Policy & Advocacy

IDA Advocacy and Resources: Coronavirus Pandemic

Use this advocacy page to support urban place management organizations with gaining access to federal stimulus support during this major health, safety and economic crisis in our downtowns, city centers and neighborhood districts.

June 10, 2021: Action Alert – Canadian Organizations

IDA Canada invites members to review and share our most recent letter regarding government initiatives to help individual businesses and business districts in the recovery stage (EN | FR). A template letter can be downloaded and adapted to write to your local MP (Word document).

May 7, 2021: Action Alert – Canadian Organizations

IDA Canada invites members to review and share the Commentary on Proposed Federal Budget 2021 (EN | FR) with their Board and members as well as MPs. A template letter can be downloaded ( EN | FR) and adapted to local circumstances.

December 23, 2020: Legislative Update – U.S. Organizations

Due to the efforts of many IDA members writing letters of support to Congress, the new package makes 501(c)(6) nonprofit organizations eligible for Payroll Protection Program funds in 2021 under certain circumstances. Read the full update here.

December 1, 2020: Action Alert – Canadian Organizations

In One National Voice: Recovery with Resilience, IDA Canada identifies five issues that all downtowns and main streets across Canada face and present program proposals to assist in resolving challenges. The sharing of these documents and the mobilization of all to help address these issues helps to create a clearer, united voice about national issues affecting the downtowns and main streets of Canada’s cities and towns.

September 15, 2020: Action Alert – U.S. Organizations

IDA encourages members to join the American Society of Association Executives’ community sign-on letter (link no longer active) by Friday, September 25, 2020. The letter from ASAE calls on Congress to expand eligibility under the PPP to include 501(c)(6) organizations. The broader our support, the bigger impact we will make. Get more info about ASAE’s Advocacy Alert here.

August 17, 2020: Action Alert – Canadian Organizations

IDA Canada continues to write the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers about the value of the downtowns and main streets of our country. The most recent letter focuses on an important program intended to ease the burden of rent for small business (Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance) and reinforces the importance of key points made in our April 29, 2020 letter. We encourage members to help in making our collective voice stronger and clearer in Ottawa by sending the below letter to your MP and to the Prime Minister and members of his Cabinet.

July 30, 2020: Action Alert – U.S. Organizations

Speak Up for 501(c) Entities. The prospect for a fourth federal stimulus package became real this week as the U.S. Senate released its $1 trillion proposal, a significantly smaller proposal than the U.S. House of Representatives $3 trillion bill passed in May.  The good news is both programs thus far expand Payroll Protection Program (PPP) eligibility to 501(c)(6) organizations while unfortunately still leaving 501(c)(4) organizations on the outside.

This is a crucial time for IDA and half of its member organizations that are organized as a 501(c)(6) entity.  It is worth remembering that 501(c)(6) entities were originally included in the March CARES Act only to be removed through the negotiation process.  We need every U.S. member of IDA to contact their legislators in both the Senate and House to reinforce how important it is for all 501(c) entities to have access to PPP.  

It is easy to find your legislators contact information using the House and Senate websites.  A sample inquiry from Holly Masek, Executive Director of the Downtown Rochester Alliance in Minnesota, made to the Small Business Administration and her legislators illustrates the value of a direct inquiry. Within a day, Sen. Klobuchar’s office responded to Holly with information about the forth coming stimulus package and a greater appreciation for the work her organization performs. 

For those organizations who employ policy staff or a lobbyist —such as Jason Mathis of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership in Florida— set up a meeting or call your legislator directly.  Jason, along with fellow downtown leaders in Tampa and Jacksonville who recently formed a new Florida Downtown Association, hosted a meeting with Senator Mark Rubio’s office to ensure the senator —who is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship— understood the importance of including 501(c)(6) organizations. Just this week both Sen. Rubio and Sen. Collins introduced the Continuing Small Business Recovery and Paycheck Protection Program Act supporting IDA members.  A section by section summary is available for review.

There is a significant amount of negotiation taking place now on many fronts and IDA members are receiving calls to action from a multitude of interests, calling for a host of changes all of which should be considered.  But universal to many place management organizations, and IDA itself, is access to PPP.  Take this moment and educate your legislators. I want to extend a special thank you to Holly Masek, Jason Mathis and the countless other IDA leaders who have written to their legislators in the past and the many more who will do so this week and next. Thank you all!

May 27, 2020: Update – Canadian Organizations

IDA Canada writes the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers in support of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Read the Letter to Prime Minister.

May 12, 2020: Update – U.S. Organizations

Email update regarding the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act.

May 8, 2020: Action Alert – U.S. Organizations

Both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives are advancing bills in response to IDA’s prior campaign to make 501(c)(6) not for profits eligible for the Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP). Currently Reps. Pappas, Fitzpatrick, Cisneros and Steube have introduced the Local Chamber, Tourism, and 501(c)(6) Protection Act (HR 6697), which would make many IDA district organizations eligible for PPP under the following parameters:

  • 501 c 6 organizations and DMOs with 300 or fewer employees would be eligible; and
  • Loans could not be used to pay salaries for registered lobbyists

Many of you sent letters previously and we want to thank you for your support. We are now sending this alert and asking you to contact your Representative and ask them to:

  1. Support HR 6697, and
  2. Add their name as a cosponsor if not already done so. You can direct them to this sign-on form.

If you need to identify your representative or get their contact information, visit usa.gov for a directory. Thank you for your continued support.

April 29, 2020: Action Alert – Canadian Organizations

IDA Canada continues to write the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers about the value of the downtowns and main streets of our country. The most recent letter focuses on important changes to the proposed Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance [CECRA] program. This letter also supports FCM’s application to the Federal Government for direct financial assistance for municipalities and goes on to identify some initiatives which will assist recovery. 

April 9, 2020: Action Alert – Canadian Organizations

On April 8, 2020, IDA Canada sent a follow-up letter to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers (see previous March 2020 letter below). This letter identified additional initiatives that we believe could strengthen the government’s response to what we see happening to our property and business owners. Please share this letter with your MP and MLAs to reinforce the importance of action. Feel free to utilize it focusing on those elements that are most germane to local circumstances, create a news release or craft a letter to the editor.

April 2, 2020: Action Alert – U.S. Organizations

Please advocate for increased federal funding and more specifically to make 501 (c)(6) and 501 (c)(4) organizations eligible for federal stimulus support. The recent CARES Act provisions provide for districts organized as 501 (c)(3) organizations, however, a majority of our districts are organized under other 501 (c) sections. We need everyone’s collective support today to ensure all districts can survive COVID-19. Rules for the existing stimulus package are being refined and a fourth stimulus bill is already underway. District management organizations are vital to recovery efforts and without your support, many may find themselves with limited or no capacity in the months ahead. Our members, as well as IDA, need everyone to advocate for all 501 (c) designations.

There are several requests, so please review them all and take action today.

  • This letter (on IDA letterhead) is being sent today, April 2, 2020 on behalf of the entire industry to Secretary Mnuchin and congressional leaders. You may reference this letter or attach it to your own if you wish.
  • This sample letter, from Downtown Austin, can be customized for your organization and sent to your own legislators. We suggest you also call your legislators to emphasize the importance of including all 501 (c) organizations in the stimulus package.
  • The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) has been leading a campaign on behalf of all associations, particularly 501(c)(6) organizations like IDA which were included in the original draft bills and later stripped out. Please sign onto the ASAE letter using this link. ASAE’s website has more resources here.

Thank you in advance for supporting all district management organizations. While some organizations may be able to withstand the hardships all of us are feeling, not all of our districts have been able to sustain their full operations and teams. I am truly confident we will emerge stronger and help each of our districts recover quickly just as we did following the 2008 recession. Until this event subsides, however, federal assistance may be needed and most importantly, should be available for all.

Need assistance finding your federal, state and local representatives? Visit usa.gov for a directory.

If you have any questions or need assistance with the advocacy letter, please email david@downtown.org.

March 25, 2020: Action Alert – Canadian Organizations

On March 25, 2020, IDA Canada sent the below letter to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers. Please utilize this letter locally to send a note to your MP and MLAs. In particular, this letter will make it easier to create a news release or craft a letter to the editor.