A New Year. A New Congress. A New President: What's It All Mean for Nonprofits?

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While engaging with nonprofits around the country in numerous settings since the elections, we noticed their anxiety about what might happen to the work of charitable nonprofits and foundations now that one political party will control both Congress and the White House. Nonprofit leaders – like other Americans – were being bombarded by conflicting news accounts, tweets, and urgent emails and action alerts and expressed difficulty in making sense out of it all. We wrote “Nonprofits Need to Stand Together to Push for Smart Public Policies” (Chronicle of Philanthropy) in an attempt to provide some clarity and point to the key federal policy issues that are likely to affect most or all organizations, regardless of their missions.  

These six separate – yet often interlocking – federal issues cut sector-wide across the work of charitable nonprofits and foundations, looming as potential threats to – and occasional opportunities for advancing – their collective work:

  • Significant cuts to domestic spending and realignment of spending priorities;
  • Tax reforms (including threats to remove/limit charitable giving incentives);
  • Repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act;
  • Invading the legal independence of nonprofits, such as through mandates on endowments;
  • Preserving nonprofit nonpartisanship; and
  • Regulatory reform, including expanding on federal grantmaking rules.

The article recognizes that there are many other policy issues that merit vigorous advocacy, be it climate change, poverty, the arts, etc. Yet harmful actions on any of these six sector-wide issues can undermine the work of all nonprofits and grantmakers. That’s why we conclude the piece with this call to action: “we must also join together to work on policies that allow every nonprofit to do what Americans expect: solve problems in our communities.”

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