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Possible Proviso Could Impact Nonprofits

Posted By Ann Timberlake, Together SC Lobbyist, Wednesday, May 15, 2019

UPDATE (5/23/19): The Conference Committee removed the proviso from the Budget. Thank you to folks who called their legislators/Conference Committee members!


Transparency for nonprofits to account for state funds is a good thing. But ill-conceived provisos like the one added by Senator Tom Corbin to the Senate budget are not. Hopefully, reason will prevail in the budget conference committee that meets again this Thursday afternoon.

Provisos are one year amendments to the budget. There is already language on the books (117.21) requiring nonprofits receiving state funds to report on the goals for the money, the implementation success and the current operating budget. 

Corbin would ask nonprofits to also report how the funds were used to staff positions and the salaries for each position - but the caveat is the last sentence which says that “the provisions shall not be construed as requiring the disclosure of confidential or proprietary information.”

If you know a member of the House Ways & Means Com, you can ask that member to share your concerns with the three House conferees (Rep’s Murrell Smith, Gary Simrill, and Todd Rutherford). Personal contact with your local W&M member is best because the conferees are overburdened with requests. 

Together SC is working to educate legislators about the value of nonprofits to South Carolina and I'll be at the State House this week urging the House conferees to reject the unnecessary Corbin proviso so we can work with legislators next year to improve bills already filed that would establish fair and transparent reporting standards (H3133 and S491). 

 Ann Timberlake, Timberlake Communications, TSC Lobbyist 

Tags:  Advocacy  Budget  Nonprofit Leadership  SC State Council  Together SC 

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Census 2020: A policy issue that we can all get behind.

Posted By Chynna A. Phillips, MSW, MPH, Saturday, May 11, 2019

Guest blog by:
Chynna A. Phillips
Research and Policy Manager
Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina

APRIL 1, 2020 is Census Day. What are you doing to prepare?

Before I begin, please note that this blog post is not meant to make its reader proficient on all things Census. My purpose is simply to share that no matter how daunting the task is of achieving a complete and accurate count of all individuals living in South Carolina, there is a role that everyone can and should play in preparation for Census 2020.

The Rationale

Long before there were Ted Talks explaining the power of courage and vulnerability, and blogs outlining the steps to effectively use ones’ voice, nonprofits have been leading by example for years. Through compelling stories and exposure to the truths of the work their organizations do, nonprofit leaders evoke action from potential donors, build trust with their clients and communities, and motivate their staff and volunteers alike. When large systems fail to meet the needs of the collective, and misguided leaders defund services; nonprofit leaders step in. Nonprofits step in to advocate that their communities and the individuals within them are supported and seen through a lens of power and resilience. On a daily basis, nonprofit leaders challenge, advocate, and push boundaries.

It is this daily drive, that leaves us to wonder, what would happen if nonprofit leaders and those around them collectively worked toward a goal that had political implications? For many reasons, all of which hold some level of validity, policy is an area that many nonprofits choose not to venture. Our separate missions and organizational values present unique challenges making it difficult for many to see a shared topic worth working toward. While we can wrestle with finding what that topic is for weeks or even years, I have a thought.

I submit to you, that the upcoming Census is an issue that cuts across all sectors, missions, and communities. Assisting in this effort does not pull us away from our missions, but draws us closer to the very individuals our missions calls us to serve. For better or worse, we are all impacted by the results of each census. According to the US Census Bureau:

“The population totals from the census determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives. States also use the totals to redraw their legislative and school districts. The population totals also affect funding in your community, and data collected in the census help decision makers know how your community is changing.”

The community impact that the upcoming census may have is vast, and the list of ways the census information is used is extensive. (See Appendix A: 50 Ways Data Are Used.)

Spoiler Alert: You may be the leader you’re looking for…

As you begin to question and search for who is doing the work around Census 2020, you may find that no one has started. And that’s ok! What lead me to be appointed as the chair of the Complete Count Committee for the City of Columbia is simply asking questions and not stopping until I found an answer worthy of the community I serve. After being informed that the City of Columbia was already making this a priority (no surprise there), I offered to lend my gifts in whatever way I can. Of course, I have experience in community organizing and other assets to bring to the table, but at its core is the heart and passion for the task at hand. And that is equally important if not at times more important. 

Actionable Steps...Steps you can take!

Whenever new topics are thrown into the mix, the question of organizational capacity is always one that rises to the top. Here are a few quick tips that may resonate with your organization.

1. Arm yourself with trusted Information

In the age of information, it is hard to sift through the wide birth of data being generated every day. Here are a few tools to consider. 

  •  Census.Gov - Your one stop shop for all of your Census needs.
  •  2020census.Gov - Access to official Census 2020 operational plans, FAQs and more.
  •  Response Outreach Area Mapper (ROAM). Find out how well your state is doing by assessing the hard-to-survey areas.
  •  Hard to Count 2020 - Another tool that can assist in identifying hard-to-count areas.
  •  Confidentiality -  Did you know it is a crime to share identifiable information given on the census? Individual records are protected by law (Title 44, U.S. Code) and confidential for 72 years!
  • American FactFinder - Ever wonder where all that information goes? This is an easy way to pull the data you need from the American Community Survey.

2. Educate your staff and board

Getting buy-in from all those involved not only leads to better outcomes but also increases the number of people in the community who can speak to the importance of Census 2020. 

  •  Request a presentation or the information of the representative working in your county. Contact the regional office for your state. For South Carolina, it is The Atlanta Regional Office. This office is also responsible for North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
  • Host a Census Solutions Workshop (See Appendix C): Businesses, city officials, community-based organizations, or any other persons or groups can host a workshop. The Census Bureau created a toolkit that gives step-by-step guidance on how to host a workshop. The toolkit is available at www.census.gov/partners. For more information, please contact U.S. Census Bureau at census.partners@census.gov.

3. Educate your constituents/clients.

With the changes being made to Census 2020. The more we can dispel myths and prepare communities for the upcoming Census, the better we will all be. 

4. Make the information you share available to all of your clients.

While the U.S. Census Bureau has done their best to provide clear and concise information on their website, access to that information presents a challenge for all communities.

5. Develop an organizational plan

How will your organization send out the information? Will it be by mail, Facebook page, flyers in waiting rooms, in bathroom stalls, etc.? No way is right or wrong. This plan will depend on the organization and where you get the most engagement. The Census will be different this year, so having an understanding of the process and changes in advance is key.

  •  This step is especially important for organizations that serve hard to count populations (Examples of hard to count populations are; children, those experiencing homelessness and poverty, those who reside in rural areas.)

6. Serve as a partner for your local Complete Count Committee (CCC).

Many complete count committees will need trusted members of the community or organizations who will be willing to share information they develop to educate the community about the upcoming Census. 

7. Help the U.S. Census Bureau recruit new talent.

Help is needed at all levels. There are part-time and full-time options for all who apply.

8. Don’t stop there!

These are just examples, and there are many more ways
you can get engaged and help those that need the information. 

  • For assistance with strategies call your local CCC or County US Census Bureau Rep., etc. For additional information about the CCC Program, please contact your regional census center. South Carolina: Atlanta.rcc.partnership@2020census.gov
  • You do not have to be an official CCC to advocate for the Census. There may be other organizations and efforts taking place in your community. I have heard a buzz in various areas across the state, so this is exciting news. Happy searching! 

 

If the road ahead looks too daunting, I will leave you with this, “It is easy to get overwhelmed by the level of need. But you must take it one issue and one ‘grant’ at a time. Doing something will always be better than doing nothing. The risk is too high, not to do something,” Tom Keith, President, Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina.

My friends the risk is too high not to be engaged in this work! The future of South Carolina is relying on a complete and accurate count of all that reside in our state. And we are just the people to help make that happen. Happy Counting Everyone!

Let me know what you are doing to support Census 2020. I would love to know. Let’s keep the conversation going. #SCCounts 

 ABOUT CHYNNA A. PHILLIPS

When she speaks, people listen. Whether she is talking about the latest thing her baby boy learned, or telling the staff about the latest research she found, people listen because of Chynna’s fierce and passionate voice.

Chynna cares deeply about health equity and advocating for vulnerable populations, and uses her gift of voice to speak for and with others. Not only is she passionate about serving others, but she does it well. Chynna’s belief of “excellence is the standard by which you should operate” has been passed down from her family, and is evident in her work as the Foundation’s research and policy manager.

Lastly, Chynna has the ability to light up the office when she walks in. Making even the grumpiest morning person smile, her laughter and kind spirit is infectious. Ironically, she mirrors the character of her hero, Dorothy Irene Height. Height was a lifelong Civil Rights and Women’s Rights activist. Chynna admires Height’s commitment to what she believed in, her humility, and her poise. It is safe to say that Chynna is following in her footsteps.

Favorite Quote:
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced,” James Baldwin

Education: M.S.W. and M.P.H. (University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC); B.A. in Sociology (Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH)

Community Engagement: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and Phi Alpha Social Work Honors Society

# # #

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina is a statewide foundation that works to reduce poverty through action, advocacy, and leadership. Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina is located in Columbia, South Carolina.

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Tags:  2020 Census  Advocacy  Census  Guiding Principles & Best Practices  Leadership  Public Policy  Sisters of Charity 

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ICYMI - Advocacy Recap with Committee Chair Paige Stephenson

Posted By Paige Stephenson, Thursday, June 28, 2018

Image may contain: 9 people, people smiling, people standing

Dear Allies,

Together SC takes its advocacy responsibilities seriously. You look to us to keep watch and speak up, while always keeping you informed. Today’s letter aims to do just that.

The General Assembly ended its 2-year session in May but will soon return to finalize the budget and to consider unresolved energy bills. Here are a few important updates.

RAFFLE LEGISLATION AMENDED
Thanks to Senator Greg Hembree (Horry/R) who responded to concerns from several nonprofits, the Raffle Act that Together SC helped pass in 2013, was amended to ease restrictions on nonprofit raffles. 

ACTION REQUESTED: As the Raffle Act must be reauthorized before July 2020, we need to hear from you! Share your experiences and other changes needed.

FOIA CASE DECIDED BY SC SUPREME COURT
Another issue at the State House concerned the vulnerability of nonprofits to FOIA requests. Although H.3931 stalled in the House, the SC Supreme Court thoughtfully ruled on May 23 that nonprofits receiving public funds are not automatically subject to the state's Freedom of Information Act. The case arose from a 2013 suit against the Hilton Head-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce, a nonprofit organization. The opinion concluded that "while the Chamber technically expends public funds, we are firmly persuaded that the General Assembly did not intend the Chamber to be considered a public body for FOIA purposes based upon its receipt and expenditure of accommodation tax funds.”

Next year’s plan of work for your advocacy committee includes efforts to ensure fair reporting procedures and consistent standards to hold nonprofits accountable to public entities that grant or contract with nonprofit organizations.

WORKING IN COLLABORATION ON FEDERAL ISSUES
It takes a team to make legislative change happen. Today’s featured photo (above) was taken at a recent meeting with Senator Scott regarding the idea of Universal Charitable Deduction. We thank Clay Grayson for joining Madeleine in presenting our ideas and concerns.

We consider the United Way Association of SC one of our biggest allies and have looked to Naomi Lett as our expert on the opportunities for specific communities provided by Senator Scott’s Opportunity Zone legislation.

We are also proud to work with the National Council of Nonprofits. Last week’s Lobby Day in D.C. focused on five critical federal issues to be addressed, including renewed threats to repeal the Johnson Amendment, that protects nonprofits from partisan politics.

AMPLIFYING YOUR THANKS & SHARING YOUR GREAT WORK
The end of the legislative session is a good time to thank those leaders who worked on your behalf. Keep us in the loop, so we can amplify your praise with an additional “shout out” from Together SC.

We love sharing the great advocacy work you're doing. Today’s 'Collective Voice' section offers some great examples. Thanks to all for sharing.

As always, we look forward to working with you as we advocate together for good.

Your Ally for Good,
Paige Stephenson
Chair, Together SC Public Policy Committee
President and CEO
United Way of the Piedmont

Tags:  Advocacy  Collective Voice  Raffle Act 

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Momentum Growing for IRS to Delay Implementation of New UBIT Rules; Action Needed

Posted By Madeleine McGee, Monday, June 25, 2018

Last week, the National Council of Nonprofits sent a comprehensive and compelling letter to the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service requesting delay of the implementation of two new taxes on nonprofits from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. 

The letter identifies dozens of challenges and questions that nonprofits have with the new federal tax law and demands that the IRS delay implementation of the new unrelated business income tax provisions in Section 512(a)(6) and 512(a)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code until one year after the IRS promulgates final regulations on these new laws. 

Section 512(a)(7) imposes a new, counter-intuitive tax on nonprofits' transportation and parking expenses. Section 512(a)(6) requires nonprofits with business income to pay the tax on each separate "trade or business" and prohibits the blending of profits and losses across lines of business. 

Both changes took effect on January 1, 2018 and both are causing significant confusion for many nonprofits because their applicability is unclear without further guidance from the IRS. 

TAKE ACTION: 
Add your voice to the call for relief!

Go to the IRS public comment form and ask  that Treasury and the IRS delay implementing the two new UBIT subsections until one year after Final Rules are promulgated(In the public comment form’s line for Form/Instruction/Publication Number,fill in "Form 990-T".)

Thanks for taking action!

Tags:  Advocacy  IRS  UBIT 

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Together SC Speaks Up for South Carolina Nonprofits on Capitol Hill

Posted By Madeleine McGee, Monday, June 11, 2018

Together SC’s president, Madeleine McGee was in Washington, DC last week,advocating with the National Council of Nonprofits on federal policy issues affecting nonprofits. Here’s a recap of the five key issues discussed with congressional staff:

  • Preserving nonprofit nonpartisanship. Certain members of Congress are trying to repeal or weaken the Johnson Amendment - the provision in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that protects nonprofits from being corrupted by partisan politics. Together SC asked our members of Congress to protect nonprofit nonpartisanship by rejecting these efforts, the most recent of which is a rider in a House appropriations bill that could be considered in a committee next week. 

 

  • Delaying implementation of new taxes on tax-exempt nonprofits. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes a provision that requires tax-exempt nonprofits to pay unrelated business income tax on the expenses they incur for employee parking and transit benefits. Besides being bad policy, this new tax is causing problems for nonprofits because the IRS hasn't issued guidance to answer a variety of questions about how it applies to particular nonprofit situations. Together SC urged our members of Congress to ask the IRS to delay implementation of this new tax until the IRS issues clear guidance. 

 

  • Creating a universal, non-itemizer charitable deduction. Because the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubled the standard deduction, fewer taxpayers will be using the charitable deduction in 2018. Researchers estimate that this will lead to a significant reduction in charitable contributions. Congressman Mark Walker (R-NC) has introduced the Universal Charitable Deduction Act (H.R. 3988) to solve this problem and to provide incentives for low and moderate income individuals and families to give generously to nonprofits.

 

  • Securing a complete and accurate count in the 2020 U.S. Census. Together SC asked our members of Congress to ensure that there is adequate federal funding for the 2020 Census. We also asked them to take action to remove the citizenship question from the Census, which could lead to a significant undercount in South Carolina and other states. The U.S. Department of Commerce recently added this question to the Census even though it hasn't appeared on the Census in the past six decades.

 

  • Preserving the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. The PROSPER Act, a higher education bill, includes a provision that would end this student loan forgiveness program for people who work for nonprofits or in other public service jobs for 10 years while consistently paying down their student loans. The elimination of this loan forgiveness program could make it harder for nonprofits to attract talented young staff in the future. Together SC asked our members of Congress to reject the PROSPER Act.

 


 

Madeleine McGee pictured with Nick Myers, Senior Counsel and Emily Lavery, Deputy Legislative Assistant for Senator Graham 

 

Tags:  Advocacy  census  DC  nonprofits  Washington 

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Raffle Act Amended

Posted By Ann Timberlake, Monday, June 11, 2018
Thanks to the responsiveness of Senator Gregg Hembree (Horry/R) to concerns from local nonprofit organizations, legislation to ease restrictions on nonprofit raffles was adopted and signed by the Governor. 

S.812 allows noncash prizes to be increased from $500 to $950, raises the limit on ticket prices from $100 to $300 and adds a section defining circumstances for volunteers to participate in bingo games. 

We thank Senator Hembree for his leadership and look forward to working with both the House and Senate next year to reauthorize the Raffle Act before its slated expiration on July 1, 2020. 
 
Look for your opportunity to let us know about your experiences with raffles and the Secretary of State's office later this year.

 

Click here to view the bill.


 

About Ann Timberlake

Ann honed her advocacy skills in her early years volunteering in conservation campaigns to protect iconic places in South Carolina like the Congaree Swamp and the Chattooga River. She gained her first political experience in 1978 as a county coordinator for Dick Riley’s gubernatorial campaign.

 

 

After working as a sales representative for the Pillsbury Company, Ann opened a full service, neighborhood grocery, The Purple Cow, in downtown Columbia. In 2003, she returned to conservation and political work as the founding executive director of the new Conservation Voters of South Carolina.

 

Over thirteen years, Ann worked with Board members and donors to grow CVSC from an initial budget of $60,000 to a fully staffed, thriving organization with a budget over $600,000. She made bi-partisanship a trademark for conservation in South Carolina, elevated CVSC as a force in state electoral politics and helped the conservation community unite in support of “common agenda” priorities at the State House.


Ann has served on numerous community boards, including a recent term with the South Carolina Association of Non-profit Organizations. She is a lifelong resident of South Carolina and a graduate of Newcomb College of Tulane University. She and her husband, Ben Gregg, have two adult children.  

Tags:  Advocacy  nonprofits 

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Together SC's new lobbyist: Ann Timberlake

Posted By Benjamin Bullock, Together SC, Monday, April 3, 2017

Advocacy is vital to the work of the Nonprofit sector. We all know this to be true, yet it is some of the work that is most difficult for us to engage in. It’s so easy to throw up our hands and say “Who has the time?” Your state Nonprofit Network, Together SC, is not immune to that feeling. A big part of our strategic planning, which led us to transform SCANPO into Together SC, was the recognition that we need to do more to advocate for the 25,000+ nonprofit organizations that do great work across South Carolina. We’ve just taken a big step to do that.

Together SC has hired a lobbyist. 

Ann Timberlake has been advocating for environmental conservation her entire life. She honed her advocacy skills in her early years volunteering in conservation campaigns to protect iconic places in South Carolina like the Congaree Swamp and the Chattooga River. She gained her first political experience in 1978 as a county coordinator for Dick Riley’s gubernatorial campaign.

After working as a sales representative for the Pillsbury Company, Ann opened a full service, neighborhood grocery, The Purple Cow, in downtown Columbia. In 2003, she returned to conservation and political work as the founding executive director of Conservation Voters of South Carolina.

Over thirteen years, Ann worked with Board members and donors to grow CVSC from an initial budget of $60,000 to a fully staffed, thriving organization with a budget over $600,000. She made bi-partisanship a trademark for conservation in South Carolina, elevated CVSC as a force in state electoral politics and helped the conservation community unite in support of “common agenda” priorities at the State House.

She is a lifelong resident of South Carolina and a graduate of Newcomb College of Tulane University. She and her husband, Ben Gregg, have two adult children. 

 

Tags:  Advocacy  Collective Voice  Public Policy 

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Public Trust in Nonprofits at Risk - Take 2 Minutes to Help Keep Politics Out of Nonprofits

Posted By Madeleine McGee Together SC, Friday, March 24, 2017

Last month, President Trump announced his plan to "get rid of and totally destroy" the federal tax law provision requiring 501(c)(3) nonprofits to be nonpartisan (which has been called the Johnson Amendment). Following up on the President's statement, Congress is seriously considering legislation that would politicize charitable nonprofits and foundations. The National Council of Nonprofits, Together SC and many other charitable nonprofits strongly oppose efforts to politicize charitable nonprofits. These proposals would harm nonprofits by:

  1. Subjecting charitable nonprofits and foundations to demands for campaign contributions (and thereby diverting donors' money away from mission-related work to benefit politicians); and 
  2. Damaging the public trust in the work of nonprofits. 

Furthermore, the repeal or revision of the Johnson Amendment isn't necessary to protect the free speech of nonprofits, foundations, and churches. Nonprofits - and their individual staff, board members, and volunteers - already have many legal avenues to freely express their views on a wide range of policy issues.

Together SC proudly joins the National Council of Nonprofits, our national network, and nonprofits and foundations across the country, in signing onto a special Nonprofit Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship

Here's what you can do today: Join other South Carolina nonprofits in signing your organization onto the Nonprofit Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship

Thank you if your nonprofit has already signed on to the letter.

Madeleine McGee | President

Tags:  Advocacy  National Council of Nonprofits 

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Changes Coming for Nonprofits in the New Congress and Administration

Posted By Benjamin Bullock, Together SC, Thursday, January 5, 2017

With the likely change from government gridlock to fast and furious legislating in Washington this month, many nonprofit and foundation professionals are struggling to see how the pieces fit together and where their advocacy efforts can promote positive solutions. Our national network, the National Council of Nonprofits*, just published a look at six federal issues of sector-wide importance that will likely be taken up in the coming weeks and months, and lays out what they mean for your nonprofit. We encourage you to read the article Nonprofits Need to Stand Together to Push for Smart Public Policies,” share it with your board and other stakeholders, and be ready to stand up to defend nonprofit missions. Working with our colleagues at the National Council of Nonprofits, we will keep you informed on developments in our nation’s capital that affect the work of nonprofits in South Carolina.

*SCANPO member organizations are also members of the National Council of Nonprofits!

Tags:  Advocacy  Congress  National  National Council of Nonprofits  Public Policy  Trump 

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2016 SC Election Results Recap

Posted By GP McLeer, SC Arts Alliance, Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, November 9, 2016

                               2016 Election Recap

The 2016 election wrapped up very early this morning, with the presidential call coming around 2:30am. Over the course of the night we monitored every race that impacts South Carolina, from the State House to the White House. We at the SCAA look forward to working all newly elected officials and those returning for another term, working together to keep the arts alive in our state and nation!

Today, we bring you an update on who won last night. While final numbers are still being tabulated in some areas, winners have been declared in each race. Below you will find results from each race in South Carolina. Click here to read more.

  GP McLeer

GP McLeer is the Executive Director of the South Carolina Arts Alliance, the only statewide organization dedicated to advancing the arts for all South Carolinians through advocacy, leadership development and public awareness. The SC Arts Alliance is a proud member organization of SCANPO.

Note: Numbers are subject to change and reflect totals as of the morning of Tuesday, November 9.

 

 

 

Tags:  advocacy  elections  nonprofits 

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