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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.

TAX POLICY | Advocating for UBIT Appeal

March 29, 2019. Since mid-2018, GCN has worked with a coalition to push legislation that decouples Georgia policy from new federal rules that impose tax burdens on nonprofits for the first time – specifically, the Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT), which calls for nonprofits to pay taxes on transportation benefits and certain income streams. There is immediate opportunity to push for the UBIT provision’s partial removal from federal tax legislation, and we need your help! Read more

CENSUS 2020 | Tools and resources for nonprofits

April 1, 2019. We're just one year out from the decennial Census. GCN has put together some of the most vital resources and news sources to support your Census-related efforts. A complete count of Georgians is critical as it will impact many aspects of your agency's and constituents' lives: (1) legislative redistricting, shaping power and policy for the next decade; (2) federal and state allocations to public and nonprofit agencies; (3) enabling accurate market research to inform your programming decisions and, more broadly, investments in your communities. Failure to count just 10 households containing 2.5 people in your county could result in the loss of $334,750 over the 10-year census period. Find the resources here

ALERT | New income tax requirements for nonprofits (UBIT)

December 12, 2018. Thanks to the efforts of the sector and our champions, we’ve made significant progress convincing lawmakers that the 21-percent unrelated business income tax (UBIT) on transportation benefits and other expenses are both nonsensical and counterproductive to our shared purpose: serving the American people. Indeed, the IRS just released guidelines meant to alleviate some of the burden this new law imposes. However, this new notice is far from adequate – the only responsible solution is to repeal the code from the 2017 tax law impacting the nonprofit sector. Read more

ALERT | Contributions in Exchange for State or Local Tax Credits

October 11, 2018. GCN joined the Southeastern Council of Foundations to submit comments to the IRS in response to the proposed rulemaking, “Contributions in Exchange for State or Local Tax Credits.” In the letter, we assert that proposed regulations will drive down corporate and individual contributions to legitimate charities and virtually eliminate certain state and local tax (SALT) credits received from charitable contributions. We ask the IRS to limit the regulation so that legitimate charities will not be impacted. Read the letter

CALL TO ACTION | Charitable giving is down: Here's what you can do about it.

October 5, 2018. Charitable giving has taken a hit in 2018 and the proximate cause for this trend appears to be provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed in 2017, that significantly curtailed tax incentives for donors. Nonprofits have an opportunity to influence this:Legislation authored in the House of Representatives, H.R. 5771, the Charitable Giving Tax Deduction Act, would amend the tax code to give all taxpayers the opportunity to make tax-deductible donations, restoring a powerful donor benefit that has helped nonprofits meet their goals, and make a greater impact, for over a century. Speak up it urge Congress to support this legislation. Read more

CALL TO ACTION | New tax could impact thousands of Georgia's nonprofits

September 20, 2018. On Dec. 22, 2017, President Trump signed Public Law No. 115-97, which includes two new provisions regarding Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT). These provisions impact charities that pay for employee parking and transit, which may never have incurred these taxes in the past, and change how nonprofits subject to “classic” UBIT need to report them. Together, these changes could result in thousands of dollars in new taxes for each nonprofit affected. We ask our members to sign on to our letter, which asks our Georgia Congressional Delegation to request a delay in implementation, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018, while appropriate guidance is developed by the IRS, and to support proposed legislation to remove the harmful nonprofit tax. Read more

CENSUS 2020 | GCN opposes the inclusion of citizenship question

September, 2018. In an open letter to public officials, the Georgia Center for Nonprofits urges the Commerce Department to withdraw the improper citizenship question from the 2020 Census to avoid hurting American businesses, governments at all levels, the 501(c)(3) community, and the public. GCN's position is that the inclusion of the question will (1) supress the count, (2) intentionally bias the count, and (3) disrupts the methodology and accuracy of the Census process. Read the letter

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

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

CALL TO ACTION | Making the 2010 Census count

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

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, 2018Georgia 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

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

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


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

March 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

March 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


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

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.

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

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. 

2015 Report
2014 Report
2013 Report
2012 Report

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

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.

A Letter from Karen Beavor, GCN's President & CEO
Send a letter to your lawmakers via Independent Sector

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.

Nuçi's Space v. Athens-Clarke County Board of Tax Assessors

How to contact your elected officials

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. 

Seeking advocacy partners?

Use this list of coalitions, local and national, to find out who's already championing your cause under the Gold Dome and on Capitol Hill.