OU Advocacy Responds to COVID-19: Resources and Help for the Jewish Community

The OU Advocacy Center has played – and continues to play – a leading role in crafting provisions in the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act) and other legislation to provide relief to the Jewish community and beyond during the coronavirus pandemic. In conjunction with the White House, the charitable nonprofit sector and congressional leaders, the OU Advocacy Center  worked tirelessly to assist in the passing of the first CARES Act on March 27, 2020; a second pandemic relief package on December 27, 2020; and a third bill, the American Rescue Plan Act, in March 2021. All of the packages contain significant relief for Jewish communal organizations, as well as the faith community overall. Below you will find the most up-to-date information regarding the funding, aid and economic relief available with relation to COVID-19. 

April 21, 2021

New IRS Guidance for Day Schools, Shuls, Other Nonprofits with Fewer Than 500 Employees for Paid Time Off for Employees To Get COVID-19 Vaccinations

Jewish day schools, yeshivas, shuls and other nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees are now eligible to receive some federal financial support for paid time off they provide to employees to get and recover from COVID-19 vaccinations. This support comes in the form of a tax credit which is funded by the most recent COVID-19 relief package, the American Rescue Plan (ARP), for which OUA successfully advocated.

Eligible employers may claim the paid leave tax credit to offset the cost of providing sick leave ofup to 80 hours (i.e. 10 work days) – up to $511 per day – offered between April 1 and September 30, 2021. The tax credit will allow these employers to provide paid leave for employees to get COVID-19 vaccinations and for any time their employees may need to recover from the vaccinations at no cost to the employer.

More info:

April 19, 2021

Nathan Diament on JM in the AM on the $5.5 Billion OUA Helped Secure for Our Schools, and Much More

Listen to this JM in the AM segment learn more about the $5.5 billion set-asides for nonpublic schools included in the last two federal COVID-19 relief packages to help our schools address the costs of the pandemic, and much, much more.

April 12, 2021

Webinar: Employee Retention Tax Credit with Advisors from Withum advisory, tax and accounting firm

Learn about qualification and calculations of the Employee Retention Credit ERTC for 2020 and 2021, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness, PPP2 loans and any other COVID relief provisions. This event is hosted by OU Synagogue Services.
Watch the webinar here and view the accompanying slideshow here

March 8, 2021

OU Welcomes Senate Passage of ‘American Rescue Plan’ Covid Relief Package

The Orthodox Union today welcomed the U.S. Senate’s passage of the latest federal Covid relief package – the American Rescue Plan (ARP). The legislation contains several provisions that will benefit the Jewish community, including two in particular for which the Orthodox Union worked closely with coalition partners, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other congressional leaders. The Act was signed into law March 11, 2021.

Read more here

March 5, 2021

Action Alert:
Contact Your U.S. Senators and Ask Them to Support the “American Rescue Plan” – The Newest Covid Relief Package Contains Strong Support for Our Communities’ Nonprofits

The U.S. Senate is currently considering a new and unprecedented Covid relief package which contains a number of measures that will support families and businesses in our communities and beyond. OU Advocacy has been working with allies in Congress on a number of important provisions within the legislation that will deliver much-needed aid to nonprofit charities in our community–including Jewish day schools and shuls–and other American communities at large. They include:

  • A new allocation of $2.75 billion to deliver services and assistance to non-public K-12 schools impacted by the Covid emergency;
  • A new expansion of Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans to nonprofit charities that employ more than 500 employees;
  • An increase in the rate of government reimbursement to nonprofit charities for their unemployment insurance obligations.

January 6, 2021

Update: Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Policy  

SBA, in consultation with the Treasury Department, has recently released additional PPP guidance:

For more information and updates, visit SBA.gov/PPP or Treasury.gov/CARES

Dec. 21, 2020

OU Welcomes Congressional Passage of Second Round of Covid Relief Package; Includes $2.75 Billion for Jewish, Other Nonpublic Day Schools

The Orthodox Union welcomed Congressional leaders’ agreement on a COVID-19 relief package that includes many important and critical measures such as substantial funds to support America’s K-12 schools including $2.75 billion to support Jewish, Catholic and other nonpublic day schools.

The new relief package includes many important provisions to address the current challenges, such as:

  • a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans (which nonprofits can access);
  • an extension of unemployment insurance support;
  • greater funding for food assistance;
  • more funds for vaccine distribution and COVID-19 testing.

Read more here and see our full memo here on new sources of support for day schools and synagogues in the year-end COVID-19 relief package

July 30, 2020

OU Comments to U.S. Dept. of Education re: CARES Act Rule on Equitable Services
The OU submitted the following comments in support of the proposed regulation concerning the distribution formula for COVID-19 relief funding for schools. The formula promulgated by the proposed regulation would enable Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to fulfill their obligations to nonpublic schools under the equitable services doctrine, ensure that nonpublic schools are able to minimize educational disruption and maintain adequate public safety standards during the coronavirus pandemic. It would also prevent the closure of hundreds, if not thousands, of nonpublic schools due to pandemic-related financial difficulties and shield public schools from the resulting flood of displaced former nonpublic school students into crowded public school systems across the United States.
Full comments here

July 28, 2020

Updated Info:  Coronavirus Response Legislation (HEROES Act & HEALS Act)
This month, leaders of Congress and the White House are negotiating another round of COVID-response legislation before Congress’s August recess. As a follow-up to the CARES Act, the U.S. House  passed the “HEROES” Act in May. The U.S. Senate has not yet acted on this legislation; instead, on July 27, Republicans in the Senate introduced their own “HEALS” Act. This chart—prepared by the National Council of Nonprofits—compares the two pieces of proposed legislation with the enacted CARES Actand presents issues of particular interest to nonprofit, charitable organizations.

July 24, 2020

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Policy Update—Loan Forgiveness
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced guidelines for submitting PPP borrower loan forgiveness applications. Its platform to accept loan forgiveness decisions, supporting documentation, and requests for forgiveness payments will “go live” on August 10, 2020 and is available only to PPP lenders, not PPP borrowers; work with the bank through which you received a PPP loan to prepare your forgiveness application for submission on or after August 10. A link to the platform will be posted on sba.gov before August 10 (subject to extensions, pending legislative amendments). More info on Procedures for Lender Submission of Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Decisions here.

July 9, 2020

Congress Passes S. 4209: “Protecting Nonprofits from Catastrophic Cash Flow Strain Act of 2020”
One of the bills we have advocated—S. 4209, the bipartisan “Protecting Nonprofits from Catastrophic Cash Flow Strain Act of 2020”—passed the U.S. Senate last week and unanimously passed the House of Representatives today. President Trump is expected to sign it into law.

The previously passed CARES Act required that nonprofits pay 50 percent of the cost of unemployment insurance to the state, while the federal government covers the other 50 percent. Guidance issued by the Department of Labor required states to collect 100 percent of unemployment insurance costs up front and reimburse them later, putting further strain on organizations already hit hard by COVID-19. This new legislation will clarify that nonprofits are only required to provide 50 percent in payments to the state up front. Read more

July 7, 2020

Memorandum: Paycheck Protection Program Recipients Disclosed
The Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department have announced the release of detailed, loan-level data on the Paycheck Protection Program. The disclosure covers each of the 4.9 million loans that have been made under the program. Loan-level data available on the Treasury website here. A news release is available here

June 23, 2020

Take Action Today to Increase Charitable Giving to Day Schools, Shuls, Other Nonprofits
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the OU Advocacy Center has been advocating to exapand across-the-board charitable deductions for individual and joint filers; a new, bipartisan bill introduced by Sens. James Lankford and Chris Coons would do just that. Please take a moment now to urge your senators to co-sponsor the Universal Giving Pandemic Response Act –

June 22, 2020

Memorandum: Paycheck Protection Program—Public Transparency on Loans of $150,000+
On Friday (June 19), the Small Business Administration (SBA), along with the U.S. Department of Treasury and the U.S. Senate Small Business Committee, announced measures to provide more public transparency surrounding Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Specifically, the SBA will disclose information including the business names, addresses, and loan amount ranges for those organizations that have received a loan of $150,000 or more.  Read the full text of the SBA press release here.

June 22, 200

Orthodox Union’s Statement on New Bill to Expand Charitable Giving
The Orthodox Union welcomes the introduction of the bipartisan “Universal Giving Pandemic Response Act” (S.4032), which will provide charities on the front lines of the Covid-19 response critical relief by amending the IRS Code to allow above-the-line deductions for charitable contributions by individuals who don’t itemize their 2019 and 2020 tax returns. The bill has the strong backing of OU Advocacy,  which has been working closely with legislators and a coalition of nonprofits to expand charitable giving laws. Read more here

June 17, 2020

New “EZ” Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application
The Small Business Administration  and the Department of Treasury today announced a new, simplified forgiveness application for nonprofits and other entities that received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). It’s available to PPP loan recipients that:

  • Are self-employed and have no employees; OR
  • Didn’t reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%, and didn’t reduce the number or hours of their employees; OR
  • Experienced reductions in business activity as a result of health directives related to COVID-19, and didn’t reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%.

Access the new application here

June 8, 2020

Joint Statement by Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza Regarding Enactment of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act
Read the statement here

June 4, 2020

Memorandum: Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (H.R. 7010)
This legislation, which was just passed by Congress, relaxes several restrictions on companies or organizations that borrow money through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) of the CARES Act, passed in March 2020. Read the full memo here

June 3, 2020

The OU Advocacy Center joined with nonprofits nationwide to host a national webinar on June 2 with U.S. Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who spoke about the need to significantly expand the tax deduction for charitable donations. Listen here.

May 26, 2020

Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Interim Final Rule: Read here

May 22, 2020

New Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application
Access it here

May 13, 2020

New Guidance: Paycheck Protection Program Loans FAQs
Please note question/answer #46: How will SBA review borrowers’ required good-faith certification concerning the necessity of their loan request?

Statement: Orthodox Union Welcomes Inclusion of Bipartisan Measures to Support Charities in New Covid Response Legislation Introduced in House of Representatives
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic leaders introduced the “HEROES Act” — their proposal for the next federal legislative response to the Covid-19 crisis impact on American society. It contains many bipartisan reforms designed to improve the previously enacted CARES Act and provide more support to charitable nonprofits and faith-based organizations throughout the country.
Read more here


May 7, 2020

OU Briefing with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Watch here
The OU Advocacy Center, along with the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), organized a video briefing with Dr. Anthony Fauci for rabbis across the United States to discuss considerations for synagogues once they begin to reopen. See the OU/RCA guidelines here; watch the video here

OU Welcomes Bipartisan Letter by Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Angus King (I-Maine) urging Senate leadership not to overlook nonprofits, including houses of worship, in the fourth-phase relief proposal for the coronavirus pandemic. Read the letter here.

May 6, 2020

OU Briefing with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer
The OU Advocacy Center, along with Agudath Israel of America, hosted Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer for a webcast briefing in which the top-ranking senator discussed how the recent coronavirus stimulus packages benefit nonprofits and Jewish institutions. Sen. Schumer also gave assurances that future federal COVID relief aid will extend support to nonprofits employing more than 500 people – a key provision for which OU Advocacy has been pressing in our ongoing conversations with Congress and the White House.
Read more in JTA

Treasury Department Guidance Updated: FAQs
Read the full document here

April 30, 2020

Action Alert
Click here to urge your U.S. Senator to Sign Lankford-King Letter to Provide Greater Aid for Charities Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
Take action today to urge your U.S. Senator to support enhanced provisions that will help ensure more nonprofit organizations, including synagogues, schools, community centers and other Jewish institutions, receive greater relief in the next federal legislative package responding to the coronavirus crisis.

NEW guidance for  day schools on receiving “equitable” support from CARES Act K-12 funds
Read the guidance here

Orthodox Union Welcomes Letter Urging Congressional Leaders to Incorporate Bipartisan Legislation Providing Dramatic Relief for Charities in Next Coronavirus Relief Package (Read the full statement here)

April 27, 2020

U.S. Treasury Department Guidance re Parsonage
The U.S. Treasury Department issued Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) FAQs clarifying that”parsonage”- the housing allowance provided to rabbis and other clergy as part of their compensation – counts toward payroll costs. 

Question: Does the cost of a housing stipend or allowance provided to an employee as part of compensation count toward payroll costs?

Answer: Yes. Payroll costs includes all cash compensation paid to employees, subject to the $100,000 annual compensation per employee limitation.

Read more here: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Paycheck-Protection-Program-Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf

April 24, 2020

President signs bill providing extensions and modifications to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) emergency loan and grant program.

This action gives nonprofits, including synagogues, day schools, yeshivas, community centers, federations and other Jewish communal institutions (among other nonprofits) another opportunity to receive federal support designed to counteract the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): $310 billion more for loans

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) emergency loan and grant program:
$60 billion more – $50 billion for Disaster Loans Program Account and $10 billion for EIDL emergency grants

April 23, 2020

U.S. Education Department Guidance on CARES Act Support Rollout of Funding for K-12 Schools, Including Jewish, Other Nonpublic Schools

April 20, 2020

New Guidance That Can Yield Short Term Funds for Your School or Shul
Over Pesach, the IRS issued new guidance provides that an entity that applies for and receives a PPP loan under the CARES Act can defer its deposit of the employer’s share of social security taxes until the date its lender issues a decision to forgive the loan.

This means your institution could defer two or three months of paying its share of FICA taxes until later this year and next, as described here in the new IRS guidance under #4.

April 10, 2020

Faith and Giving Coalition: Selected CARES Act Resources

April 7, 2020

Information Sheet re Paycheck Protection Program Loans Read here
Additional info here

April 3, 2020

FAQ re Participation of Faith-Based Organizations in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL)Read here

SBA press release: SBA Clarifies Eligibility of Faith-Based Organizations to Participate in Paycheck Protection (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Programs Read here

April 2, 2020

Payroll Protection Program loan applications are now available!
Read more here and get application here

Special Guidance for Shuls & Day Schools re PPP Loans: Read here

The OU Advocacy Center (OUA) played a leading role in crafting provisions in the CARES Act (the most recent round of COVID-19 stimulus response legislation). And, working with the White House, Congressional leaders and the charitable nonprofit sector, the OU Advocacy Center successfully worked to get the CARES Act passed on March 27, 2020.

OU Advocacy’s efforts  paved the way for day schools, shuls and other nonprofit charities’ eligibility for the core programs offered in the CARES Act, such as forgivable loans of up to $10 million from the Small Business Administration; deferring the payment of payroll taxes; and refundable tax credit against those payroll taxes if employees are retained on staff. (Read more in Nathan Diament’s  NY Jewish Week op-ed here and listen to his April 3 interview on JM in the AM)

These programs will help, but they are not enough: Some restrictions, for example, may leave our larger schools, federations and social service agencies with little, if any support. That is why the OU Advocacy Center is dedicated to continuing to push for a new federal support package and has been working around the clock to secure greater relief for our community.

To contribute to our efforts so that we may continue our work to help America’s Jewish community and our most vulnerable, please donate here.

Listen to Nathan Diament’s interview on JM in the AM April 3:
How Can Your Nonprofit Get Financial Help During These Difficult Times? Find Out with the OU Advocacy’s Center’s Nathan Diament

Payroll Protection Program loan applications are now available!
Click here to access loan application and guidance information
If you haven’t already: Please be sure to contact your bank or lenders.

Click here for the Orthodox Union resources page to help your school, shul, federation, community center or other Jewish institution apply for financial relief, including:

◊ Paycheck protection loans
◊ Expanded unemployment benefits
◊ Payroll tax payment deferral

Conference calls hosted by OU Advocacy and the Teach Coalition:
April 2: Applying for loans
March 31, 2020: Available assistance and eligibility

To sign up for future conference calls, please write to information@teachcoalition.org

Additional resources:

Press coverage:
Click here
to see OU Advocacy’s work to craft, pass COVID-10 relief aid for shuls, schools and other charities:

OU Advocacy-Authored Resources: Statements, Op-eds, Actions Alerts

March 31, 2020

Op-ed by the Orthodox Union’s Nathan Diament in NY Jewish Week:
Congress Needs to Give More Help to America’s Charities in This Crisis

Last week, Congress passed a $2 trillion package to try to support American citizens and the American economy in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. This was Washington’s third effort on this front and it was focused on stabilizing the economy by providing unprecedented financial support to small and large businesses. Unfortunately, the “CARES Act” fell short in supporting one critical sector — America’s charities.
Read the full piece 

April 23, 2020

Statement: Orthodox Union Welcomes US Education Dept Rollout of Billions of Dollars to Support K-12 Schools; Shall Include Equitable Support for Jewish and Other Nonpublic Schools

Today, the U.S. Department of Education issued its initial guidance and application materials for states to apply for more than $13 billion in federal funds to support K-12 schools in the midst of the Covid19 crisis.  Congress allocated the funds for this purpose by setting up the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (“ESSER”) Fund in the CARES Act.  The Orthodox Union Advocacy Center engaged intensively with Congress as the CARES Act was shaped to ensure that Jewish and other nonpublic schools — which are facing their own financial and operational challenges, alongside public K-12 schools, as a result of the pandemic — would receive support through any such federal relief programs.

Read more


March 26, 2020

Statement: Orthodox Union Commends Congress for Passing Coronavirus Response Legislation that Includes Support for Charitable Sector Amid Coronavirus Emergency

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America welcomes Congress’s passage of the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act, which includes significant assistance for the nonprofit charitable sector so that it may continue to serve vulnerable families and communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more


March 20, 2020

Action Alert: Urge your U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative to Provide Aid to Shuls, Schools & Other Charities Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
The Orthodox Union Advocacy Center is part of a large network of charitable nonprofits fighting to ensure our organizations-including synagogues, schools, community centers and more-are included in the next federal legislative packages responding to the coronavirus crisis. Please take a minute to write to your U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative to ask them to include nonprofit organizations in their future response to the coronavirus.


March 19, 2020

Statement: Orthodox Union Joins Nonprofit Charities Nationwide in Call for Congress to Provide Financial Support for Charitable Sector Amid Coronavirus Emergency
The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of American has joined nonprofits nationwide in issuing a letter to Congress requesting $60 billion to help the nonprofit charitable sector continue to serve vulnerable families and communities in the wake of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more


March 18, 2020

Letter from Charities to Congress: COVID-19 Relief and Economic Stimulus Package
AMERICA’S CHARITIES REQUEST $60 BILLION INFUSION OF SUPPORT TO HELP THE MOST VULNERABLE The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic facing the country is having a profound impact on the economy and has greatly expanded the need for charitable organizations to provide additional services in an unprecedented manner. Without dramatic and immediate financial and programmatic backstop from government, America’s charitable nonprofits and the people we serve face a precipitous decline in mission services at a time when our efforts are needed like never before by the most vulnerable in our communities.

Read the letter