ASAE Requests Aid for Associations Hit Hard by COVID-19

Citing major revenue losses related to the coronavirus pandemic, ASAE is asking lawmakers for $25 billion in emergency aid for associations in a proposed economic stimulus package, along with a federal pandemic risk insurance program.

ASAE delivered a letter [PDF] to congressional leaders yesterday requesting emergency financial support for associations and other nonprofit groups experiencing significant revenue losses from event cancellations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congress is currently working on a $1 trillion economic stimulus package to blunt the financial fallout from the coronavirus. While the airlines and other industries have obviously felt the impact of Americans sheltering at home, associations and other sponsors of in-person events are also projecting huge revenue losses from canceled meetings, conventions, and tradeshows. In its letter, ASAE asked Congress for $25 billion in immediate relief for associations and nonprofits so that they can continue to fulfill their missions.

“It is not news that associations and nonprofits are suffering major financial harm due to the unprecedented coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Without swift action, harm will be irreparable, and many associations and nonprofits will shutter permanently and be unable to provide essential services to members during this time of immense tribulation,” ASAE President and CEO Susan Robertson, CAE, said in the letter.

ASAE has also asked Congress to pass legislation creating a federal backstop for insurance claims related to a pandemic or epidemic. The specific purpose of pandemic risk insurance would be to provide for a federal loss-sharing program for certain insured losses resulting from a certified pandemic or epidemic. The measure would be similar to the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act enacted in 2002 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“Together, these imperative policy solutions will not merely help associations and nonprofits nationwide keep their doors open. They are utterly necessary to protect employees’ well-being and enable associations and nonprofits to continue to pursue essential missions in the interest of the economy, the public, and society as a whole,” Robertson said.

Congressional leaders and the White House are working on several different proposals to address the impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. economy. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said today that the White House wants to send most Americans $1,000 within three weeks and an additional $500 per child to counter rapidly deteriorating economic conditions. The administration is also proposing measures to help small businesses, including nonprofit groups, obtain loans and to create an emergency lending program for airlines.

House Democrats are countering with their own fiscal stimulus plan, which is expected to include additional unemployment insurance payments, expanded Medicaid coverage, an airline bailout proposal, and assistance for small businesses, according to sources who spoke to Politico. House members are working from their home districts this week, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is working with top deputies to put together a plan that could be negotiated with the Senate and President Trump.

“This bill will be crafted in consultation with the public health, labor, nonprofit, and business communities, so that we can deliver the most effective, evidence-based response,” Pelosi said Wednesday. “Time is of the essence, and the House will move swiftly to protect public health and provide relief for the American people.”

It’s expected that a relief package could be voted on next week.

(4X/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Chris Vest, CAE

By Chris Vest, CAE

Chris Vest, CAE is vice president, corporate communications and public relations at ASAE. MORE

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