March 12, 2020

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader
317 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Charles Schumer
Minority Leader
322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer:

On behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), thank you for your leadership in preparing our national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Congress considers the economic costs of COVID-19, we request that you include in any economic recovery and resilience measures non-profit scientific societies and organizations. Professional societies and research institutions are suffering significant economic impacts from cancelling scientific conferences, workshops, and other meetings. For many professional associations/scientific societies, annual meetings, regional and topical conferences are one of the primary ways that scientists share information. These meetings are also one of the core revenue sources that sustain the work of these non-profit organizations. Scientific societies have been at the forefront of the public response to COVID-19. Often, cancelling programs to reduce exposure risks prior to any request or directive from government and public health officials.

In addition to non-profit scientific societies, natural history museums, botanical gardens, and other research institutions with large public programming are experiencing economic losses as they reduce, postpone, and cancel public programs, including formal and informal science education programs. Most of these institutions are non-profits and operate with budgets with limited capacity to absorb revenue losses resulting from reduced public visitation.

The American Institute of Biological Sciences is a non-profit scientific organization that promotes informed decision-making that advances the biological sciences for the benefit of science and society. Our members include professional societies, research centers, natural history museums, and other scientific and educational organizations representing the breadth of the biological sciences.

Thank you for your consideration of our concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact me at or (202) 628-1500 x 250 if AIBS or our members may be of assistance to you on this or any other matter.


Robert Gropp, Ph.D.
Executive Director

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