January 14, 2021

New Relief Funding from the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021

Since March 2020, the Grant Plant has monitored developments around COVID-19, particularly developments that are likely to impact New Mexico’s non-profit community, our clients, and New Mexico as a whole. To ensure our non-profit community has the resources needed to continue its vital work, we provide information about COVID-19 emergency funding available in New Mexico on The Grant Plant website. If you have any resources to add, please email us.


The latest—and long-awaited—round of coronavirus relief from the Federal government is contained within the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The comprehensive, $1.4 trillion omnibus spending agreement contains numerous provisions, and includes $900 billion in coronavirus relief funding. The Act was signed into law on December 27, 2020. 

It includes direct monetary assistance to businesses, including nonprofits, and individuals impacted by the virus. It averts a Federal government shutdown, and includes funding for government agencies, and other priorities such as unemployment insurance, paycheck protection, vaccines and testing, schools and universities, food and farm aid, and the Postal Service. Among this list are many provisions that will have an impact across the U.S. A summary of such provisions is outlined below:

Supporting Businesses

  • The Act extends the refundable Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), initially established by the CARES Act. Employers who had to shut down or reduce operations due to restrictions from COVID-19, or who have experienced a significant decline in gross receipts, are eligible for a per-employee tax credit of up to $5,000 each. Extension of this tax credit, through July 1, 2021, will help small businesses and non-profits survive the pandemic, and keep more employees on payroll. Aside from the extension, the ERTC is now more accessible, with businesses able to retroactively borrow both a PPP loan and claim an ERTC for 2020. The ERTC also now has higher limits on per-employee creditable wages and broader eligibility. See the References & Resources section of this article for more details on these updates.
  • The Act includes another $284 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), available to for-profit and non-profit entities alike, and extends the program through March 31, 2021. Notable changes include:
    • A second PPP forgivable loan will be available to small businesses and non-profits (300 or fewer employees) that have experienced a loss of 25% of gross receipts during any quarter of 2020.
    • Expanded PPP eligibility for 501(c)(6) non-profits including local newspapers, radio, and television broadcasters.
    • A simpler forgiveness process for loans less than $150,000.
  • Additionally, the Act stipulates that forgiven PPP loans will not be included in taxable income, and that deductions are allowable for expenses paid from the proceeds of a forgiven PPP loan.
  • The Act includes another $20 billion to refresh the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) Advance grants program, through which small businesses and non-profits in low-income communities can apply for grants of up to $10,000. 
  • The Act earmarks $12 billion for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) to help low-income and minority borrowers disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
  • The Act includes $15 billion in funding to “Save our Stages” —helping organizations such as venue spaces, movie theaters, performing arts organizations, cultural institutions, non-profit museums, and others who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, given widespread restrictions against public gatherings and performances. This funding will flow from the Small Business Administration (SBA). A pot of $2 billion is specifically reserved for organizations with fewer than 50 employees.

Charitable Giving

  • A one-year extension has been granted for the $300 allowable tax deduction for charitable giving, previously set to expire at the end of 2020. This provision also increases the limits on deductible charitable contributions for businesses and individuals who itemize on their taxes, and allows a $600 allowable deduction for people filing a joint return, meaning that the public has more incentive to support charitable organizations during the pandemic. 

Staying Connected

  • An allotment of $3.2 billion is available for an Emergency Broadband Benefit that will provide $50 per month for broadband for low-income families. Consumers will not receive these benefits directly; payments will be made to participating internet service providers, who will verify household eligibility.
  • Another $1 billion is earmarked for a Tribal broadband fund, and $250 million dollars is reserved for telehealth funding. Additionally, a new $300 million grant program has been created to fund broadband in rural areas. 

Making Ends Meet

  • The Act establishes a new $25 billion program to provide emergency rental assistance to renters in need, to be run through the U.S. Treasury Department. The Treasury Department will distribute emergency aid to states and local governments via local housing agencies. These funds will be targeted to families impacted by COVID, who will be able to use this assistance for past due rent, future rent payments, and utility and energy expenses. 
  • The Act delivers a $166 billion round of Economic Impact Payments for individuals, in the form of one-time direct payments of $600 for people making up to $75,000, and $1,200 for couples making up to $150,000. Families can also receive $600 per eligible dependent child. Notably, this round of direct payments will expand its eligibility to include households of mixed immigration status.
  • Another $26 billion has been allocated for agriculture and nutrition funding, of which $13 billion will be used to combat the food insecurity experienced by so many during the pandemic. The Act will increase SNAP benefits by 15%, and add $400 million to The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to fund the continued work of food banks across the country. 

Education & Childcare

  • This Act provides $81.88 billion in flexible education funding for states, K-12 institutions, and higher education institutions. As in the CARES Act, this education funding is again split into three funds: The Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund ($4.05 billion); the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund for public schools ($54.3 billion); and the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund for public and private non-profit and for-profit institutions ($22.7 billion). This provision also earmarks $818.8 million in relief for outlying areas and the Bureau of Indian Education, and $1.7 billion for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal colleges, and Minority-Serving Institutions. 
  • Lastly, the Act includes $10 billion for immediate relief to childcare providers currently in operation, or those that have been temporarily closed due to the pandemic, through the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program. These grants are flexible and may be used for personnel, sanitization of spaces, personal protective equipment, fixed costs, and other childcare related services. The Act also includes $250 million for Head Start providers to ensure they are able to continue to serve low-income children and families.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 includes many more provisions than are outlined in this post. For more details of COVID-19 relief provided within the Act, check out this succinct yet detailed summary, courtesy of the National Conference of State Legislatures. The full text of the Act can be found here.

The Grant Plant will continue daily monitoring for new Federal programs and funding stemming from this Act, and we will update our full listing of COVID-19 funding for New Mexico as more information becomes available. We are inspired by the meaningful work being done in New Mexico’s non-profit community during this time of crisis, and proud to be a resource for our clients as the pandemic continues to unfold. We will get through this together.

Contact: Amo Almand, Resource Development Officer, amorena@thegrantplantnm.com


References & Resources

Full text of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021

A summary from the National Conference of State Legislatures

A summary from Federal Funds Information for States

A summary from the National Council of Nonprofits

An employer’s guide to the Act from OneDigital

A housing-focused summary from the National Apartment Association 

Advance grants and loans from the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)

The Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) on the IRS website

Updates to the ERTC from Raich Ende & Malter Co. LLP and Forbes

Impact on Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs)

More detail on the Save Our Stages Act              

How the Act will impact Tribal communities

A press release from the FCC regarding new communications funding

Details of the Emergency Broadband Benefit courtesy of the National League of Cities

Expanded eligibility of the Economic Impact Payments to families

Impact on agriculture and nutrition

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