How to Build Community (from a distance)


The weekly Connect(for) series brings you new ways to stay connected during this strange time of social distancing — and beyond



We are thrilled to announce the launch of Connect(for), a new series that will resources and opportunities to connect over the coming weeks as our communities work together in response to COVID-19. This series is run by a collaborative comprised of the Community Builders NetworkCreating Whole CommunitiesReady by 21, the St. Louis Regional Data AllianceThread STLUMSL’s Masters of Public Policy Administration Program, and the Vacancy CollaborativeUMSL’s Community Innovation and Action Center is coordinating the series under the collaborative’s leadership.


Each week will feature something new as a way to stay informed and stay connected – a blog, a podcast, a community builder… who knows! If you’d like to contribute, please let us know by emailing Kiley Bednar, CIAC Interim Co-Director, at


Our first edition of the series is Connect(for) Financial Success. Dr. Mark Tranel, Director Emeritus of UMSL’s Community Innovation and Action Center, put together a blog highlighting critical financial resources for nonprofits in the new Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), as well as local ways to get support. You can read it below.


Next week, we’ll be convening a virtual happy hour next Thursday, April 9th, from 4 to 5pm with a chance to connect and reflect with other community leaders.  Stay tuned!


Until next time,


The Connect(for) Collaborative  



 Connect(for) Financial Success:
Two Signficant Ways Nonprofits Can Get Financial Support During the Coronavirus Crisis

By Mark Tranel, PhD


The federal Coronavirus economic stimulus law and the St. Louis Community Foundation are both potential fiscal resources for St. Louis area nonprofits strained by the current crisis.

There are two changes to current tax law in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (or CARES) Act that impact charitable contributions. The first allows non-itemizers up to a $300 2020 deduction of charitable cash contributions to 501(c)(3) organizations (Sec 2204); this can also apply in future years. The provision allows non-itemizers to subtract up to $300 from their gross income. This is a change from the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 which raised the standard deduction, significantly reducing the number of taxpayers able to claim an itemized deduction, including charitable contributions.

The second tax law change in the CARES Act affects those able to itemize. Current tax law limits the deductibility of charitable contributions for individuals to 60 percent of adjusted gross income. The new stimulus law removes the 60 percent limit. The full amount of any eligible charitable contribution is now deductible. For corporations, the limit of 10 percent of taxable income is increase to 25 percent.

While the current coronavirus crisis is making both individuals and corporations skeptical about what their incomes will be, the CARES Act gives nonprofits some additional leverage to make appeals for charitable contributions.

A second category of fiscal support in the CARES Act is the eligibility of nonprofits for loans through the Small Business Administration (Sec 1102). Nonprofits are made eligible for an SBA loan if they have fewer than 500 employees and they use the loan for payroll. There is a provision that loan proceeds used to keep employees on staff for the period February 15 to June 30 can be forgiven, making the loan a grant.

Nonprofits should carefully examine other details in Section 1102 of the CARES Act that provide for a payroll tax credit under certain conditions and Section 1110 for Economic Injury Disaster loans.

In addition to the financial support from the federal government the St. Louis Community Foundation is the leader of a coalition of philanthropic and chamber organizations in the creation of the COVID-19 Regional Response Fund.  The Community Foundation directs contributions to this fund “…to regional nonprofits that are serving local communities disproportionately affected by the coronavirus crisis and its economic fallout.”  On March 26 the Foundation awarded $370,000 to St. Louis area nonprofits working with aging, special needs, disabled, food insecurity, and mental and behavioral health populations at high risk of impact from the coronavirus.  

Contact the St. Louis Community Foundation at 314-588-8200 or visit for further information. 

Need more information about nonprofit financial support during this difficult time? Check out these additional resources: