National Council of Nonprofits’ CEO Brings Voices of America's Local Charitable Nonprofits to Congress

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At House Ways and Means Committee hearing, nonprofits, already stretched thin by the Great Recession, express concerns about the effects of potential changes to charitable giving incentives on their ability to serve local communities.

Tim Delaney, President and CEO, National Council of Nonprofits

Any consideration of changes to charitable giving incentives should focus not on the donor, and not even on nonprofits, but on the people being served by nonprofits in every community across this country.

In testimony today before the House Ways and Means Committee, National Council of Nonprofits (Council of Nonprofits) President and CEO Tim Delaney shared the concerns of more than 100 specific, community-based nonprofits from across the country expressing how changes to the charitable giving incentive would harm their ability to serve the public.

“Unprecedented stresses from the Great Recession have left charitable nonprofits severely depleted from serving so many more, for so much longer, with so much less; legislation that affects nonprofits must take this into account,” said Delaney. “Any consideration of changes to charitable giving incentives should focus not on the donor, and not even on nonprofits, but on the people being served by nonprofits in every community across this country.” He continued, "Charitable nonprofits are concerned about reports that Congress and the White House are looking at reducing the charitable giving incentive, which would effectively take away incentives for donations to the work of churches and synagogues, domestic violence shelters, early childhood programs, education, food banks, youth and senior groups, and all other charitable nonprofits at a time when the deep need for public support for charities to serve the public is at an all-time high."

While demand for services has skyrocketed in the past several years, resources have not kept pace, leaving America’s social safety net in danger of unraveling. Delaney testified that “Congress should take action to encourage charitable giving rather than discourage individuals from giving to organizations that are making a real difference in our communities.”

Real-World Context of Challenges Charities Are Facing
In his testimony, Delaney also identified five ways in which governments at the local, state, and federal levels have been compounding stresses on charitable nonprofits by shifting heavier burdens onto nonprofits and, as a result, endangering the work that nonprofits do in communities:

1.    Abusing nonprofits in the contracting context, hurting program recipients and taxpayers in the process;
2.    Directly taking money away from nonprofit missions through the imposition of new taxes and fees, and demands for payments in lieu of taxes;
3.    Indirectly taking nonprofit resources by improperly invading boardrooms of private nonprofits, which under controlling Supreme Court precedence are independent entities;
4.    Abandoning commitments to the public as they eliminate programs and slash funds, expecting charitable nonprofits and foundations to fill the voids governments create; and
5.    Draining the philanthropic pool of dollars.

The National Council of Nonprofits and its network of state associations of nonprofits have been tracking these issues and working with governments at all levels to find solutions. The nonprofit sector looks forward to working with Congress and the President on reasonable solutions to the country’s economic issues, ensuring that our communities don’t suffer from rushed or ill-informed decision-making.

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The National Council of Nonprofits (Council of Nonprofits) is a trusted resource and advocate for America’s charitable nonprofits. Through our powerful network of State Associations and 25,000-plus members – the nation’s largest network of nonprofits – we serve as a central coordinator and mobilizer to help nonprofits achieve greater collective impact in local communities across the country. We identify emerging trends, share proven practices, and promote solutions that benefit charitable nonprofits and the communities they serve. Learn more at http://www.CouncilofNonprofits.org.

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