So far, 5,500+ charitable nonprofits, community and private foundations, and for-profit entities have signed the Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship to protect the 501(c)(3) community from the ravages of partisan politics.
The NEO Law Group is proud to have been one of the first organizations from all 50 states to have signed. Why? Because if the proposal to change longstanding federal tax law were enacted, charitable donations could quickly dry up: potential donors will fear that money they contribute to a charitable mission will be passed along to a partisan campaign instead. That, in turn, would create yet another dark money loophole. It would expose nonprofits to pressure from donors or board members to endorse their favored candidates, and change the expectations that exist today, that charitable nonprofits are where communities come together to solve problems, no matter who is in office or who individuals voted for.
Has your nonprofit, foundation, religious, or for-profit organization signed yet? You can check out the growing list (by state). They include:
- More than 2,300 charitable nonprofits, large and small, such as American Alliance of Museums, Americans for the Arts, American Red Cross, Association of American Colleges and Universities, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Freedom, BoardSource, Feeding America, Girl Scouts of the USA, Habitat for Humanity, Independent Sector, Jewish Federations of North America, Kentucky Council of Churches, League of Women Voters, National Council of Churches, National Council of Nonprofits, National Human Services Assembly, North Carolina Council of Churches, United Way Worldwide, Volunteers of America, and the National Association of State Charity Officials.
- Private foundations are also signing the community letter as self-defense lobbying. Look at the numerous private and family foundations that (to date) have signed the letter — such as the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Clark Foundation, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Jesse Ball du Pont Fund, Dyson Foundation, Ford Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Lumina Foundation, Mott Foundation, Potts Family Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and Wallace Global Fund, and many community foundations – such as Arkansas, Cleveland, Missoula, and Seattle, as well as their associations, such as Council on Foundations and Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers.
- For-profit entities are also expressing their support – There is a growing diverse list of businesses including some that advise, and otherwise support the work of charitable nonprofits, such as The Cagney Company, Council Services Plus, Dietel Partners, Morino Ventures LLC, Smith’s Food & Drug, and, of course, our firm.
If your organization – whether nonprofit, foundation, religious, or for-profit – has not signed yet, you still have time: the deadline is this Friday, March 31.
For more details, this dedicated website – www.GiveVoice.org – provides Background (including Status, Why It Matters, and links to an ever-growing list of op-eds, resources, and statements by 501(c)(3) organizations from across the country). Also, here’s an op-ed that The Hill just published: Keep Partisan Politics Out of the Nonprofit Sector. Finally, here’s what we’ve written about this issue: Converting Charities (including Churches) into Dark Money Political Organizations and Churches & Political Activity: The Call to Repeal the Johnson Amendment (The Nonprofit Quarterly).
We believe that it’s critically important for the nonprofit community to rally behind this issue now to help assure that amendments to existing law that would allow charities to engage in partisan political activities never make it into the proposed tax reform bills. This is a very “live” issue right now that threatens the independence and public trust of nonprofits. Nonprofit charities and foundations, legislators, and other champions of the nonprofit sector must make their voices heard about this issue now!