State Focus

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As our tag line says, we have a “National Voice ~ State Focus ~ Local Impact.” Why do we focus on the states? Consider the facts:

Years # of Laws Passed
  U.S. Congress State Legislatures
2011 - 2012 283 69,000+
2013 - 2014 296 66,500+


The public policy action – threats and opportunities – are happening at the state level. For more, see “Foundations Can Rewrite History by Focusing on the States” (Nonprofit Quarterly; March 2014).

Just as each state has its own unique flag, each state also has its own unique history and culture, both in terms of politics and its reliance on charitable nonprofits. One core strength of our network is recognition that one size of a solution doesn’t fit all, and one accent or phraseology may not work as well in one state as in another . Thus, while the compilation of information from nonprofits across the country may benefit most nonprofits, at times the analysis needs to be translated and customized in a particular state, which makes the State Associations and Nonprofit Allies invaluable.

To use just one issue to illustrate our network in action at the state level, there have been many significant threats to limit to limiting charitable giving incentives – and indeed some losses. For example, in 2011 Michigan’s Governor and Legislature took away a proven giving incentive that previously had produced tens of millions of dollars annually in private contributions to charities for the people they serve. That year the state government in Hawai’i placed a cap on all deductions (including charitable giving) from state taxes – but reversed itself in 2013 thanks to advocacy leadership from the Hawai’i Alliance of Nonprofit Associations and Hawai’i Community Foundation. Indeed, that policy victory on this issue led to several more that year by our network, which helped to secure hard-fought victories to protect charitable giving incentives in Kansas, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Oregon. For more information about how our network engaged in advocacy to protect the sector as a whole and the communities they serve, see “The Lab Results Are in on Tax Reform” (The Hill, July 23, 2013) and “Tax Reform Lessons Learned from State Experiments (Huffington Post, July 25, 2013).

Learn more about how we bring our tagline to life by lifting our network’s “National Voice” and increasing its “Local Impact.” 

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