Statement on Lexington Urban County Council’s Vote and Urgent Need for Congress to Act Now on Relief for Nonprofits

Yesterday’s unanimous vote by the Lexington Urban County Council to restore funding cuts proposed by the mayor for the city’s Extended Social Resource (ESR) grant program reflects an appreciation for the critical role nonprofit organizations play in serving each of us and our neighbors through partnerships with the city. The vote also reflects a growing understanding of the critical role nonprofits play in our economy – employing over 20,000 citizens in the Lexington community and generating over $1 billion in annual wages.

This roller coaster ride of proposed cuts, a city led “fundraising” campaign for selected nonprofits, confusion around any role that CARES Act reimbursements to the city might play, and more were unfortunate and unnecessary distractions for the impacted nonprofits, as well as for the nonprofit allies who were not directly impacted yet took time to speak out because they understood the ripple effect this would have on Lexington.

Nonprofits are on the front lines of serving our neighbors during COVID-19 and will be critical to thriving communities in recovery. As one Council Member stated during the debate to restore the proposed cuts: “We are attempting to shift the city’s uncertainty to those who can least bear it – the nonprofits who are needed most by our community.”

 This is the first time KNN has ever engaged in local public policy efforts. We felt compelled to work with our Lexington colleagues because the potential cuts and belief that private philanthropy could fill the gaps set a dangerous precedent in Kentucky and beyond.

Now that the dust has settled, funding is restored and the grant proposals will be reviewed, we share this example with Kentucky’s federal delegation and urge them to act now on bipartisan solutions important to all charitable nonprofits, as well as the critical need for local and state government funding. Nonprofits and the people we serve simply cannot afford a partisan standoff. We need Kentucky’s delegation to urge Congress to act now so that we don’t see Lexington’s crisis play out in communities across Kentucky.

Nonprofits are encouraged to sign on to our call for Kentucky’s delegation to act now.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

COVID-19: What Kentucky Nonprofits Need to Know about Coronavirus

Over the past few weeks, coverage of COVID-19 (coronavirus) has dominated the news cycle.  While the world has responded with swift mobilization, it is difficult to plan for the effect an outbreak could have on your community.  Thankfully, infectious disease experts have developed advise on how to prepare for an outbreak, both personally and in the workplace.

As new information emerges, nonprofits have an important leadership role.  You are tasked with your personal health, the health of your team and your role in serving the community effectively.  KNN will continue to curate the latest resources to help you stay safe and meet your mission.

What YOU need to know about Coronavirus/COVID-19:

Symptoms

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.*

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Protecting Yourself

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

How might the Coronavirus outbreak affect nonprofits in Kentucky?

While there are currently no reported cases in Kentucky, nonprofits should prepare for a wide range of impacts, including:

  • staff and volunteer absences,
  • disruption of services to your clients and communities,
  • disruption of supplies or services provided by your partners,
  • cancellation of programs or events offered for your clients and communities,
  • cancellation of fundraising events and corresponding reduced revenue,
  • increased demand for services/support from your clients and communities,
  • budgetary implications related to strains on the economy. Since nonprofits often operate in a marginal financial position, these sorts of impacts are difficult to absorb.

So, what specifically can your organization do to prepare?

Communicate with Your Staff, Clients, Volunteers, and Visitors:

  • Talk with your team at a staff meeting. Reassure your team that you care about their health and safety. Let others know that you will be watching for recommendations from public health officials about whether you need to make any changes to how you do your work or deliver programs.
  • Remind employees of your organization’s policies related to illness and sick leave (and recommit to following them yourself!).
  • Review some basic tips about hand washing, cleaning frequently touched surfaces, reminders about self-care to stay healthy, and not coming to work if you are sick. You may wish to discuss how to manage work if some team members become ill and can’t come to work. Be mindful that different members of your team may have special concerns or feel different levels of threat based on their life circumstances (ex. some may have elderly or ill family members, past experiences with infectious diseases, plans to take personal travel that might be affected, etc.)
  • Place posters that encourage staying home when sickcough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
  • Hang “Stop the Spread of Germs” posters from the CDC in EnglishSpanish, and/or Simplified Chinese.
  • Share and post infographics like this one from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.
  • Be aware that some Asian Americans have been experiencing increased racism. Leaders should be prepared to recognize, respond to and prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace. Do not make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin, and be sure to maintain confidentiality regarding the health of specific employees. Speak out if you see this happening. (Seattle & King County Public Health in Washington developed a great infographic about this!
  • Encourage workplace destressing activities. It’s no secret that stress lowers immunity. Stress can hit your team members, volunteers, and leaders from a variety of sources. Worrying about the risk of an outbreak touching close to home has added another external stressor. Combating stress is important under even normal conditions, but even more so when the risk of exposure is increased. Encourage staff members to engage in workplace destressing activities. Simple ideas from the Nonprofit Risk Management Center include:
    • Organize a lunchtime walking group to enjoy the spring air. Even brief exercise lifts the mood and reduces stress!
    • Encourage managers to maintain an open-door policy. Transparency and open lines of communication give employees the security to ask questions and voice concerns about what’s going on in the workplace.
    • Promote short breaks as needed and the importance of taking lunch. Employees can get wrapped up in projects and lose track of time. A coffee break, some brief socialization, and lunch away from your desk will clear your head and re-energize the team to get back to the mission!
  • Know your rights as an employer. Keeping your workforce healthy is likely top of mind. Still, you may worry about the risks of approaching health-related issues with your employees. The EEOC reminds employers that it is well within their rights to encourage or require employees who are experiencing flu-like symptoms during a pandemic to leave the workplace.

Review and update policies & procedures:

  • The policies you have in place may depend on the nature of your work, but everyone can benefit from planning a response. This should include having the right supplies, training, and procedures in place to protect your employees.
  • Review your policies related to illness and sick leave to ensure your policies and practices are consistent with public health recommendations and are consistent with existing state and federal workplace laws. Note that policymakers and state departments may update policies related to sick leave to respond to emerging public health recommendations.
  • Make it easy for people to practice good hygiene by providing tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles and placing alcohol-based hand rubs in multiple places in common spaces, such as conference rooms.
  • Prepare for the possibility of increased numbers of employee absences due to illness, caregiving responsibilities, school closures, etc. Does your nonprofit have the policies (and technology) in place to support remote work so that when appropriate, employees can get what they need done at home? Is there documentation that could be updated or cross-training that could be done in the event of key staff members being absent?
  • Develop a plan for communicating with your employees in a rapidly changing environment. For example, how will employees be updated if a policy is revised to align with new recommendations? Or in an emergency situation, such as the office needing to be closed?
  • Find more recommendations in the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease, which includes recommendations and considerations for creating an infectious disease outbreak response plan.

Bring a Risk-Assessment Lens to Your Event and Program Planning:

Should you move forward with planning that fundraising gala? Should you cancel that community event? Travel for that conference? Right now, the guidance is to proceed with common sense caution, but here are some things to think about and resources to review:

What if There is a Confirmed Case of COVID-19 at Work?

  • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
  • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

Other links, resources, and reminders:

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Will Kentucky continue to thrive?  It depends on the 2020 Census.

While April 1, 2020 seems a long way off, much is at stake to be sure the commonwealth receives its fair share of federal dollars for programs that use census-derived data. Kentucky is at high risk to undercount our population, which would mean a devastating loss of federal funding – our tax dollars returned to the commonwealth – for needed infrastructure improvements for roads and bridges, services for our most vulnerable Kentuckians and investments in programs that educate our children and strengthen families.

With so much at stake for all Kentuckians, the Count Me In KY 2020 Nonprofit Coalition encourages all nonprofit organizations to look for simple ways to help ensure a complete census count.  And we encourage all communities and residents to be counted.  Kentucky simply cannot afford to leave money on the table.

Required by our constitution, the census is performed every 10 years to not only count our country’s population, it also helps determine state populations that inform congressional representation and federal funding that comes to Kentucky.  The constitution requires that all persons residing in Kentucky be counted.

Infrastructure funding for roads and bridges is determined by census-derived data, as are many statewide programs including health coverage (Medicare Part B, CHIP and Medicaid); nutrition assistance (SNAP/WIC and school meals); education (Head Start, Title I and student loans and grants); housing (Section 8 and housing loans); and critical programs for children (foster care, adoption assistance and child care).  Kentucky receives approximately $15.8 billion per year in funding for 55 of the more than 300 federal programs using census data.

These allocations account for at least $2,021 per Kentuckian.  An undercount of just 1 percent of our population, or about 45,000 people, would cost Kentucky almost $91 million a year – and Kentucky would experience this loss for ten years. During the 2010 census, 12,568 children under the age of five went uncounted.  This undercount cost the commonwealth and our local communities over $12 million per year from just five of the many federally funded programs that exist to strengthen children and families.

In addition to children, other hard-to-count populations exist, such as transient families or individuals without a stable place to live, people living in poverty, the elderly, multi-family households, immigrants and rural communities. And with much of the census being conducted online in 2020, individuals who are distrustful of a count or reluctant to complete it online will need incentives to be counted.

An accurate count is also important to protecting Kentucky’s representation in Congress.  Kentucky lost a seat after the 1990 census and our current delegation of six representatives could be adversely affected by an undercount (or possibly positively affected depending on the count).  Census data is also used to determine Kentucky’s number of electoral college votes, as well as districts for state and local government.

Unfortunately, Kentucky has not appropriated any money for census outreach. Other states, including our neighbors in Virginia and friends in Georgia, are investing significant dollars to ensure an accurate census.  Regardless, outreach to secure a complete count must be done to avoid the devastating impact local communities would experience should Kentucky undercount our residents in 2020.

Kentucky Nonprofit Network and partners from across the Commonwealth formed the Count Me In 2020 KY Nonprofit Coalition to encourage nonprofits in all Kentucky communities to engage in simple census outreach that encourages their stakeholders to be counted.  Nonprofits are in a unique position to assist in helping secure a complete count because the thousands of organizations across Kentucky come into contact with these typically hard-to-count residents on a regular basis. Nonprofits also understand more than most that cities and counties will look to our sector to meet the needs of citizens in the event of funding cuts to programs based on census-derived data.

Resources to help nonprofits engage, including webinar recordings and a current list of complete count committees where they can work with others in their community or launch a community effort themselves is available at www.kynonprofits.org/census2020.  As we approach April 1, additional information and resources for nonprofits will continue to be posted to this site.

Kentucky cannot afford to procrastinate. Data from the 2020 Census will have long-term implications for Kentucky in the next decade. Each of us can play an active role in census outreach to help ensure an accurate count. We urge nonprofits and all Kentuckians to come together to prepare now to make sure every resident is counted in 2020.

More information about the Count Me In KY Nonprofit Coalition can be found at www.kynonprofits.org/census2020 or via email: countmeinky2020@kynonprofits.org.

Signed by member of the Count Me In 2020 KY Nonprofit Coalition:

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Statement on the General Assembly’s Passage of a Legislative Solution to the Sales Tax Issue Facing Nonprofits

Kentucky Nonprofit Network CEO, Danielle Clore, issues statement on passage of the Free Conference Committee Report to House Bill 354.

Kentucky’s nonprofit organizations have moved a critical step closer to relief from the burden of collecting and remitting sales tax on admissions to their events and on items sold for fundraising purposes. The passage of the Free Conference Committee Report to House Bill 354 by the Kentucky General Assembly lifts and clarifies sales tax requirements and allows Kentucky’s nonprofit organizations to focus on what they do best – serve Kentucky communities. The bill now heads to Governor Bevin’s desk for signature.

As employers of one in eleven Kentuckians, nonprofit organizations are essential to Kentucky’s quality of life – the kind of quality of life that makes businesses want to operate in Kentucky. Nonprofits are also often vital partners with the Commonwealth to deliver programs and services the state is obligated to provide.

When nonprofits are hurting, the Kentuckians they serve are hurting. We appreciate the General Assembly’s recognition of the vital work of our nonprofit sector. This legislative solution provides much-needed relief by ensuring that the funds donated to the commonwealth’s charities will stay with the charities — investing in their vital work to address critical issues and strengthen our communities.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Statement on BR 76, A Tax Exemption Bill on Admission Ticket Purchases

Kentucky Nonprofit Network Executive Director/CEO Danielle Clore issued the following statement in response to the prefiled bill.

The recent Kentucky Supreme Court ruling, combined with the 2018 tax reform legislation have created a truly unfortunate distraction for the thousands of nonprofit organizations working to enhance the quality of life for Kentuckians.  Organizations statewide are spending precious resources of time and money trying to understand the new laws, determine how the changes impact them and then adjust their business practices to comply, if required.  The administrative burden and potential impact on the individual donations that are essential to their missions is enormous.

We are pleased that Speaker Pro Tempore Osborne and other members of the Kentucky General Assembly agree that addressing this problem as soon as possible is imperative.  Kentucky Nonprofit Network is actively drafting a legislative solution that helps nonprofits remain focused on what they do best – strengthen communities. We look forward to working with them.

# # #

Kentucky Nonprofit Network (KNN) is Kentucky’s state association of nonprofits. Founded in 2002, KNN provides a unified public policy voice, sharing of best practices and resources, and time and money-saving member benefits to advance Kentucky’s nonprofit community.

Contact: Danielle Clore | danielle@kynonprofits.org | http://www.kynonprofits.org

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Statement on Governor Bevin’s Budget Proposal

Kentucky Nonprofit Network Executive Director/CEO Danielle Clore issued the following statement in response to the release of Governor Bevin’s budget proposal:

Nonprofit organizations are at risk, which means Kentuckians are at risk.

In his budget proposal, Governor Matt Bevin recommends investments to combat Kentucky’s opioid crisis, improve child protection and the foster care system and other programs, which would be important steps to building a stronger Kentucky. He also proposes budget cuts of 6.25 percent and the elimination of 70 programs, which will result in more Kentuckians turning to charitable nonprofits for assistance. Combine that with further significant budget cuts coming from the federal level and the projected loss of millions of dollars in charitable contributions as a result of the new federal tax law. Add on new demands on nonprofits to accommodate, manage and verify service hours for thousands of Kentuckians needing to meet new requirements for Kentucky HEALTH eligibility, the 1115 Medicaid waiver approved last week. This all has the makings of a perfect storm bearing down on the nonprofits that serve every community from Paducah to Pikeville.

When nonprofit organizations face these competing forces of increased demand and decreased resources, that perfect storm hurts the most vulnerable Kentuckians who rely on nonprofits for vital services. Left in the wake of the storm are reduced service hours and waitlists. And that perfect storm could force some nonprofits to close their doors, leaving our friends, families, and neighbors without meals, adequate shelter, health services, crisis counseling, job training, quality child care, educational opportunities and other assistance.

We know that Governor Bevin shares the commitment of nonprofits organizations to a quality of life in Kentucky that makes our Commonwealth an attractive place for businesses to set up shop. Quality of life is what nonprofits do. It’s why we exist. We know that investments in education, health care, workforce development, the environment and the arts build a better economy that is critical to creating vibrant communities that bring jobs to Kentucky. Accounting for nine percent of Kentucky’s wages and employing over nine percent of our state’s workforce, nonprofit organizations are also an economic engine vital to the kind of Commonwealth Governor Bevin says he envisions.

Kentucky Nonprofit Network hopes to work with the Bevin Administration to ensure that Kentuckians seeking to meet the new Kentucky HEALTH eligibility requirements and the nonprofits that welcome them will both benefit. To do this, we must work together to make certain those organizations have the capacity and support to effectively accommodate the individuals who must satisfy community engagement requirements to receive basic health care.

We call on the Governor and members of the General Assembly to take a balanced approach to getting Kentucky’s fiscal house in order. Kentucky cannot cut its way to prosperity. We agree that new revenue is essential and urge tax modernization sooner rather than later.

Nonprofits are committed partners and proven problem-solvers. Let’s work together to create a better future for all Kentuckians.

###

Kentucky Nonprofit Network (KNN) is Kentucky’s state association of nonprofits. Founded in 2002, KNN provides quality education, sharing of best practices and resources, time and money-saving member benefits and a unified public policy voice to advance Kentucky’s nonprofit community because nonprofits are essential to vibrant communities.

Contact: Danielle Clore | danielle@kynonprofits.org | http://www.kynonprofits.org

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Politicians Should Look Elsewhere for Endorsements and Campaign Contributions

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. For more than 60 years, the Johnson Amendment has successfully protected the charities serving you, me and our communities as a safe space free to advance our missions without the rancor of partisan politics.  The law, proposed by Senator Lyndon Johnson and signed into law by President Eisenhower in 1954, prohibits churches and other charitable nonprofits and foundations from endorsing political candidates.

Some in Congress and the Trump Administration want to repeal or weaken the protections in the law. This change would allow preachers to endorse political candidates from the pulpit, but the impact and consequences go much further.  That is why we, along with the vast majority of congregations, charitable nonprofits and foundations, strongly oppose efforts to change the law – endorsing or contributing to candidates, even if by only a few organizations, would destroy the nonpartisanship necessary for nonprofits to effectively solve problems in our communities.

Watering down or repealing the Johnson Amendment matters to all Kentuckians. When the nonprofit sector is damaged, the people we serve suffer most. For nonprofits to be safe places where people of all parties join forces to enhance the quality of life for all Kentuckians, we need your support.

The current protection applies to all 501 (c)(3) charitable nonprofits – including the homeless shelter, child care center, animal rescue organization, art museum, veteran’s aid organization, nonprofit hospital, and your congregation. Your favorite causes would be affected, and partisanship would harm each one.

Your donations to charitable nonprofits are investments in solving community problems and caring for Kentucky’s citizens. The public’s trust is vital to supporting these investments. Allowing people to make tax-deductible contributions to groups who endorse or oppose candidates would erode the integrity of the nonprofit sector. It is in everyone’s interest to keep dark money out of charitable nonprofits and congregations.

Protecting the Johnson Amendment isn’t a free speech issue – advocacy and candidate endorsement are not the same.  Protecting the Johnson Amendment isn’t a religious issue – the implications reach beyond the pulpit.  Protecting the Johnson Amendment is not even a partisan issue.  For more than six decades, the provision to maintain a neutral playing field has been respected and supported by both parties. While nonprofits may take public policy positions that are favored by one group of elected officials more than another group, candidate endorsement or opposition is detrimental to the neutrality and integrity of the sector.

Protecting the Johnson Amendment is common sense.  Kentucky Nonprofit Network, our commonwealth’s association of charitable nonprofits, and the Kentucky Council of Churches, representing eleven denominations, call on Kentuckians to stand with us in rejecting any effort to weaken or dismantle the Johnson Amendment. Send a loud and clear message to Washington that partisan politics have no place in charitable nonprofits and faith communities.

Danielle Clore, Executive Director/CEO
Kentucky Nonprofit Network
KNN_options

 

 

 

Rev. Dr. Peggy C. Hinds, Interim Executive Director
Kentucky Council of Churches

KCC Logo Graphic

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

An Unexpected Opportunity to Renew My Awe and Passion for Your Work

15 years. February 13 marked the 15th anniversary of the day I went to work as a professional temporary at UK to create what was originally called the UK Center for Nonprofit Management, then I became permanent staff as the work evolved to become UK’s Nonprofit Leadership Initiative and now we are the independent 501 (c) 3, Kentucky Nonprofit Network – your state association. For the most part, 15 years has flown by – I’m sure many of you can relate. There are days that have become routine and leave me questioning, “what’s next” – for me and for KNN.  And then, there are days that serve as an important opportunity for renewal and remind me of why I am so passionate about you – Kentucky’s nonprofit sector.  I am grateful for these opportunities that remind me of why I do the work I do.  It’s you.  Your work is what inspires me.  

fullsizerender-1The afternoon following KNN’s successful 12th annual Kentucky Nonprofit Day at the Capitol, I boarded a plane to Washington DC.  Regardless of how many trips I make to Washington, I hope I never lose the feeling of awe as the monuments and Capitol come into view from my cab.  I never want to lose the incredible sense of pride I feel in my country when I visit.  I certainly never want this trip to feel “routine.”

 

I traveled to Washington DC to participate in a Charitable Giving Fly-In organized by the img_6868Charitable Giving Coalition. Along with KNN members, Guy Adams of Christian Appalachian Project and Mike Delzotti of Markey Cancer Foundation, and a few other “adopted Kentuckians,” I remained in awe of our Nation’s Capital as we met with Kentucky’s members of Congress and their staff.
fullsizerender.jpg I even ran into KNN members lobbing on behalf of the Affordable Care Act at Senator Mitch McConnell’s office – Emily Beauregard of Kentucky Voices for Health and Cara Stewart of Kentucky Equal Justice Center.

Our small, but mighty crew traveled from meeting to meeting – eight stops in only one day.  But I wasn’t tired.  I became more energized with each meeting.  I was renewed not only because we were urging Congress to expand the charitable giving tax deduction to increase philanthropic investments critical to our sector, but because we were also sharing important stories about the value of your work. Eyes were opened, brows furrowed in surprise and notes were being taken as I talked about the economic importance of Kentucky’s nonprofit sector – employing one in nine Kentuckians.  Heads were nodding in agreement as Guy and Mike shared their respective missions – how fighting poverty and conducting ground-breaking cancer research are essential to improving the quality of life in Kentucky.  It was a powerful day.  I realized my awe had shifted from the grandeur of Capitol Hill to renewed awe in our sector and an important reminder of my sincere passion for helping KNN members tell their stories. 

As the day wrapped up and the sun began to set, fatigue finally set in.  My awe, renewed passion and fuel had nearly run out.  Instead of taking advantage of the subway to hit a few of my favorite shopping spots before my late flight, I instead went to the airport to relax for a few hours (for those who know my love of shopping, I know – shocking).  I’m certainly glad I did because I got to have dinner with

img_6881Rep. John Yarmuth at the airport.   I promised not to bother him when he sat down, yet he wanted to know why I was in Washington and was eager to learn of the issues facing Kentucky nonprofits. Another opportunity to share the story of our sector and I was energized again!
 

 What could have been a routine trip to Washington, originally filled with awe for our Nation’s Capitol, became an unexpected opportunity to renew my awe and passion for your work.  Yes, I achieved my goal of successfully communicating the importance of charitable giving and made important connections with Congress members and staff that will be critical in the months ahead.  But I gained so much more – exactly what I needed on my 15th work anniversary.  I suspect many of you often hit this spot, personally or professionally, where you need to reconnect with your passion – why you do what you do.  If you are in this place, a spot where you need to feel awe and inspired – I hope you find what you need to keep doing your important work.  The days ahead will require all of us to be passionate about our missions and the larger nonprofit sector.      

As is outlined in our latest public policy blast, there are significant threats and opportunities at the state and federal level.  Our collective passion and unified voice is essential to advancing the sector.  I realize that for many who are fighting your own organization’s battles to protect or advance an issue, asking for your help with sector-wide issues is asking for a lot.  I promise to make it as easy as I can for you to stay engaged and updated.   

I share my little trip to Washington story with you because I hope you will find what renews your passion for your work, if you need it.  I also share this story as an opportunity to thank you.  You are the backbone of our communities.  I know you are skilled in touting the importance of your mission – but do you really take time to reflect on the power of what you are doing? The lives you are changing? The ways you are strengthening communities?  There are important stories to tell – whether they are stories about the impact of charitable giving on your mission, the reasons remaining nonpartisan is essential to your community effectiveness or how AmeriCorps is helping you serve your neighbors.  These stories deserve to be heard and now is the time to tell them.  

Your stories are why I do what I do. I hope you will take a moment to reflect on why it is you do the work you do.  And then let’s work together to lift our collective voice. It’s a privilege to stand with you.
danielles-signature-full

Executive Director/CEO

P.S.  An easy step to life your voice on an important issue – Sign on to the Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Advocacy is no longer optional

To our members – advocacy is no longer optional…

KNN has put out plenty of “calls to action” before.  We’ve asked you to join us at Kentucky Nonprofit Day at the Capitol.  We’ve asked you to email and call legislators and government officials to request support or voice opposition to legislation or policies that impacted the sector.  We’ve often urged (and sometimes begged) you to get engaged and form relationships with legislators so that, when the time comes, the sector won’t be “asking strangers for a favor.”  We’ve created tools to help you easily educate local, state and federal officials on the economic importance of the sector, as well as provided talking points on our efforts to streamline nonprofit contracts with government and update the laws governing nonprofits in Kentucky.

But my email to you today, this call to action, is different.  Why?  Because advocacy is no longer optional. Why? Here’s a short list (though not exhaustive) of issues your state association is closely monitoring:  

Efforts to Politicize Nonprofits

KNN is opposed to the repeal of the Johnson Amendment for a number of reasons (see some outlined in the articles below) – primarily because we believe remaining nonpartisan is vital to the work of nonprofits.  There’s long been confusion about what nonprofits can and cannot do with regard to lobbying and election activity.  Essentially, nonprofits (501 c 3 organizations) can (and should) take positions on issues and legislation, but cannot endorse specific candidates.  Politicians pushing nonprofits for endorsements would put nonprofits in a position that would ultimately put our missions at risk. Certainly, some of our members (some of whom are churches) may disagree, they are ready to jump in to electioneering.  But this is about more than the pulpit.  Read more on this issue…

Threats to the Charitable Giving Tax Deduction and Other Unknowns of Tax Reform

There are few things that unite nonprofits more than protection of our tax-exempt status and the charitable giving tax deduction.  As the federal tax reform process is expected to begin in the next few weeks, its predicted that tax reform plans are likely to reduce individual and corporate tax rates, cut down on the number of tax brackets, increase the standard deduction, and repeal the federal estate tax. Kentucky is expected to take up tax reform in a special legislative session.  Incentives for charitable giving will be a major topic of both discussions – proposals range from removing the deduction entirely to expanding it.  KNN supports policies that encourages charitable giving to invest in the work of nonprofits.  Read more…

Early Discussion on Federal Spending Cuts 

The federal spending plan for the remainder of this fiscal year is unclear, but details are emerging for budget proposals for FY 2018 beginning on October 1. Administration officials have suggested that the President will seek to reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years, with most of the spending cuts coming from domestic programs.  Many of the spending cuts being considered are troubling to nonprofits (and communities), including the possibility of eliminating the Department of Justice’s Violence Against Women Grants, abolishing the Legal Services Corporation, reducing funding for DOJ’s Civil Rights division, privatizing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and eliminating both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

A steep reduction in domestic spending would have significant implications for Kentucky’s budget, since a large portion of the state’s spending comes from federal appropriations and block grants. Of course, KNN will keep you posted as proposals become public.

So, what am I asking you to do?

  1. Get informed.  Read up on the issues mentioned above; know your state legislators and members of Congress – if you haven’t already, know how to contact them and the Governor; check out KNN’s 2017 public policy agenda and legislative priorities.
  2. Get engaged. Secure support of your board of directors to clarify your organization’s own public policy priorities, as well as those of the sector; register to stand with the sector on February 14 at Kentucky Nonprofit Day at the Capitol.
  3. Get others on board. Please help us strengthen the sector’s unified voice.  Reach out to a colleague of yours and ask them to stand with us – to become a KNN member, to attend Kentucky Nonprofit Day at the Capitol or both!

And if you are feeling particularly overwhelmed, you are not alone.  I urge you to join me in taking deliberate steps to take care of yourself and support your team during these uncertain times.  To stop the unending (and often upsetting) distractions throughout the work day, I tried avoiding social media and news until the end of my day.  Well, then I couldn’t sleep.  I certainly don’t have the right answer yet, but here are a few resources on staying focused and avoiding “psychological devastation in your newsfeed.”

I’m grateful we have each other.  You need us – KNN is here as your state association, to look out for the sector’s collective best interests and keep you informed.  And we need you – we can’t do this work without you.  What you are seeing and experiencing on the front lines is important – please, let us hear from you.

In summary, I know your organization has its own priorities and these may or may not include legislative or public policy priorities.  I also know you are busy and likely struggling with limited resources.  I get it – I truly do.  But make no mistake about it – the sector’s priorities must now be your priorities too.  Let’s stand together in Kentucky and with nonprofits across the nation to keep pushing ahead, to let our voice be heard and to take advantage of this critical opportunity to educate policy makers and the public on vital role and importance of the nonprofit sector.

Advocacy is no longer optional.  

danielles-signature-full

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Changes to KY’s Political Landscape

On November 8, Kentucky secured what’s being referred to as a “trifecta” – a GOP controlled House, Senate and Governor’s Office. Republicans picked up a net of 17 seats in the Kentucky House and for the first time in nearly a century, have a supermajority of 64-36 and a new speaker in Rep. Jeff Hoover.

Check out the full list of those elected in this article from CN|2.

In Kentucky’s federal races, all incumbent lawmakers were re-elected or uncontested and a new Congressman, James Comer was elected to replace retiring U.S. Representative Ed Whitfield.

By most accounts, Kentucky’s landslide results and Donald J. Trump’s election as our 45th president were unexpected and leave many nonprofit leaders asking: what now?  There are any number of articles attempting to predict the impact of the presidential race on the sector.  The National Council of Nonprofits has created a great overview.

But we know that the action is in the states.  And for certain, it’s a different landscape now in Kentucky. As we prepare for the upcoming session of the General Assembly to convene in January, your state association is strengthening existing relationships and connecting with new legislators to ensure the sector’s voice and the needs of those we serve is heard.  We are mailing an information packet to new legislators to introduce them to the economic importance and vital work of our nonprofit sector (yes, this year, there are lots of packets).  We are also gearing up for KY Nonprofit Day at the Capitol on Tuesday, February 14 a fantastic opportunity for you to connect now with your legislator and  invite them to join us for breakfast.

KNN continues to lead the way for a unified sector voice by focusing on the issues that matter to nonprofits – protection of the charitable giving tax deduction; a regulatory environment that supports a transparent and responsive sector, but is not overly burdensome; ongoing efforts to streamline nonprofit contracts with state government that builds on the final recommendation of the Government Nonprofit Contracting Task Force; and more.

To be sure your voice is heard, we invite you to take our member survey.  Your feedback will inform KNN’s public policy committee as it develops legislative priorities for the 2017 General Assembly.  Please let us hear from you before the Thanksgiving holiday.

There is much we don’t know and yet, still a few things we are certain of. We know for certain that nonprofits touch the lives of every Kentuckian.  We know for certain that nonprofits are critical to the safety, health and joy of our communities.  And we know for certain that working through nonprofits, Kentuckians can reconnect with our communities and rediscover what binds us together. We know that’s when healing can happen and we can unite to move our nation forward.

More than anything, know that KNN stands with you.  Our sector will face challenges and benefit from opportunities in the days ahead, yet the experience will be different for many of us.  Being nimble, proactive, responsive and focused is essential. We appreciate you and are proud to serve as your state association – your partner.

Danielle

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized