learn more and apply here. 

Free Products and Services During the COVID-19 Crisis

The coronavirus has affected just about every aspect of working life. Fortunately, hundreds of companies are providing all kinds of freebies and discounts to make working during a pandemic a bit easier. 

Entrepreneur has put together an ongoing list of free products and services during the coronavirus. Here are ones you may find most useful working in the nonprofit sector. 

Remote Working

  • Calendly has free Zoom And GoToMeeting integrations to help remote workers stay connected through June 30. They are also giving free premium plans to teams working directly on COVID-19.

  • Dropbox Premium is free for nonprofits fighting COVID-19 

  • Google Hangouts Premium is free through July 1.

  • GoToMeeting is giving away free Emergency Remote Work Kits for three months.

  • LinkedIn is offering free business development courses centered on remote working.

  • LogMeIn, a division of GoToMeeting, is giving three months of free site-wide licensing for video conferencing for eligible organizations.

  • Loom Pro has removed its recording limit on its free plan through July 1.

  • Microsoft Teams is free for six months.

  • RingCentral has free video conferencing for educators, healthcare providers, and nonprofits.


  • Aventri has free registration and website software for 60 days for nonprofits, schools, universities, cities, towns, and others on the COVID-19 frontlines. The software can be used to set up online sign-ups, or informational websites for meal pick up times, volunteer sign-ups, online learning, aid requests, and more.

  • Creatio has a free customer center edition to help organizations fighting COVID-19 to react to requests quickly.

  • GanttPRO is giving free accounts to healthcare and nonprofit organizations through August 15. 

  • Project44 is giving free tracking for nonprofits, government agencies, hospitals, pharmacies, and grocers who are providing coronavirus relief and prevention efforts.

  • Wild Apricot is giving a fully functional free plan to organizations dedicated to COVID-19 relief until June 1st (at which point it will be reassessed). 


  • Airtable is giving away unlimited free Airtable Pro plans to non-political, humanitarian efforts supporting COVID-19 relief. 

  • Hootsuite has free Hootsuite Professional plans for small businesses and nonprofits through July 1.

  • Mailchimp is giving free Standard accounts to eligible groups sending COVID-19 public health information through June 30.

  • Moz is providing free Moz Academy courses: just use the promo code "wegotthis".

  • Salesforce is giving free access to technology for emergency response teams, call centers, and care management teams for health systems affected by coronavirus.

  • Ubersuggest is currently providing a free plan.


  • 1Password is giving away free business accounts for the first six months. 

  • Cisco is giving away free licenses for new customers of Duo Security's two-factor authentication tool, and current customers can go above their user limit as their employees increasingly work from home.

  • Okta is providing free access to Okta Single Sign-On (SSO) and Okta Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).

  • SecureAuth has a free Intelligent Identity Cloud package through December 15.

  • SentinelLabs is giving away its cybersecurity platform SentinelOne Core for free until May 16. 

While this is a very scary time for all, both professionally and personally — we’re all in this together, and hopefully this support will help organizations make it through.

To keep up-to-date with Wild Apricot’s vast COVID-19 nonprofit resources, visit our Resources to Help Your Organization Adapt During the Pandemic page. 

Additional Reading:

Tatiana Morand

Posted by Tatiana Morand

Published Wednesday, 15 April 2020 at 3:17 PM

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