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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.


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It’s Why We Exist…

Even though the Kentucky General Assembly isn’t in session, I’ve learned that there is plenty of activity to keep Frankfort buzzing during the summer.

Work around the Government Nonprofit Contracting Task Force has kept me at the Capitol more than usual this summer.  The second Task Force meeting was held earlier this week and will have four more meetings before the Task Force must submit its recommendations for next steps to streamline nonprofit contracts with state government.  While the Task Force has much less time to explore the issues and form its recommendations than outlined in the legislation, members are engaged and committed to, at a minimum, determining how this important work to save government and nonprofits time and money should continue beyond the revised report due date of December 1, 2016.

I was also unexpectedly busy last week because of a letter KNN submitted during the open comment period for the Bevin administration’s waiver proposal to modify Kentucky’s Medicaid program.

If you haven’t read the letter – you can click here to read it.

Several news outlets reported on KNN’s letter and some opposed to the proposal have used member comments in the letter to fight for their cause. Sometimes things were quoted accurately.  Sometimes the quotes were not accurate.  Here are a few clarifications:

Why did KNN submit the letter to the Bevin Administration?

KNN was invited by Governor Bevin’s staff to meet on their proposed Medicaid waiver in June.  At that time, the proposal had already been released and meetings for comment had been scheduled around the state.  The community engagement piece was already included in their proposal, but the meeting provided KNN with an opportunity to share some of the often overlooked realities of running an effective volunteer program – the resources of staff and finances required for training, support, space, background checks when required, and more.  During the meeting, it was communicated that there would be some nonprofits who would not be impacted by this proposal at all because they do not utilize volunteers; there would be some nonprofits who are structured in such a way that they might be able to accommodate the potential influx of volunteers; and other nonprofits who would find great hardship in trying to help their fellow Kentuckians meet this requirement.  Concerns were also expressed about nonprofits located in rural communities.  Regardless of these realities and concerns, KNN committed to assist in whatever way we could if the requirement remains in the proposal and if the proposal is approved by the federal government.

Because members were also expressing concerns on this issue, KNN decided that formalizing the June conversation and directly sharing the member comments we were receiving was important to ensure these thoughts were “on the record” and submitted during the open comment period.

KNN submitted the letter because we exist to advance Kentucky’s nonprofit community.  Sharing the realities of volunteer management as a part of nonprofit management best practices and serving as a vehicle for member concerns is an example of what we do.  It’s our job.  It’s why we exist.

Is KNN opposed to or in favor of the Medicaid waiver proposal?

The letter is straightforward.  KNN does not have a position on the Medicaid waiver proposal or more specifically, we do not have a position on the proposed community engagement requirement. 

KNN’s letter included member comments received via Facebook and email. The only comments that were not included, were a handful from individuals who are not KNN members.  None of these comments were supportive of the proposal.  With the exception of a few grammatical and spelling corrections, the comments in our letter were not edited or condensed or rephrased because KNN’s letter served as a vehicle for our members – editing comments or choosing which to include or exclude would, in essence, be taking a position.

What happens next?

The Bevin Administration’s final Medicaid waiver proposal was submitted on 8/24/16.  If the waiver proposal is approved by the federal government, KNN is committed to helping connect our members who are interested in working on this initiative with state government. It is our hope that the letter was helpful to the administration and whatever the outcome, KNN is here as a resource.

In summary, I am so grateful to our KNN members who submitted comments via social media and email – it was my privilege to share their front-line experiences and I appreciate each taking time to comment.  I also want to thank those nonprofit professionals who took time to email, text and call me last week – 97% (yes, I counted) of these were in appreciation of their state association’s voice on the importance and realities of volunteer management.  Of course, we’ll keep you posted! And to those nonprofits who’ve not yet become a member of your state association – I urge you to join KNN and join the conversion.

Every day, I am reminded of the incredible opportunity I have as KNN’s executive director to work with such fine men and women leading outstanding organizations across this Commonwealth.  Advocating for you, for your vital work, for our sector – it’s why we exist…


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Efforts to Improve Government Contracting Finally Underway

Great news!  The Government Nonprofit Contracting Task Force, created with the unanimous passage of HCR 89 in 2015, FINALLY held it’s first meeting today!

Please check out the press release to learn more.

This Task Force is important not only for organizations contracting with state government, but matters to all nonprofits and will result in savings of time and money that will ultimately benefit Kentuckians across the state.  A number of issues (including the recent special elections) delayed our start date, but we are ready to get to work to identify solutions to the unnecessary red tape and duplicative reporting that are keeping nonprofits from doing what they do best – serving Kentuckians.

The Task Force’s report of recommendations is due October 31.  A request has been made to extend this deadline, though statute requires a final report by December 1 (even if the extension is granted) – which means there is much work ahead and in a short amount of time..

Four nonprofit executives were selected to serve on the Task Force from a list of eight recommended by KNN.  These leaders will join me in communicating the issues facing our sector and are committed to actively participating with the Task Force to recommend solutions that will result in improved contractual partnerships – and ultimately improved services for Kentucky’s citizens.  I am grateful for their willingness to share their time and expertise!

I am also grateful for our KNN members who helped us get this resolution passed in 2015 and I urge you to stay engaged – we are just getting started and as the work of the Task Force evolves, I hope to hear from you.  If you aren’t yet a KNN member, now is a great time to join and stand with other nonprofits statewide to help us advance policy efforts that empower our nonprofit sector and strengthen Kentucky.

Stay tuned!

Danielle Clore
Executive Director/CEO

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Congrats to KY Gives Day Prize Winners!

I’m hitting the road today to take a much-needed vacation.  I hope you are planning to take some time off this summer too.  We all need an opportunity to recharge our batteries and I cannot wait to recharge mine with my family on the sandy beach of Pawley’s Island, SC!


Photo credit to my fabulous sister!

Before I go, I’m thrilled to report that the 201 nonprofits participating in Kentucky Gives Day on May 24 raised $181,649 in just 24 hours.  I’m even more thrilled to report that the 2016 effort brought our four-year total to $1,113,105!

Congratulations to these KNN members winning top fundraising prizes on the big day! Their totals include dollars raised and prizes from KNN.

As you can see – some tight competition!  Other prize winners include: Toy Chest, Franklin County Women’s Shelter, God’s Pantry Food Bank, Hospice of the Bluegrass and Glean KY. Check out full details on the results!

This event was made possible with support of our sponsors: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky; Anthem Medicaid and Keeneland!  Our media partners were essential to getting the word out: Ocululs Studios; iHeart Media Lexington; iHeart Media Louisville; Kentucky News Network; WAVE, Louisville; WKYT, Lexington; WPSD, Paducah; WBKO, Bowling Green; WEHT, Evansville; WYMT, Hazard and Lexington Herald-Leader.  We were also excited to welcome a regional partner for the first time – Central Kentucky Community Foundation did a fantastic job of bringing twenty-one organizations to KY Gives Day and offering an additional $1000 in prizes to top fundraisers from their region.

KNN is proud to host this annual statewide day of giving in the Commonwealth and we are grateful for the nonprofits, partners and donors working with us to make it a success!  Stay tuned for news on 2017 – I plan to tackle that project and more upon return from the beach…


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Time to get our give on!

It’s fitting that prom and graduation season tie in so nicely with KY Gives Day.  Over 200 nonprofits from across Kentucky are participating on May 24 and they are getting all gussied up – just like we’d do for prom.  We are eager to look our best and share our stories on to encourage more Kentuckians, near and far, to invest in our missions.d400dec262dc37f6ff1dd3a5ea5cf7b2.jpg

And like graduation, participating nonprofits are proud of our accomplishments and eager to use the KY Gives Day opportunity to celebrate our work – yet we know KY Gives Day is also only one step of our journey. Our work to improve communities is not done and the quest to acquire new donors and raise needed funds never ends.

Please take a minute between now and 11:59pm EST on Tuesday, May 24 to visit and show some of your favorite causes some love.  And good luck to all participating nonprofits – KNN appreciates your commitment to making KY Gives Day 2016 a success and thanks to the support of our KY Gives Day sponsors and partners, we are proud to provide this tool to help you raise needed funds, identify new friends and share your story successfully.

Let’s get our give on!

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The Thing About Toothpaste…

Of course, I think my eight year old son is adorable – he’s smart, handsome, loving, witty and extremely competitive.  He’s also curious.  Right now, he’s especially curious about words he’s not supposed to say – which makes him not so adorable.  On a recent car trip, he was quizzing us about these words and how “bad” they were on the scale of “badness.” My husband handled the issue perfectly: “Son, regardless of whether or not you get in trouble for saying that word, saying something like that is like toothpaste – once it’s out of the tube, it’s nearly impossible to get it back in.  Sometimes, you can’t take it back.

This same advice comes to mind when I read about issues at Wounded Warrior (just Google it, there are too many articles to link here) and Cancer Fund of America/Cancer Support Services.  Once a charity’s reputation (or as I fear – the sector’s reputation) is damaged, it is really tough to overcome – it’s hard to get the toothpaste back in the tube.  And how can we not think that situations like these are responsible for some of the downright scary legislation we are seeing crop up across the nation.  In our own Commo25109232005_54ac8c4717_nnwealth, HB 583 was filed in the 2016 KY General Assembly to require the KY Attorney General to create a “worst 50” list of charities based on certain expense criteria.  I support calling out bad apples, but with which yardstick? You may know – I’m pretty passionate about the overhead myth.  So, I assured the sponsor of the bill, Representative Jill York, that KNN and our members agree with her – nonprofits must be transparent and good stewards of the funds entrusted to them.  But I urged her to work with us on how that’s achieved.   One size doesn’t fit all…

So what can we do?  Lots.  My colleague, Tim Delaney at the National Council of Nonprofits shared excellent thoughts in his article: Earning the Public’s Trust – Every Day.  And as Tim mentions, KNN’s Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence in Kentucky tools are an excellent resource.

The older I get, the more I learn that there’s little I can control.  I can’t control the bad apples that unfortunately exist in our sector – any more than I can convince someone to stop fighting a good piece of legislation, squelch my son’s current fascination with all things inappropriate and gross, or even get the toothpaste back in the tube.   Luckily, there are things I can control – steps we as nonprofit leaders can take – and I’m going to channel my energies there.  I believe it’s the only way to get the focus where it needs to be – on the important work of our nonprofit sector and it’s impact on our communities.

KNN is here to help – to provide our members with resources and tools; to advocate on your behalf when legislation is filed that we think will damage the sector; and to engage our sector in these important conversations.  If your nonprofit isn’t a KNN member, I can’t think  of a more important time to join your state association of nonprofits.


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A List That’s Too Short

Normally, my lists are long – my work to do list, my personal to do list, my grocery list, my bucket list.  But this list is too short – and that’s not good.  The current list of registrants for Kentucky Nonprofit Day at the Capitol on February 17 doesn’t reflect the number of nonprofit leaders that, I’m certain, are committed to ensuring a unified voiced for our sector – especially with the opportunities we have to build on our 2015 momentum; introduce the work of the sector and it’s economic imp16325178129_a2f3ea4d3f_zortance to a new administration; and remind those running for re-election this fall that we are the state’s third largest industry and we vote.

If you happen to be on the fence about attending on 2/17, I hope to give you the little nudge you need to register.  It can be easy, especially when you are busy, to
wonder if showing up for events like this really matters. Well, it does. We need you there.  You need you there.  The sector needs you there. Kentucky’s communities need you there.
Please take time to register today. And if you’ve got a willing board member, share this excellent resource and bring them along for the road trip.

The list of legislators planning to join us on 2/17 is growing because they want to meet and hear from you.  They need to meet and hear from you – you are the experts on what matters.  And let’s not forget, many are running for re-election this fall…

We look forward to receiving your registration and making the list of nonprofit leaders coming together at the Capitol a longer one.  Let’s make this our largest gathering at the Capitol ever!



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