Policy & Advocacy
The Georgia Center for Nonprofits is an active sector leader in local, state, and federal policy matters. Collating with organizations and initiatives, GCN promotes the wellbeing of nonprofits and their benefactors statewide.
Nonprofits are a key mechanism through which citizens activate their leadership potential—as donors, volunteers and as professionals. That requires us, as nonprofit leaders and board members, to enlarge our dialogue and embrace advocacy and policy as a critical part of our work and leadership. When we don’t advocate, we diminish the scale of our impact.
You can contact your federal legislators any time: Call the D.C. office of Sen. Johnny Isakson at 202-224-3643, the office of Sen. David Perdue at 202-224-3521, and reach your U.S. Representative by dialing the House switchboard at 202-225-3121 and following the automated instructions. You can also email all three of your federal legislators at once by visiting democracy.io and entering your home address.
POLICY ALERT: Johnson Amendment under siege again
July 25, 2018. Sometime over the next two weeks – before Congress leaves Washington for the August recess – the Senate will be considering a measure that may open the floodgates to political money in the nonprofit sector. We must act now to prevent this from happening. Once again, this threat comes in the form of language undermining enforcement of the Johnson Amendment, the IRS rule which protects the charitable sector from becoming a tool of political campaigns by forbidding any nonprofit from endorsing candidates for office. Read more
POLICY CALL-TO-ACTION: Threat to Johnson Amendment Advances in House
June 12, 2018. Tomorrow, the House Appropriations Committee takes up a bill that includes a harmful anti-Johnson Amendment rider. Included in a spending bill for fiscal year 2019 is an extraneous provision that would enable politicians, political operatives, and donors to pressure nonprofits into endorsing candidates and diverting charitable assets to fund political campaigns. Just two months after Congress rejected efforts to weaken the longstanding tax law that keeps partisan politics out of nonprofits, houses of worship, and foundations, new legislation is being considered to undermine it. Read more
Making the 2010 Census count: A nonprofit call-to-action
April 5, 2018. An accurate census is fundamental to the work you do and the people you serve – but it isn’t an equal-opportunity enterprise. Expert Terri Ann Lowenthal gives nonprofits multiple ways (and reasons) to help ensure a successful 2020 Census. Read more
POLICY UPDATE: Federal spending bill leaves Johnson Amendment unaffected
March 22, 2018. Good news for nonprofits: the text of the omnibus spending bill was released on Wednesday by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, and does not include any provision to weaken or repeal the Johnson Amendment, the longstanding law that protects nonprofits, religious organizations, and foundations from partisan politics. However, the nonprofit community must remain alert. Read more
CALL TO ACTION: Federal Attack on Nonprofit Nonpartisanship
March 13, 2018. Right now, congressional leaders are working on the mammoth spending bill that will fund the government through the rest of the current fiscal year, and those seeking to politicize 501c3 organizations are trying to attach anti-Johnson Amendment language to the bill. We need you to take immediate action: Tell Congress not to change this vital law, which has shielded the the charitable, religious, and philanthropic communities from partisan politics for more than 60 years. Here's how
CALL TO ACTION: Act now to keep nonprofits nonpartisan
Feb. 26, 2018. Georgia State Senate Resolution 752, which encourages the federal government to effectively end enforcement of the Johnson Amendment, has passed the Senate Finance Committee and now goes to the Senate Rules Committee. Call or email Rules Committee Chair Senator Mullis and committee members today to ask that the Committee hold the resolution or require public hearings prior to any further action. Tell them that SR 752 does not represent the interests of Georgia’s nonprofits. Read more
POLICY ALERT: Your action needed on Johnson Amendment
Feb. 20, 2018. Quickly-moving policy developments in the Georgia Senate's Finance Committee could help end federal enforcement of the Johnson Amendment, the federal law governing the nonpartisan nature of nonprofits and faith institutions. The resolution in question may be considered as soon as this week. Will you stand with us against it? Our Federal Issues Coalition has prepared a letter to our state senators, which we’d like you to review and sign by no later than this Friday, Feb. 23. Read more
POLICY BRIEF: Tax reform and the nonprofit sector
Dec. 1, 2017. Here’s GCN’s look at the House tax reform plan (HR 1) and the Senate tax reform plan in terms of issues affecting the nonprofit sector, with the positions we’re advocating for the good of our work and the communities they benefit. Read more
CALL TO ACTION: Speak up about Senate Tax Reform Bill
Dec. 1, 2017. In less than 48 hours – likely as soon as this afternoon – the Senate will vote on a tax reform bill that would cripple charities’ ability to serve their communities. As it stands today, the Senate bill delivers tax cuts to corporations by raising taxes on nonprofits and low- and middle-income families. Here are the reasons you should contact Senators TODAY by phone and Twitter to tell them to oppose this bill. Learn more and take action now
CALL TO ACTION: Healthcare Reconciliation
June 27, 2017. As soon as this week, we expect a vote by the U.S. Senate on legislation to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Now, more than ever, we as sector leaders need to stand up and make our voices heard about the potentially devastating impact that passage of this proposed legislation will have on our constituents and our state. We urge you to reach out to our Georgia Senators and local elected officials immediately, employing both mission-focused and economic arguments to exert pressure while this bill is still being debated. Learn more and take action now
INTRODUCING: the Nonprofit Federal Issues Coalition
May 12, 2017. In the face of current policy-making practice, the only way to ensure our common cause is through joint leadership and an imperative to defend our shared interests. For that reason, GCN is proud to introduce our new Nonprofit Federal Issues Coalition, bringing the state’s nonprofit leadership together to focus on policy issues and organize cooperative, strategic responses. Learn all about it and sign up your organization
BRIEF: How the proposed federal budget may affect Georgia nonprofits
Mar. 16, 2017. President Trump’s first budget was released yesterday and analysis shows deep cuts to many programs that fund nonprofit activities. Here is a breakdown of some of the President’s proposed budget cuts by department (courtesy of the Washington Post) along with GCN’s quick analysis of the effects in Georgia. Additionally, in an effort to coordinate a response from our state relative to these budget cuts, GCN is convening a Nonprofit Federal Issues Coalition. Sign up to be included, receive meeting and call-in information
CALL TO ACTION: Gerrymandering Bill
Mar. 3, 2017. We are requesting your immediate action (March 3) on House Bill 515, introduced this week, that would change the geographic compositions of a number of Georgia districts to protect incumbent elections, also known as gerrymandering. The bill is scheduled for a vote today. Time is of the essence. Here's what you can do to help protect nonprofits today
ANNOUNCING: GCN Policy Platform
Jan. 14, 2017 - GCN has released a Policy Platform, outlining our top priorities as an advocate is to identify and promote policies that support and advance the nonprofit sector, and list of top priorities for GCN to serve as an advocate is to identify and promote policies that support and advance the nonprofit sector. Read GCN's Policy Platform and read President and CEO Karen Beavor's statement
POLICY ALERT: Injunction on FLSA Overtime Rules
Nov. 22, 2016. A federal district court in Texas granted a preliminary injunction that temporarily blocks the U.S. Department of Labor from implementing and enforcing its recently revised regulations on the white collar exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that was set to take effect on Dec. 1. This will mean a substantial increase to the threshold at which eligible employees, regardless of duties, must be paid overtime. GCN is dedicated to monitoring developments and providing the latest news and resources to assist nonprofit employers with compliance.
POLICY ALERT: FLSA Overtime Final Rule announced
May 18, 2016. The long-awaited update to the U.S. Department of Labor’s overtime rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has been released. As expected, there is a substantial increase to the threshold at which eligible employees, regardless of duties, must be paid overtime. This means that most non-exempt organizations will need to pay overtime to employees making less than $47,476 annually for any hours worked in excess of 40 per week. GCN is dedicated to providing resources to the nonprofit community to assist employers with compliance with this rule, beginning December 1, 2016. Learn more
POLICY ALERT: Proposed changes to FLSA overtime regulations pose
potentially massive financial impact to Georgia nonprofits
August 2015. The U.S Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed changes to rules that govern overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In effect, the proposals would significantly increase the number of employees eligible for overtime pay by increasing the exemption threshold for “white collar” to $50,440 per year. While GCN appreciates the need to ensure that the regulations governing overtime protections keep pace with the evolving workplace and economy, we are very concerned that the DOL’s proposed rule will further exacerbate an already complicated set of regulations for employers and employees. Read GCN's position and advocacy on the issue
REPORTS: Georgia General Assembly Legislative Outcomes
Stan Jones and Helen Sloat of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough provide insights on the legislative action each year that affects the Georgia nonprofit sector.
POLICY ALERT: Georgia Competitiveness Initiative
On September 9, 2013, the Atlanta Community Food Bank and GCN gave public testimony before the Governor-appointed Georgia Competitiveness task force, providing economic justification for vital tax exemptions that were phased out in 2010. Despite being nearly unanimously passed in the 2013 General Assembly, the provisions were vetoed and deferred to the Georgia Competitiveness Initiative. The task force will provide policy recommendations on this ongoing issue through the 2014 General Assembly. Read a summary of the action and read our public testimony
POLICY ALERT: Charitable Giving Tax Deduction
GCN worked with Independent Sector and a coalition of organizations across the country to rally our sector together to protect charitable giving. Proposals to cap itemized deductions, including the charitable deduction – whether a dollar limit or percentage – were seriously being discussed among Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle as a source of revenue for a short-term ‘fiscal bridge’ into 2013. Numerous studies suggest that overall giving would decline if these proposals come to fruition.
POLICY ALERT: Nonprofit Property Tax
Due to a 2009 Court decision regarding GCN member Nuçi’s Space in Athens, Georgia, changes to the definition of "organizations of purely public charity" could have had drastic effects on many nonprofits' ability to receive these tax exemptions. GCN played an active role in successfully advocating to preserve the exemption.