National News

Foundations Can Rewrite History by Focusing on the States

Like Robert Frost nearly a century ago, today’s foundation leaders stand where two roads diverge. They can continue down the usual road of fixating solely on federal policy debates, such as the one over the charitable deduction. Or they can take the road “less traveled by” to where the real action is: the states. If they choose the latter, then years from now they too can look back with Frost’s sigh of satisfaction because that choice will have “made all the difference”—for their missions, their grantees, and the individuals and communities they serve.
Posted on: March 7, 2014
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Obama Budget Caps Charitable Deduction at 28% for Wealthy

Nonprofits criticized a plan offered by President Obama on Tuesday that would limit the value of all tax deductions, including the charitable deduction, for wealthy taxpayers.
Posted on: March 6, 2014
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Where Biden Should Look for Job Training Ideas (Nonprofits and Governors)

Highlighting the value nonprofits contribute to economic development - this recent Nonprofit Quarterly article proposes that a new commission on job training led by Vice President Biden “convene the nation’s best locally-focused job training nonprofits” as a means to develop policy based on the most successful practices from around the nation.
Posted on: February 26, 2014
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501(c)(4) Proposed Regulations

The Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is leading an effort to block implementation of proposed regulations from the Treasury Department that would redefine what constitutes electioneering activities of 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations under the Internal Revenue Code.
Posted on: February 5, 2014
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Thune, Wyden Lead Bipartisan Group of Senators to Call for Maintaining the Charitable Tax Deduction

U.S. Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), members of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, today led a bipartisan group of senators in a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) underscoring the importance of maintaining the charitable tax deduction as the committee considers comprehensive tax reform.
Posted on: January 27, 2014
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Houston, We Have a Budget Deal in Washington

Rick Cohen of Nonprofit Quarterly examines the Ryan-Murrey budget deal, which adds $45 billion to the top-line budget number in discretionary spending for 2014.
Posted on: December 20, 2013
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Treasury Dep’t Proposes Overhaul of 501(c)(4) Political Spending

A draft proposal released by the Treasury Department yesterday would target the political spending of so-called social welfare organizations that receive 501(c)(4) tax exemptions. Treasury is taking aim at whether these groups do too much political activity and too little social welfare programming. Although it has been reported in the press as an Obama administration crackdown, at this stage it is only a proposed statement of guidance around which the IRS (which is part of Treasury) is soliciting reactions and feedback.
Posted on: December 2, 2013
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An Assessment of the Strengthening Communities Fund Capacity-Building Program

The Strengthening Communities Fund (SCF) authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was part of the Federal government’s response to the recession. Because people often turn to nonprofit organizations for assistance in difficult financial times, SCF was designed to build organizational capacity of faith-based and community organizations so they could better serve people in need and contribute to the economic recovery. This research brief highlights the interplay between the recession and SCF capacity-building efforts.
Posted on: December 2, 2013
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Pittsburgh’s New Mayor Clashes with Nonprofit Coalition over PILOTs

At the end of this year, the City of Pittsburgh’s accord with a coalition known as the Pittsburgh Public Service Fund will end, and it’s already caused friction between local nonprofits and the city’s newly elected mayor, Bill Peduto.
Posted on: November 27, 2013
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Impact of the Government Shutdown and Threat of Default on the Nonprofit Sector

Despite its obvious negative consequences, the recent government shutdown has afforded us yet another opportunity to illustrate how critical the nonprofit sector is to New Hampshire's communities and economy.
Posted on: November 1, 2013
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Future of Campaign Finance Reform

This is a fluid time in campaign finance, with the potential for lots of money to shift around in the wake of some very unpopular political actions in Washington. The U.S. Supreme Court is about to rule on another campaign finance reform case, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. If the court rules against the FEC, it will be another step toward the domination of federal elections by big-money people and institutions. This article from the Nonprofit Quarterly explores this issue.
Read more
Posted on: October 17, 2013

Gov't Shutdown: Impact for Nonprofits?

Big swaths of the federal government closed shop at midnight Monday (9/30) after Congress failed to reach a deal to keep the money flowing. What does the shutdown mean for nonprofits?
The Chronicle of Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Quarterly have both weighed in with their thoughts.
Posted on: October 1, 2013

Budget Battles: Sequestration Cuts More Popular than Ever

The nation is getting ready for the next round of last-minute battles to reach a decision on a Fiscal Year 2014 budget (all but impossible), a continuing resolution to keep the government running (more like), or a government shutdown (please, no!). Oddly, the sequestration part of the budget battle is not being addressed, at least for the pieces of concern to nonprofits, partly because the public is growing to like the cuts, partly because President Obama has taken credit for their deficit reduction impacts, and partly because elements looking to be protected from sequestration are the military and the FAA, not the social safety net.
Read more from the Nonprofit Quarterly
Posted on: September 23, 2013

Senate Finance Panel Outlines Ideas of Changing Charity Rules

The Senate Finance Committee is reviewing specific questions around charity rules highlighted in their recent report released June 14. For example, one question under scrutiny is around taxation of commercial activities that tax-exempt organizations conduct.
Posted on: July 8, 2013
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IRS Expedites 501(c)(4) Applications Caught in Backlog

In other IRS news last month, the IRS is offering new streamlined option for certain 501(c)(4) groups caught in application backlog. The option will provide certain groups an approved determination letter granting them 501(c)(4) status within two weeks if they certify they devote 60 percent or more of both their spending and time on activities that promote social welfare as defined by Section 501(c)(4). At the same time, they must certify that political campaign intervention involves 40 percent or less of both their spending and time.
Posted on: July 8, 2013
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IRS Outlines Action Plan in Wake of Scandal

The IRS on Monday, June 24 issued a report entitled Charting the Path Forward at the IRS: An Initial Assessment and Plan of Action. The report outlines new actions and next steps planned to fix problems uncovered with the IRS' review of applications for tax exempt status and improve wider processes and operations in place at the IRS.
Posted on: July 8, 2013
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North Carolina Legislation to Cap Nonprofit Salaries

House Bill 893 has been raised by three North Carolina House representatives and could have a pivotal role in how state-funded nonprofits operate in NC. The bill would convene a commission to look into a $100,000 cap on staff salaries to those nonprofits receiving state support, as well as consideration to putting a ban on using tax dollars for staff salaries. 
Posted on: July 8, 2013
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The Overhead Myth

GuideStar, Charity Navigator, and BBB Wise Giving Alliance have denounced the “overhead ratio” as an indicator of performance.
Posted on: July 1, 2013
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Sequestration Apathy

It seems like the public at large, and perhaps much of the nonprofit sector as well, doesn’t find the sequestration budget cuts much to worry about. A fix for air traffic controllers, another one for USDA meat inspectors, and somehow the public seems willing to let the rest of the sequester’s blunt-axe approach to budget-making slide. This aricle from Nonprofit Quarterly explores a new bill being proposed.
Posted on: June 17, 2013

Obama’s FY2014 Budget: The Issues for Nonprofits

President Obama has released a proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2014 and the ideological battle of taxation and spending is now joined in something close to what Congress calls the “regular order.” Rick Cohen of the Nonprofit Quarterly offers an analysis of what this means for the nonprofit sector.
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Posted on: April 19, 2013
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