Friday, July 31, 2009

National Council of Nonprofit Policy News

This information is provided on behalf of the National Council of Nonprofits to share with New York Council of Nonprofits and its members.

Senate Appropriators Act to Fund More of the Serve America Act - including the Nonprofit Capacity Building Fund
After a significant slash in the Administration's request for the Serve America Act appropriation on the House side (HR 3293) - the House cut $90 million of the President's Budget Request for $259 million - the Senate Appropriations Committee acted this week to maintain that request and add more to grow the number of AmeriCorps volunteers and to launch new programs. A Senate floor vote is next, but it is not expected until September after Congress returns from its August recess. Learn more.

Nonprofit State Associations Meet with White House Office of Social Innovation and Advocate on the Hill
In an historic first, 80 nonprofit leaders from our State Association network, representing more than 20,000 organizational members from across the country, met July 14 with a senior White House official to explore ways government and nonprofits can best partner to serve local communities. Read our Press Release. (Note: NYCON was a part of that meeting)

Federal Legislative and Regulatory Developments
Health Care Reform Impasses Breaking Down as Difficult Negotiations Continue
Nonprofits can raise their health care reform issues with their members of Congress over the August recess, because the anticipated pre-recess votes will not occur due to reform discussions slowing down on Capitol Hill. The slow-down has come in the House in the Energy and Commerce Committee where "Blue Dog" fiscally conservative Democrats are a force, and in the Senate Finance Committee (SFC) where the daily negotiations of six key Senators continues. Critical issues that dominate are how to bend the cost curve of health care in this country so that reform is fiscally meaningful, whether a public plan will be an option, and whether - and on what terms - an employer mandate to provide insurance coverage will exist. Read more.

Restrictions on Legal Services Corporation Possibly Diminshed
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies approved the FY 2010 appropriations bill covering the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) on June 30. Notably, it would remove restrictions on LSC grantees' state, local, and private funds. Read more.

Tribal Charities Fairness Act Introduced
This bill would amend Section 7871 of the Internal Revenue Code to allow Indian tribes to be treated the same as state and local governments when they provide funding to charitable nonprofits. Learn more.

Discretionary Appropriations for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Probably Increasing
Both the House and Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bills include major discretionary spending programs - in the $160 billion plus range - administered by key departments that influence the health, education, and working opportunities of many nonprofit clients. Learn more about the specific appropriations levels.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

State Tax Revenues at Record Low, Rockefeller Institute Finds

The NY Times related that the anemic economy decimated state tax collections during the first three months of the year, according to a report released Friday by the Rockefeller Institute of Government. The drop in revenues was the steepest in the 46 years that quarterly data has been available.

The blow to state coffers, which the report said appeared to worsen in the second quarter of the year, reflects the gravity of the recession and suggests the extent to which many states will probably have to resort to more spending cuts or tax increases to balance their budgets.
Over all, the report found that state tax collections dropped 11.7 percent in the first three months of 2009, compared with the same period last year. After adjusting for inflation, new changes in tax rates and other anomalies, the report found that tax revenues had declined in 47 of the 50 states in the quarter.

All the major sources of state tax revenue — sales taxes, personal income taxes and corporate income taxes — took serious blows, the report found.

As more people lost their jobs, took pay cuts or worked fewer hours, personal income tax collections fell 17.5 percent in the quarter. Weak retail sales sent sales tax collections down 8.3 percent. Corporate income tax collections, which are often highly variable, declined 18.8 percent. Read more here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Survey: Nonprofit Mergers, Sales Not On The Table

The Nonprofit Times reported on a recent Nonprofit Finance Fund survey that related very few organizations are even considering mergers or selling assets. Instead, nonprofits are more likely to develop worst-case scenario contingency budgets and engage more closely with their board.

Nearly half of respondents (48 percent) said they would freeze all hires and current salaries or have funder conversations to explain the situation and/or use of currently restricted grants to “keep their doors open in difficult times.” Only 4 percent called it “business as usual” and plan no change.

Asked what type of technical assistance would be helpful to their organizations, respondents most wanted “tools to communicate financial picture to the board and/or funders” and “financial scenario planning” with some also looking for assistance analyzing their current financial situation or program finance analytics.

About 16 percent anticipate being able to cover operating expenses in both 2009 and 2010. More than half expect the recession to have a long-term (more than two years) or permanent negative financial effect on their organizations. Read the full article here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

NYCON launches Interim Executive Leadership Program

Are You Looking for an Exciting Opportunity to Lead a Nonprofit Organization?
Consider becoming an Interim Executive Director!

What is the Interim Executive Director Leadership (IEL) Program? The Interim Executive Director Leadership (IEL) Program is designed to help meet the needs of nonprofit agencies as significant numbers of nonprofit executives are expected to retire over the next 5 years. The Interim Executive Director Leadership (IEL) Program is a comprehensive training, placement and support initiative designed for qualified, experienced nonprofit professionals in transitional nonprofit Executive Director/CEO positions in New York State. Interim Executive Directors trained through our program will provide effective transitional leadership to nonprofits in order to strengthen organizational health and effectiveness during a time of transition.

Consider Becoming an Interim Executive Director if you are a:
Current and/or former executive director with successful experience in nonprofit executive management;
Nonprofit professional who is currently or have already served as an Interim Executive Leader who would like to be involved with this initiative and receive specialized training to augment and build upon their current skills;
Nonprofit Professional or consultant who clearly demonstrates executive leadership knowledge, abilities, maturity and effectiveness.

Program Dates & Locations: Please note that space in the training sessions listed below is limited. Registrants must complete an application process that includes submission of a writing sample and at least one reference. Candidates who successfully complete the training and secondary evaluation process may be placed into Interim Executive Director positions through this program.

August 18th, 2009 - Albany, NY NYCON Main Office, 272 Broadway, Albany, NYTime: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Cost: $150, Training Materials & Lunch Provided

August 20th, 2009 - Rochester, NY United Way of Greater Rochester, 75 College Avenue, Rochester, NY Time: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Cost: $150, Training Materials & Lunch Provided

For more information click here or please contact: Jennifer Lockwood, Program Director 454-5062 x. 102

Adirondack advocacy groups are merging reported that two nonprofit groups that advocate to protect the Adirondack Mountains have agreed to merge in an effort to create a single, more influential organization.

The Residents' Committee to Protect the Adirondacks, formed in 1990, and the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, founded in 1901, will form an organization called Protect The Adirondacks!

The vote by members of each group followed months of talks. The organization will have administrative offices in Niskayuna, near Albany, and membership headquarters in Saranac Lake in the central Adirondacks.

Health Bill in House Relies on Wealth Tax

The Wall Street Journal reported that House Democrats plan to pay for their health-care legislation with a big tax increase on wealthy households, aiming to raise $540 billion over the next decade with a package of surtaxes on families making $350,000 or more.

The tax increase is the financial cornerstone of legislation that seeks to make good on President Barack Obama's call to expand health-insurance coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans, while attempting to offset the cost and avoid expanding the federal budget deficit.
Associated Press

The House bill, expected to be formally unveiled as soon as Monday, is likely to cost $1 trillion overall. About half the cost of the bill will come from budget savings from ratcheting down payments that health-care providers receive through programs like Medicare, which covers the elderly. The balance will come from revenues generated by a graduated surtax that would begin in 2011, said New York Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. Read more here.

Have your own thoughts on making health insurance accessible? What is the best solution for nonprofits? Share your ideas here.

NYCON to provide interim leadership to RCHS

The Times Union reported that the executive leading the Rensselaer County Historical Society back to solvency resigned today in order to move to California.

Rachel Tooker, interim executive for the historical society, said she is relocating to Sacramento where her partner has accepted a museum position. Tooker said the historical society has charted a new course that will help it correct its financial difficulties.

The New York Council of Nonprofits will provide managerial leadership for the historical society.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Literacy nonprofits merge

The Business Review reported that the Literacy Volunteers of America-Mohawk/Hudson and Literacy NENY announced that the two groups will merge into a new entity, Literacy New York Greater Capital Region.

Talks of joining the Colonie- and Saratoga Springs-based nonprofit organizations started 18 months ago, said Robert Stevens, the new organization’s executive director and CEO. Stevens is the former executive director of Literacy Volunteers of America—Mohawk/Hudson.

The literacy program helps people—mainly adults—improve their reading, writing, math and English fluency skills. The new organization will cover Albany, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and Washington counties.

Stevens expects the merger will streamline operations, allowing the group to serve more students.

The recession also aided the decision, as state aid for the groups is down 24 percent from last year. The alliance will operate on a $600,00 budget, the combined budgets of both groups. Read the article here.

Nonprofit Misconceptions & Timely Blog by Blue Avocado

After our first Peer Group meeting Megan Quillinan, Executive Director at Mechanicville Area Community Services Center, shared this timely article from Blue Avocado "Alligators in the Boardroom and Urban Legends about Nonprofits."

She thought this article was great and potentially helpful given the discussion we had at our first meeting.

Thanks Megan!

Alligators in the Boardroom and Urban Legends about Nonprofits

June 19th Meeting Update...

The first meeting of the Executive Director Peer Group of the Capital Region was held on June 19th. Over 45 executives gathered to discuss their role in the community, as leaders, as a voice for economic impact and in helping to shape the public's perception of the vital role nonprofits play in making our communities a better place to live.

Various ideas centered on correcting the misonceptions about nonprofits. The group talked about the possibility of connecting to local media outlets and providing them with a "go to" source for the nonprofit perspective. Another idea was to provide local newspapers with an ongoing "nonprofit" column, written by various members of the Peer Group.

Future discussions and meetings will be needed to determine the group's direction and message and to come up with clear action steps to achieve our goals.

We are pleased to report that 16 executives have signed up to be a part of the leadership team that will plan our meeting dates and topics for the rest of 2009.

The Peer Group leaders will schedule meetings that work for your schedules (based on the recent survey) and will plan on topics of interest based on that survey.

If you would like to give us your feedback, please click here to take the survey.

The group also briefly reviewed the Executive Directory Skills Inventory. Each executive is encouraged to complete this inventory so that we begin to compile a list of individuals with certain skill sets. In the future this may help us connect you with a "mentor" or coach in the areas you would like to improve upon.

If you would like to complete the skills inventory online, please click here.

Remember...You can continue the conversations from our meetings online by starting a discussion on our IZOCA page. This group is only open to executive directors in the Capital Region. Join now by clicking here.