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ICYMI - Advocacy Recap with Committee Chair Paige Stephenson

Posted By Paige Stephenson, Thursday, June 28, 2018

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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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Brewery Beer Donations at Risk

Posted By Brook Bristow, Bristow Beverage Law, Friday, July 22, 2016

Hi SCANPO friends, 

As someone deeply involved in the alcoholic beverage industry, I'm concerned with SLED's (SC Law Enforcement Division) anticipated stepped-up enforcement of a 20-year-old state law prohibiting breweries from donating their products to nonprofits.

It's always been the policy, but it hasn't been wholly enforced until now; that's why everyone is getting upset.

I predict that the crackdown will ultimately affect manufacturers of wine and spirits, along with any charitable groups seeking alcohol donations for special events. You can learn more about how these laws will affect you (and whether there's a need to change these laws) by joining me on August 3 at 11 am for my Wednesday Webinar presentation.

This is huge - it's not just about beer. The new focus on upholding these laws will affect everybody.

You can find out more by reading my overview on the policy and how it will affect nonprofits.

I hope you can join me on August 3.

Brook Bristow

Beverage Law Attorney and Owner of Bristow Beverage Law

P.S. Read more about SLED's plans in a recent Post and Courier article.

Below is a picture of Brook in front of the Cloud Gate in Chicago, IL.

Tags:  Advocacy  beer donations  fundraising  Legal  nonprofits  rules  SLED 

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Reflecting on the Power of Nonprofit Advocacy and Nonprofit Networks

Posted By Tim Delaney, National Council of Nonprofits, Monday, January 18, 2016

In the minds of most Americans, the image of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., is of a man standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial delivering one of the finest speeches the world has ever heard.

While we normally focus on his mesmerizing cadence and inspiring words, we neglect to consider that he stood there not as just a great orator, but as the president of the nonprofit Southern Christian Leadership Conference and minister of a nonprofit Baptist church, surrounded by leaders of hundreds of nonprofits who had successfully rallied more than a quarter million Americans to participate peacefully in the 1963 March on Washington to advocate for people.

Dr. King’s astounding rhetorical gifts will continue to inspire generations to come. But equally important to the event’s success that particular day was how Dr. King and other nonprofit leaders advanced their nonprofits’ missions of helping people by flooding the streets of D.C. with a then-unprecedented number of individuals, forcing federal officials to begin paying attention to the power of the convictions of the American people. 

This week, as we listen to Dr. King’s immortal “I Have a Dream” speech, I urge us all to reflect on the power that nonprofits can yield when advocating to advance their missions to help people.


When doing so, let’s also reflect on the power of a network, as seen by those working closely with Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to make the March on Washington a success, particularly these luminaries of the civil rights movement: James L. Farmer, Jr., of the Congress of Racial Equality,(now Congressman) John Lewis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, A. Philip Randolph of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, Roy Wilkins of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Whitney Young of the National Urban League

Their courageous leadership demonstrated that when ignored individuals come together through nonprofits, they can be heard, and when separate nonprofits come together through nonprofit networks, they and those they serve can be heard even better. Thanks to these and other nonprofit leaders, we know that advocating to advance our missions works, and that working through networks works. In sum: Together, we can!

This guest post was shared by Tim Delaney, President & CEO of National Council of Nonprofits.

Tags:  Advocacy 

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