Overarching Values

Equity. Nonprofit New York has engaged in a multi-year process to deepen our commitment to racial equity, recognizing that the nonprofit sector reflects the systems and structures of white supremacy. To promote equity we must also center our workforce. Nonprofit workers must be paid living wages and provided quality benefits to carry out the work of our missions. Toward this end, we have committed to analyzing each of our policy positions through an equity lens.

Environmental and Climate Justice. Nonprofit New York recognizes the very real threat to all our existence which is climate change. BIPOC communities and nations in the global south are bearing the brunt of environmental racism and climate change. We cannot exempt ourselves out of policies to create a more environmentally sustainable future. Our sector must work with businesses and government to advance environmental justice and mitigate the damage of climate change, and hold other sectors accountable to meaningfully contribute to environmental and climate justice.


I. Promoting Greater Access for Nonprofits to Advocate for Their Communities

Nonprofits have a responsibility to advocate for their communities, and policymakers should seek the expertise of organizations. However, fewer than 3% of nonprofits engage in lobbying. Lobbying rules in New York have become increasingly more complex over the past 20 years, and reporting lobbying activity can be resource intensive, particularly for small grassroots and BIPOC-led organizations. This effectively shuts out many nonprofits from the legislative process.

Legislative and Policy Priorities

  1. A Place at the Table Campaign (State and City) - legislation to raise the “lobbying threshold” and index the threshold to inflation, to create more access for all 501(c)(3) nonprofits to lobby, not just large and well-resourced organizations.
  2. Education for the Sector and Policymakers - With the rise of opaque and unethical money in politics, the general public has increasingly conflated permissible nonprofit lobbying with “dark money.” Policymakers are hesitant to support advocacy rule reforms for nonprofits because they do not understand the various types of nonprofits and their allowable advocacy activities. Our policy agenda includes public education on the permissible advocacy activities for 501(c)(3) nonprofits.

II. Strengthen Financial Sustainability

Nonprofits must have the financial resources to carry out our missions, but historical policies and funding practices have led to a chronically underfunded sector and unsustainable funding models. Nonprofit New York advocates for policies that support nonprofits to provide living wages and benefits to our workers, cover the costs of operating expenses including indirect costs and facilities, and build reserves to weather unforeseen fiscal shocks. Nonprofit New York advocates for flexible funding models that grant organizations freedom to respond to the most pressing issues facing our communities.

Legislative and Policy Priorities

  1. Facilities, Space, Capital
    1. Climate Mobilization Act, Local Law 97 of 2019 - Nonprofit New York supports Local Law 97 of 2019, the Climate Mobilization Act. We will work to ensure the implementation of Local Law 97 provides robust education to the nonprofit sector on compliance, equitably distributes the burden of implementation, and includes incentives that relieve nonprofits and landlords leasing to nonprofits. Nonprofit New York advocates that compliance fines and fees be reinvested in funds for nonprofits to make capital improvements to comply with the law.
    2. Capital Funding - reforms to state and city capital funding processes should recognize and include nonprofits in advisory roles and invest in nonprofit infrastructure.
    3. Commercial rent relief, nonprofit rent stabilization, and tax abatement programs for landlords who rent space to nonprofits
  2. Government Contracting and Philanthropy
    1. City Council Member Items Reform - City Council Member Items (also known as Discretionary Funding) sustain many small, culturally specific, and grassroots organizations. The contracting process for discretionary funding is inefficient and results in significant delays in payments for organizations. Nonprofit New York will work with partners to create a more efficient discretionary funding process.
    2. Contract Adjustments for Local Law 97 Compliance - Nonprofits with government contracts should be allowed contract amendments and increased funding to account for increased costs to comply with Local Law 97.
    3. Support philanthropic reform that advances equity and aligns the timing of private and public benefits.
  3. Economic Relief
    1. Passage of the Universal Charitable Giving Act (H.R. 1704) 
    2. Extension of the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC)

III. Workforce

The nonprofit sector exists to promote the public good, whereas the government and the for-profit sector cannot. We cannot promote the general public good if we are not able to champion our workforce, pay nonprofit workers living wages, and provide nonprofit workers equitable benefits. We must understand inequities within our sector, and the needs of our workers, to guide our advocacy efforts.

Legislative and Policy Priorities

  1. Increased research on nonprofit leadership demographics and needs of the workforce.
  2. Living wages for the full nonprofit workforce (support for #JustPay and other nonprofit wage workforce campaigns).
  3. Support for just retirement and healthcare benefits for all nonprofit workers.
  4. Support for student debt relief and reforms to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

IV. Continuously Streamline Reporting and Regulatory Compliance

Nonprofit New York supports fair, reasonable, and transparent registration and regulatory policies that promote public trust in nonprofits, reflect current practice and technology, and relieve unnecessary administrative burdens.

Legislative and Policy Priorities

  1. Build upon ongoing reforms to New York’s Not-for-Profit Corporation Law to provide technical fixes, efficiencies, and modernization.

Support fair, accountable, efficient, and straightforward registration and reporting requirements.