To help hard-hit nonprofits, first fix existing relief programs, Rice expert says


Jeff Falk

Avery Ruxer Franklin

 To help hard-hit nonprofits, first fix existing relief programs, Rice expert says
Baker Institute expert available to discuss pandemic aid with media

HOUSTON – (July 29, 2020) – Nonprofits are struggling to survive during the pandemic’s economic downturn. But before Congress appropriates more relief money to help them out, a Rice University expert says lawmakers should first fix what’s holding up federal funds they’ve already allocated for everything from museums to universities to food banks.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) can help nonprofits with loans, grants and tax-related assistance. But some of those loan programs aren’t even operating yet and only a fraction of grant funds have been distributed, according to a new brief by  Joyce Beebe, a fellow in the Center for Public Finance at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Beebe is available to discuss relief policies with the news media.

“The most pressing issue is to expedite the distribution of program funds already authorized under the FFCRA and the CARES Act,” she wrote.

Beebe argues those programs should be fully utilized before more nonprofit assistance is authorized in a new relief package, such as the Senate’s proposed Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act.

“Many government entities are tasked with issuing new regulations and distributing enormous amounts of aid in a short time. Balancing the urgency of delivering funds to recipients and adhering to regulations is not easy,” Beebe wrote. “When the discussion of the next relief package is underway, it would be diligent to first implement or modify existing programs to see how the effects play out before creating new programs that generate more backlog.”

To schedule an interview with Beebe or for more information, contact Avery Franklin, media relations specialist at Rice, at or 713-348-6327.


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Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks as the No. 2 university-affiliated think tank in the world and the No. 1 energy think tank in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog,

About Avery Ruxer Franklin

Avery is a media relations specialist in the Office of Public Affairs.