Public Policy Platform

Nonprofit New York’s public policy agenda is based on our Declaration of Nonprofit Rights. In order to ensure the nonprofit sector’s continued vibrancy, strength and capacity, Nonprofit New York will protect, uphold and sustain the following four principles: 1) we have the right sustainable resources and a responsibility to serve our communities well, 2) we have a right to engage in advocacy and a responsibility to share our expertise, 3) we have a right to be fairly treated as a workforce and a responsibility to champion equity, and 4) we have a right to be powerful forces of change and a responsibility to advance the future of all communities.

City 2021 Nonprofit Agenda

Nonprofit New York is currently working on a City-level nonprofit public policy agenda to prepare for the significant turnover in city elected-positions. We will release our platform in early 2021.

A Place at the Table
Nonprofit New York’s ongoing city-focused campaign is A Place at the Table campaign. The A Place at the Table campaign seeks to reduce barriers for nonprofits to engage in legislative advocacy. Nonprofits often represent the needs of our communities, but fewer than 3% of nonprofits engage in legislative advocacy. In November 2020, Councilmember Cabrera introduced Int. 2148, which would raise the City's "lobbying threshold” to $10,000. Raising the City lobbying threshold would reduce the administrative barrier for many grassroots nonprofits to engage in legislative advocacy.

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State Legislative Session 2021

Remove burdensome tax filing and protect nonpartisan donor privacy
In 2020, New York State became the only state to require 501(c)(3)s to file their 990 tax filings with both the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau and the Department of State. Further, the Department of State does not have privacy protocols in place to to ensure the constitutionally protected personal and private data such as names, addresses and telephone numbers of those who contribute to 501(c)(3) nonprofits are protected from unnecessary disclosure (as reported on Schedule B of Form 990). Nonprofit New York supports A11154 (Paulin), which would remove the double-reporting obligation the the Department of State of organizations registered with the Charities Bureau and ensure the constitutionally protected personal and private data such as names, addresses and telephone numbers of those who contribute to 501(c)(3) nonprofits are protected from unnecessary disclosure.

Raise the “lobbying threshold”
Nonprofit New york seeks to increase the state lobbying threshold to $10,000 to encourage more grassroots nonprofit organizations to engage in legislative advocacy, through the A Place at the Table campaign. New York State’s “lobbying threshold” is $5,000. This means if an organization spends $5,000 in a year doing legislative advocacy, they must register as a lobbyist. Nonprofits often represent the needs of our communities, but many nonprofits do not do legislative advocacy. Fewer than 3% of nonprofits engage in legislative advocacy, which can create the change we want to see. Raising the threshold will encourage more nonprofit advocacy and alleviate the administrative burden placed on grassroots organizations’ advocacy. Legislative advocacy rules are complicated and burdensome, and nonprofits are the most tightly regulated of all sectors that lobby. Reporting lobbying activity can be expensive - big lobbyists spend upwards of $500 a month on reporting alone. Small nonprofits simply can’t afford that.

State Revenue Raisers
New York faces one of the most significant financial challenges in its history. With a $13 billion deficit and Congress’s failure to pass a stimulus package that provides aid to states and localities, New York must consider all options to prevent austerity cuts that will devastate New York communities and cause lasting harm to the nonprofits that serve them. Nonprofit New York supports the following revenue generating legislative options for the State:

  • Progressive taxation
  • Pied à Terre tax, preferred equity tax, and 421-a reforms
  • Wealth instrument revenues
  • Increase borrowing authority
  • Reforming aid to be more equitable
  • Sales tax reform
  • Center equity in revenue options

Read our full statement and sign on in support.

Rent Relief
Nonprofit New York supports both residential and commercial rent relief efforts. As the state considers rent and occupancy relief bills during the COVID-19 crisis and other public emergencies, we as nonprofits recommend rent and occupancy relief include:

  • Meaningful rent forgiveness, particularly for organizations shut down with reduced operating revenue or insurance coverage and individuals with no income (especially immigrant families who have been excluded from federal relief efforts thus far)
  • Rent relief for all apartment types including: basement apartments and accessory dwelling units common in New York City
  • Reimbursement for loss of rental income for nonprofit building owners (e.g. affordable and supportive housing providers, settlement houses and cultural institutions who rent space to other organizations)
  • Resources for administration, clear guidance, and dedicated staff at State agencies
  • Resources for communities without access to information, translation, and technology, such as designated navigators to assist with applying for relief
  • Streamlined verification; for determinations of hardship, tenants should request a waiver with minimal burden of proof that landlords then use to apply for state relief
  • Relief for workers in cash-based economies, gig workers, and undocumented workers

Nonprofit New York supports the Save Our Storefronts bill (S8865), and recommends nonprofits be exempt from the 25 employee threshold; all nonprofits should be eligible for rent relief.
Nonprofit New York supports A10387(Epstein)/S08473(Hoylman), and recommends nonprofits be exempt from the 100 staff threshold; all nonprofits should be eligible for eviction protections within this bill.

Expanded Business Interruption Insurance to Cover Pandemic Losses
Nonprofits have experienced significant revenue losses, layoffs, and closures due to COVID-19, particularly nonprofits heavily reliant on revenue-generating events and fundraisers, nonprofits with fee-for-service contracts reimbursed for the number of people or units served, and community development corporations who generate revenue from rent. Most nonprofits with general liability or commercial property insurance have very limited business interruption coverage. Unlike for-profit entities, most nonprofits are not well-versed in insurance coverage negotiations and do not have weighty insurance brokers advocating for our interests. Accordingly, without specific legislative intervention, nonprofits are unlikely to receive coverage under business interruption insurance for any COVID-19 related losses. Nonprofit New York supports state legislation that would allow business interruption claims to be filed for losses sustained as a result of COVID-19 and future pandemics.

Federal 117th Congress (2021)

COVID relief and stimulus
Throughout 2020 Nonprofit New York worked closely with the New York Congressional Delegation and advocated for nonprofit inclusion in federal COVID-19 relief efforts. Our current recommendations for nonprofit inclusion in COVID federal relief include:

  • Extend the Coronavirus Relief Fund through the end of 2021.
  • Provide 100% coverage of unemployment costs of reimbursing nonprofits and extend the relief into 2021.
  • Enable nonprofits with more than 500 staff to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for the first time and include nonprofits in a second round of PPP loans.
  • Extend and expand the Employee Retention Tax Credit that expires on 12/31/2020.
  • Include improvements from S. 4032/H.R. 7324 to the above-the-line charitable deduction in COVID relief and extend the giving incentive to 2021. The expanded “above the line” giving by $300 for 2020 does not go far enough to encourage charitable giving for organizations heavily dependent on individual donors.
  • Include funding for New York's $15B budget deficit. New York’s significant decline in revenue has caused the state to withhold at least 20% of payments to nonprofit contractors and local governments, causing layoffs, financial strain, reduction in much needed services, and organizational closures.
  • Provide relief for all New Yorkers regardless of immigration status, including undocumented immigrants, DACA and TPS recipients, as well as mixed-status families.

Pandemic Risk Insurance Act
The nonprofit sector supports a federal solution to COVID-19 and future pandemics. The fragmented and inefficient approach the United States has taken to COVID-19 has been incredibly detrimental to our sector. We emphatically support a centralized solution, just like the risk of terrorism. Nonprofit New York, strongly supports H.R. 7011, the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2020 (PRIA), which would create the Pandemic Risk Reinsurance Program, a system of shared public and private compensation for business interruption losses resulting from pandemics, including COVID-19, or public health emergencies.