Hurricane Sandy: Resources for Nonprofits

Many nonprofits in the tri-state area are facing serious challenges as a result of Hurricane Sandy.  On this page, Pro Bono Partnership is compiling information to assist nonprofits as they recover from the storm. 

Volunteer attorneys have contacted Pro Bono Partnership to offer their services to our clients.  If your nonprofit needs legal assistance, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible.  Our services are free and we can assist with all types of legal questions, including employment issues, insurance coverage, and landlord-tenant issues.

We also encourage you to inform colleagues about the availability of our services.  Your word-of-mouth referrals will help us reach other nonprofits that may need our assistance during this time. 

RESOURCES

Applying for FEMA Assistance:  President Obama has signed a Major Disaster Declaration authorizing FEMA to provide grants to Private Not for Profit (PNP) groups that meet certain criteria.  To apply for FEMA assistance, organizations must complete and submit the one-page RPA Form. 

For New York organizations, the form can be e-mailed to John Grubsick at jgrubsick3@dhses.ny.gov, faxed to 518-322-4984, or mailed to the State Office of Emergency Management, 1220 Washington Avenue, Suite 101, Building 22. Albany, NY 12226-2251.  Submission deadlines have been extended.   For Bronx, Kings, New York, Richmond, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk counties, the RPA Form must be submitted by December 29, 2012.  For Rockland and Westchester counties, the deadline is January 2, 2013, and for Orange, Putnam, Sullivan, and Ulster counties, the deadline is January 12, 2013. 

For New Jersey organizations, the RPA Form should be mailed or faxed to:

Lt. Col. Jerome Hatfield
Alternate Governor’s Authorized Representative
New Jersey Office of Emergency Management
P.O. Box 7068
West Trenton, N.J. 08628-0068
Attention: Lt. Jeffrey Mottley
Telephone: 609-882-2000, ext. 2700 or 2500
Fax number: 609-882-1694

The deadline for submitting the RPA Form in New Jersey has been extended to December 30, 2012.

When FEMA receives your form, a representative will contact your organization directly.  In the interim, inventory all of your organization's costs and damages associated with the storm and prepare the documentation that FEMA will require:

  • Proof of your non-profit status (your 501(c)(3) determination letter)
  • Photographic proof of damages, including before and after photos if possible
  • Description, receipts, and invoices for expenses incurred
  • Insurance information and receipts of any claims filed after the storm

Applying for SBA Assistance:  If your organization does not meet the criteria for FEMA assistance, you may still be eligible for a low-interest disaster business loan from the Small Business Administration.  More information is on the SBA website

Guide to Disaster Assistance and Relief Funding:  New York Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand has published this guidebook outlining the available disaster assistance programs across the federal government.

NPCCNY Resources Page:  To help nonprofits affected by the storm, the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York has set up a webpage where nonprofits can let other nonprofits know about available resources.  Most of these resources are focused on New York City, but some are available to organizations outside of the city.

Other ResourcesThis legal alert issued by Pro Bono Partnership on November 16 lists several disaster assistance resources for nonprofits in New York and New Jersey.   

Disaster Relief FAQs:  Pro Bono Partnership attorneys have prepared answers to some of the most common questions we've received.  Please check back as we'll continue to update over the next few weeks. 

Lawyers Alliance Webinars:  Lawyers Alliance of New York conducted a series of free webinars entitled "Rebuilding After Hurricane Sandy."  Archived recordings of these webinars and registration information for upcoming workshops are on the Lawyers Alliance website. 

IRS Gives Additional Time to Small, Automatically Revoked Organizations Affected by Sandy:  The IRS is allowing small tax-exempt organizations affected by Hurricane Sandy an extension until February 1, 2013 to apply for reinstatement of exempt status and seek transitional relief.  This applies to small organizations in covered federal disaster areas that had lost their tax-exempt status for failing to file Form 990 tax returns for three consecutive years.   Information about other extended tax deadlines can be found in the article below. 

IRS Webinar on Starting and Operating Charities for Disaster Relief:  When disasters strike new charities spring up to help the victims, and existing charities want to expand their activities to provide disaster relief. But there are complexities in starting and operating an organization to provide disaster relief.  This free archived webinar from the IRS explains the basic requirements for starting a tax-exempt charity and the ways new and existing organizations can properly provide disaster relief under federal tax rules, so they do not risk losing their tax-exempt status. 

IRS Announces Expedited Review and Approval for Sandy-Related Charities:  Though the IRS encourages people to work with existing charities in their aid efforts, it has announced expedited review and approval for organizations seeking tax-exempt status to provide relief to victims of Hurricane Sandy.  Organizations should write at the top of their applications for tax-exempt status “Disaster Relief, Hurricane Sandy.”  Organizations whose applications are awaiting review by the IRS and who wish to provide relief for Sandy victims can fax a request to 513-263-4554 labeled "Disaster Relief, Hurricane Sandy" that includes the organization's name, Employer Identification Number, contact name and phone number.

Articles:

Insurance Recovery for Superstorm Sandy Losses
Many organizations have incurred damages and losses because of Superstorm Sandy. This article provides an overview of the steps required to make insurance claim submissions and begin the recovery process. Posted with the permission of Lowenstein Sandler PC.

Hurricane Sandy Tax Relief for Nonprofits in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Internal Revenue Service, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York all have extended deadlines for certain tax filings and payments. This article summarizes the relevant extended deadlines for nonprofits, as of November 8, 2012.

Privacy Alert: Did Your Nonprofit Lose Business Records in the Storm?
Post-Hurricane Sandy, some nonprofits are dealing with the damage or loss of their business records, both paper and electronic. This article discusses the legal implications of a records loss and provides general guidance on how organizations should respond.

Paying Employees in the Aftermath of a Natural Disaster
Following a natural disaster, employers may wonder if they must pay employees if their offices were closed, or if their offices were open and employees did not come to work. This article generally summarizes the relevant wage and hour rules.



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