Inside the COVID-19 Stimulus Funding Package


On Friday, March 27, 2020, the US House of Representatives passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the president signed the bill into law later that day. The $2.2 trillion supplemental funding bill will provide “emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families and businesses affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.”

ACLS applauds US lawmakers in taking action to assist millions of Americans impacted by this crisis and including provisions that will provide relief for revenue-stricken scholarly societies and other members of the ACLS community. 

The 900-page bill’s many provisions include:

  • Emergency Small Business Administration loans for 501(c)(3) organizations – including scholarly societies, independent libraries, and museums – with 500 total employees or fewer. These loans are to help maintain operations and can be for 2.5 times the organization’s average monthly payments for payroll costs over the past year, up to $10 million. Employers that maintain employment between March 1 and June 30 would be eligible to have their loans forgiven. 
  • Refundable payroll tax credits for some 501(c)(3) organizations of up to $5,000 for each employee. This benefit is available to eligible employers that have seen at least 50% reduction in revenue in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter of 2019, among other qualifying conditions. 
  • $75 million to the National Endowment for the Humanities “to help local, state, and regional communities provide continued access to cultural organizations and institutions of learning,” and $50 million to the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
  • Suspended monthly payments on federal student loans through September 2020, with no interest accruing during that suspension. 

ACLS joined the National Humanities Alliance (NEH) and other partners in encouraging policymakers to include provisions in the stimulus package to assist tax-exempt associations and other groups we serve in navigating this difficult situation. 

While the CARE Act represents some important and urgently needed first steps, we also recognize the need for assistance in the future as the full scope of the impact is revealed. Additional relief packages are expected and NEH, the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), and other allies are continuing to advocate for more stimulus funding and relief provisions that can benefit members of our community.