Vote November 3

by Linda M. Czipo

While most of the news media coverage has been largely (dare I say overly?) focused on the presidential election that’s over a year away, New Jersey has an important election taking place next week. This post is a plea to put aside the presidential hype for a few days and focus on an election much closer to home.Nonprofit Votes Count

On November 3, New Jerseyans will go to the polls to elect all 80 members of the General Assembly as well as hundreds of local township officials, board of education representatives and more.

Why should you care more about this – at least right now – than the 2016 race for the highest elected office in the country? Simple: because state and local representatives enact far more legislation than our leaders do in Washington, and these actions affect your everyday life.

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“Who Has the Time?” And Other Questions on Nonprofit Advocacy

By David L. Thompson  David L. Thompson

A nationally prominent nonprofit leader recently said this to an audience of people from public charities and private foundations: “Nonprofits have a duty to advocate on behalf of the people who have no voice, to demand social justice.” Many in the audience nodded in agreement; others waited politely for him to get past his warm-up comments to get to something they hadn’t heard before. One audience member was heard muttering under her breath, “yeah, but who has the time?”

To many of us, the “nonprofits ought to advocate” message, as delivered by the above leader and many others, is a mantra without meaning. Everyone says it – preaches it, actually – but not enough embrace advocacy as core to advancing their missions.

This is an article about nonprofit advocacy: not the “ought-to” variety, but instead, offering one powerful example of two bedrock principles that make the case for “everyday advocacy,” which virtually all of us are already doing.

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Non-Profits and Tax Policy: Not a One-Sided Equation

By Linda M. Czipo

Recently, the Star-Ledger ran an opinion column by a prominent Rutgers University faculty member regarding the changing tax policy landscape for tax-exempt organizations and calling for a variety of reforms to address the problems identified by the author.

Presumably, a major impetus (but not the only one) behind this piece is the recent debate surrounding the property tax exemptions of New Jersey’s largest hospitals and universities.

Perhaps I might have been less dismayed by the article had it focused more specifically on the pros and cons of tax exemption for these mega-institutions (or, for that matter, of providing tax incentives to large for-profit corporations for locating within particular municipalities). But as written, the column contains a number of sweeping generalities and misleading and inaccurate statements regarding the entire non-profit community that cannot go unanswered.

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First things first: What should everyone know about New Jersey non-profits?

By Linda M. Czipo

At long last, after a period of good intentions and a couple of false starts, the big moment has arrived: our first Center for Non-Profits blog! Although I’ve been privileged to guest post on the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation blog on topics from non-profit trends to property taxes and federal grant and contract guidelines, launching the Center’s own blog has taken longer. For me, it’s like exercising regularly – the hardest part is getting started (still working on that one).

Considering a topic for our first post, I remembered a question I was asked during a recent Live from Trenton podcast: what are the most important things the public should know about New Jersey non-profits?

Here’s my starting list – and I hope you’ll chime in with your additions:

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