June 17, 2010 - Washington, D.C. - At a press conference held June 16 at the United States Capitol, the New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits joined nonprofit leaders from around the country and the National Council of Nonprofits as Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum spoke about her newly introduced “Nonprofit Sector and Community Solutions Act” (HR 5533), a bill that will transform the way that the federal government thinks about and deals with the charitable nonprofit community in the United States. “In New Hampshire, nonprofits are the heart of the community. We are too important to be invisible. The government has often ignored the nonprofit sector, which employs 10 percent of America’s workforce and is often an unrecognized partner in delivering government services,” explained Claudia Damon, Director of Advocacy at the New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits.
The Act would create a federal council and interagency working group, including cabinet secretaries, to communicate about and to coordinate federal policy issues involving the nonprofit sector. The Act also would require collection and dissemination of basic national data on the sector and $5 million in grants to promote such research.
A one-page Fact Sheet prepared by the National Council of Nonprofits and the text of the legislation is available.
Several speakers at the press conference noted the importance of the bill. “This ground-breaking proposal will help the federal government do a better job supporting innovation in nonprofits delivering critical human, social, educational and cultural services,” said Shirley Sagawa, who spoke at the press conference on behalf of America Forward, a coalition of 90 nonprofits in 50 states that focuses on the domestic challenges the nation is facing. This bill would address the need for an agency whose mission is to support the health and capacity of the nonprofit sector.
Marcia Avner, Public Policy Director of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, added, "The U.S. collects and reports current economic performance information of nearly every other industry, but we do not know how many individuals work for charitable nonprofit organizations, how federal dollars flow to nonprofits through state and local governments, or even how much public support is given each year to distinct charitable activities. Congresswoman McCollum's legislation takes the steps necessary to provide answers and show the government and public the incredible work of the nonprofit sector at the national level."
"Congresswoman McCollum recognizes the vital role nonprofits play in communities across America and the essential need to strengthen the partnership between government and nonprofits in order to deliver vital services, build capacity, enhance accountability, and save taxpayers money," said Tim Delaney, President & CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits.