Council of Nonprofits in the News

Nonprofit status pulls 99 properties worth $86 million from tax rolls

September 28, 2011

David L. Thompson, vice president of public policy for the National Council for Nonprofits, told Montana Watchdog in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C., there is increased tension nationwide over tax exempt status.

“It happens whenever a city or locality runs out of money,” he said, adding a nonprofit’s job is to earn its nonprofit exemption every day.

He said the mix of what nonprofits pay and don’t pay is part history, part negotiation and part bargain struck between the organization and the community.

“Our books are open,” Thompson said. “We can’t run a political campaign to knock off mayor so and so. We have to give back to the communities. We have to earn it.”

He said many nonprofits, such as YMCAs, reduce costs to governments. He said a typical YMCA supervises children in afterschool programs rather than have them get into trouble and be a burden on the justice system.

Thompson said the danger with some committees or panels discussing nonprofits is the “cherry picking” in which members zero in on one item.

“It has to be the whole package of what we give,” he said, adding that it is usually prompted by claims of unfair competition. “Nonprofits usually pay a lot more into community more than anyone imagined.”

Nonprofit Leaders Line Up Against Obama’s Cap on Itemized Deductions

September 15, 2011

David Thompson, the vice president for public policy at the National Council of Nonprofits, acknowledges that this notion, first proposed by Obama in connection with health care reform, is unlikely to pass, but he suggests that “a large number of folks are growing concerned” about future pressures on nonprofit revenues. Essentially, the fear is that this proposal might be the tip of the iceberg in terms of the government’s desire to capture nonprofit resources for government purposes. Chris Dubay of the Heritage Foundation notes that even “nonprofits aligned with the Democratic Party . . . all object to it.” As a result, he said, “those organizations are seeing what everyone sees—this isn’t going anywhere.”

Charitable groups will fight Obama tax bill

September 14, 2011

“No one expects this plan to pass as a free standing bill,” said David Thompson, the vice president of public policy at the National Council of Nonprofits, but “a large number of folks are growing concerned” about fiscal pressures that may encourage future changes.

For example, Thompson pointed out that the budget-deficit plan drafted in 2010 by former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson and Democratic appointee Erskine Bowles would have have preserved a tax break for donors, but ended the simple tax deduction that now encourages donations. Their plan, he said, would have created new set of rules that would have made it easier for future Congresses to shrink the value of the tax deductions, and so gain more money from charities.

DFW charities fear possible cuts to tax write-offs for gifts

September 12, 2011

There is no guarantee that the committee will target the deduction, but the National Council of Nonprofits is sending letters to Congress stating the value of it, said David L. Thompson, vice president of public policy for the group.

"Losing the deduction is a threat, it is a risk, and it is something the nonprofit community is taking seriously," he said.

UPMC-Highmark fight spurs call for tax on some nonprofits

September 11, 2011

Municipalities risk long-term problems if, through taxes and other proposals, they reduce the resources of nonprofits, said David Thompson, vice president of public policy for the National Council of Nonprofits, in Washington, D.C. Tax-exempt organizations provide services that municipalities would have to fund otherwise, he said.

"Our view is, with the budget gap in the state or city right now, it would be worse without the nonprofits," Thompson said. He said taxing nonprofits "is an abrogation of the social compact between nonprofits and government."

Thompson said the efficacy of P.I.L.O.T. agreements depends on the circumstances. He said one area in which P.I.L.O.T. deals can be appropriate is when a nonprofit buys a large amount of land, eliminating what had been a source of revenue for a municipality.

"When a nonprofit is expanding, taking property off the tax rolls, that has an impact," Thompson said.

Hispanic attorney named new Girl Scouts CEO

August 25, 2011

Like most non-profits, the Girl Scouts organization has been affected by the battered economy, but has remained strong, says David Thompson, vice president of public policy for the National Council of Nonprofits. Girl Scouts is "a premiere name-brand non-profit that has gone through transition, transformation, reorganization and restructuring. It's led the non-profit community in that regard. It's done a great job of adjusting its mission to where there are girls in need of support and leadership training," he says.

How to Start a Nonprofit

August 11, 2011

Rather than spending several thousand dollars to hire a lawyer to incorporate your nonprofit, write its bylaws and file for 501(c)(3) federal status (so your donors can write off their donations), see if you can get pro bono help from your state’s bar association or a law school, or simply do it yourself. The book How to Form a Nonprofit Corporation by Anthony Mancuso will walk you through the steps of the 501 (c)(3) application process, as can your state association for nonprofits; go to the National Council of Nonprofits’ website to see whether there’s one in your state.

Manheim Township will tap nonprofits

July 17, 2011

Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit OrganizationsIn Harrisburg, after the state team that developed the recovery plan for the financially stressed city said Harrisburg should turn to nonprofits, the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations and the National Council of Nonprofits in Washington, D.C., responded in a July 8 op-ed in the Harrisburg Patriot newspaper.

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