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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.