Condemning Racism: A Statement from the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers and the Center for Non-Profits

Logos of the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers and the Center for Non-Profits

by the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers and the Center for Non-Profits

As the leaders of the major philanthropic and non-profit membership organizations in New Jersey, representing both the wide range of non-profit groups and the multi-faceted funders of those groups, we feel compelled to speak out against the hateful responses we and our members have witnessed in reaction to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Our country has seen countless examples of selfless sacrifice and good works over the past month, both on individual and institutional levels. We are proud that our members have been leaders in responding to the needs of our community.

But, to our distress, some individuals have used the pandemic to put forward their bias and hatred toward their fellow human beings. 

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Conferences: Nonprofit Professional Development Pillars

Paulina Alvarado-Goldman

by Paulina Alvarado-Goldman

Nonprofit Professional Development Pillars
“In order for nonprofit professional development opportunities to be strategically optimized, they have to link skill-building with actionable steps that transform practices.”

Nonprofit professional development opportunities for staff members are often unaffordable for some nonprofits. Attending strategically aligned conferences is one cost-effective way to enhance the skill sets of employees and raise awareness about current trends in the nonprofit field.

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Why Everyone Must Count in 2020

by Peter Chen

Although April 2020 seems far away, communities need to start planning now for the 2020 Census. Communities that are not fully counted in 2020 will miss out for the next ten years. This is the time to get involved.

United States Census 2020 logo, 2020census.gov

New Jersey stands to lose billions in federal funding, including support for critical programs such as children’s health insurance, school funding, school lunch and breakfast programs, Head Start, highway funding, college scholarships, and housing programs. For a list of programs affected by Census counts, see here

As one of the nation’s most diverse states, New Jersey is at particular risk for an undercount. Residents who are part of a racial or ethnic minority, who rent their home, who are immigrants, or who are children under 5 are at high risk of being missed.

How can you help?

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Trends for New Jersey Non-Profits to Watch in 2019

by Linda M. Czipo

Roller Coaster

Congratulations, New Jersey non-profits! We made it through another year. For many of us, 2018 was marked by ups and downs, a mix of significant impact and accomplishment amid a dizzying array of relentless challenges.

A new year brings anticipation, trepidation, optimism and resolve – and the irresistible temptation to predict what lies ahead for the next 12 months. Here are just a few of the trends and issues we’re watching for the coming year. I hope you’ll chime in with yours.

With uncertainty now the norm on many levels, another wild roller coaster ride is in the offing, so buckle up.

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Looking for Collective Stories in Black History Month

by Sean Thomas-Breitfeld

[As Black History Month draws to a close, we would like to share this thought-provoking piece from our 2017 conference morning speaker, Sean Thomas-Breitfeld, co-director of Building Movement Project.  It originally ran in 2014 and is reprinted with permission.]

Sean Thomas-Breitfeld
Sean Thomas-Breitfeld

This past week, an article about Black History Month by Theodore Johnson in The Atlantic really moved me. Johnson writes that our focus on historical icons makes this month of celebration too disconnected from people’s everyday experience. I share his concern on a personal level but as someone with a particular focus on organizations, I also worry that our tendency to present Black history through the lens of “extraordinary human beings” obscures the importance of groups of regular people coming together, creating community and establishing the infrastructure needed to not just make change but defend and sustain it. There’s another way to tell our history and understand progress – through the lens of collective stories, shared leadership, and the slow, steady march toward justice.

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The New Federal Tax Law and New Jersey Non-Profits

by Linda M. Czipo

IRS Form 1040 2017The new tax law, the measure formerly known as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” represents the most comprehensive overhaul of the federal tax system in decades. Although the full impact of the law is still unfolding, most of the law’s provisions are effective as of January 1, 2018, so non-profits need to take steps now to understand and adapt to the changes. Following is a discussion of some of the key elements of the law affecting 501(c)(3) organizations, as well as some elements that did not make it into the final statute.

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2017 NJ Non-Profit Survey: Rising Demand, Resource Gaps, and Opportunities

by Linda M. Czipo

TNJ Non-Profits 2017: Trends and Outlook Cover Thumbnailhe Center for Non-Profits has been surveying the New Jersey non-profit community at least annually since 2001 to gauge the effects of the economy, funding and programmatic trends, and other issues in our field. This year’s report, New Jersey Non-Profits 2017: Trends and Outlook, based on the responses from 300 organizations, reveals familiar themes as well as some new concerns and opportunities.

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President’s “Free Speech and Religious Liberty” Executive Order is a Lose-Lose for Everyone

by Linda M Czipo

The White House - Photo © Ad Meskens / Wikimedia Commons
Photo © Ad Meskens / Wikimedia Commons

On May 4, President Trump signed an Executive Order declaring the executive branch’s goal to “vigorously enforce Federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom.” Of particular interest to the broad-based charitable community is a provision that purports to make it easier for religious institutions to engage in partisan political speech and electioneering – activities that are prohibited for 501(c)(3) organizations under the “Johnson Amendment.” (Another provision concerns whether insurance companies must cover contraception for individuals if their employers opt out for religious reasons.)

The Center for Non-Profits, the National Council of Nonprofits, hundreds of other national non-profit and faith leaders, and nearly 4500 organizations across the country (including 174 in New Jersey) have come out strongly and repeatedly against weakening the Johnson Amendment, which the President vowed on the campaign trail and in his first weeks in office to “totally destroy.”

The President’s Executive Order is likely to face legal challenges from a variety of organizations, some of which reportedly are already in the process of preparing their legal filings. But in the meantime, what does it actually say, and what does it mean for 501(c)(3) organizations? Arguably, it says and means both nothing and everything simultaneously.

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Don’t Weaken the Existing Ban on Electioneering by 501(c)(3) Organizations

Proposed “Johnson Amendment” repeal would harm 501(c)(3)s 

U.S. Capitol
U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC

by Linda M. Czipo

Since 1954, tax law has contained a provision prohibiting 501(c)(3) organizations from directly or indirectly attempting to influence the election or defeat of any candidate for public office. This ban, also known as the Johnson Amendment for its sponsor, then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, applies not only to churches, but to all 501(c)(3) organizations.

During the February 2, 2017, National Prayer Breakfast, President Trump renewed his call for a repeal of the 62-year-old ban, and several different bills have been introduced in Congress to weaken or completely repeal it. The Center for Non-Profits strongly opposes repeal and supports preserving the current law.

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Post-Election Thoughts: Looking Back and Moving Forward

by Linda M. Czipo

In the wake of last week’s 2016 presidential election, there is clearly a high degree of uncertainty, speculation and concern across the country. It would be foolish and presumptuous of me to pretend to have any great wisdom to offer as we embark on this new chapter. But like most everyone else, I’ve certainly given it a lot of deliberation. So I humbly offer a few thoughts, some professional and some personal, as we move forward – with advance apologies that this might be a little disjointed.

On the professional:

The work that non-profits do remains more important than ever.
Non-profits are often the backbone of communities, providing programs and services that make communities good places to visit, live and work; employing members of the community; and providing training and education that helps people find and keep jobs. Non-profits are also often the first, last or only source of help for people in distress.

We’ll know more in the coming weeks as appointments and proposed policies take shape, but one thing is certain: the people that rely on us need our voices, our advocacy, our programs and our protection. This was the case before November 8, and it’s just as true now.

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