Advocating for Nonprofits During the COVID-19 Crisis


SVCN has actively been advocating with city, county, state, and federal governments for community services and nonprofit support in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has included advocacy to grant flexibility to nonprofit contractors within existing government contracts.

We worked with the Behavioral Health Contractors’ Association to submit policy guidance to the County of Santa Clara to minimize disruptions to payments to nonprofit contractors during the pandemic, modeled after similar guidance issued by the City and County of San Francisco. Specifically, we requested the following:

  • Conversion of fee-for-service contracts to cost reimbursement

  • Acceptance of monthly invoices calculated at 1/12th of the contracted units of service

  • Suspension of RFPs through the duration of the emergency

  • No-cost extensions for contracts ending June 30, 2020

  • Timely processing of invoices and payment to offset potential cash flow issues.

While conversations with the County Administration are ongoing, the County has signaled a willingness to work collaboratively with nonprofit contractors on contract modifications to help them weather the pandemic. We anticipate conversations with nonprofits about their contracts with the County will occur in the next few weeks as the Administration expects to bring contract extensions back to the Board of Supervisors for consideration in April and May.

SVCN sent a similar request to the City of San José in response to the City’s Local Assistance Framework that will guide their pandemic response and resiliency efforts.

Later this week, SVCN will issue a memo to City Managers in Santa Clara County with suggestions on how they can support their nonprofit partners through the pandemic. It will include language on options for grant flexibility, including generously allowing changes in deliverables, deadlines, and budget line items; and allowing, without barriers, emergency response to count towards grant deliverables.

Last week, CalNonprofits, the state’s nonprofit association, sent a letter from 1000 nonprofits asking the State Legislature to support California’s nonprofits during the COVID-19 crisis. As a result, Assemblymember Luz Rivas sent a letter to Governor Newsom, Senate President Pro Tem Atkins and Assembly Speaker Rendon seeking actions supporting nonprofits with government contracts, nonprofit employers and employees, and new funding. Kudos to members of our local state delegation for signing onto this letter: Assemblymembers Marc Berman, Kansen Chu, Ash Kalra, Robert Rivas, and Mark Stone.

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