Past Accomplishments

Highlights:

  • Annual Nonprofit Awareness Day – Passed legislation that created this state-recognized day.
  • Endowment Access – Allows nonprofits to access more of their funds.
  • Cost of College Containment – Created college loan forgiveness for those working in nonprofits.
  • Decreased Financial Reporting Requirements for nonprofits with a budget under $200,000.
  • Question 1 – Worked with the statewide coalition to defeat the income tax repeal.

State Accomplishments

  • Nonprofit Awareness Day: Through MNN’s efforts , Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to pass a law establishing a statewide Nonprofit Awareness Day each year, the second Monday in June, to honor the work of nonprofits.
  • Reducing Nonprofit Financial Overhead: Massachusetts law requires that every nonprofit  organization above a certain annual budget threshold have an external financial review. MNN led the successful effort to raise that threshold from $100,000 to $200,000. This will save smaller Massachusetts nonprofits about $25 million over five years.
  • Endowment Reform: Worked with Mass Audubon on the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA) legislation. Foundations and charities can now expend or donate more than 5%  of their endowment during a recession. This is intended to help nonprofits through difficult financial times.
  • Public Charities Law: Chapter 165 – AN ACT FURTHER REGULATING PUBLIC CHARITIES made necessary updates to the public charities law that will enable the Attorney General’s Nonprofit Organizations/Public Charities Division to continue to effectively and efficiently oversee the activities of charitable organizations in Massachusetts. These goals are accomplished by: strengthening compliance standards of active charities and professional solicitors, and making it easier for inactive charities to officially dissolve. Prior to its passage, nonprofits that wanted to dissolve had to go to the Supreme Judicial Court. This added to the perception that there were “too many nonprofits.” Application for dissolution now can be made to the Division of Public Charities, Massachusetts’ Office of the Attorney General. MNN also reviewed the original bill and made many changes in the compliance requirements to assure that nonprofits would be treated fairly in compliance cases. Governor Patrick signed this bill (S2117) into law on Monday, July 19, 2010.
  • Governor’s Nonprofit Liaison: Worked to establish a nonprofit liaison with the Governor’s office to advise him when cuts in services provided by nonprofits are being considered.
  • State Health Care Reimbursements: Collaborated on State Health Care Cost Reduction Act to ensure that state health care reimbursements are extended to nonprofits.
  • Ease Regulatory Effects of New Lobbying law: Led the effort to ease the regulatory impact of the state’s new lobbying law on nonprofits.
  • Health Care Purchasing Coops: Worked successfully with the Massachusetts Retailers’ Association on a law to allow small nonprofits (25 employees or fewer) to join together into health care buying cooperatives to moderate the cost of health care for nonprofits.
  • Protect State Revenues: Given the degree to which so many nonprofits depend on state funds for their work, MNN has been actively involved in the successful efforts to defeat state ballot questions that would have devastated the state budget. This included engaging volunteers in the successful effort to defeat Question 1 to repeal the state income tax in 2008 and Question 3 to reduce the sales tax in 2010. Together these questions would have cut more than a third of the state budget and devastated municipal budgets as well as state services.
  • Legislator of the Year Award: Each year, we award a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and a member of the Massachusetts State Senate MNN’s  Legislator of the Year Award for leadership on behalf of the nonprofit sector. We solicit media coverage of this honor for the recipients.
  • State Health Care Policy Initiative: With a grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Massachusetts, MNN has begun to undertake a long term look at how nonprofits can receive some relief from skyrocketing employee health care costs. Phase I of this process assembled a group of experts to explore the most viable options with the greatest impact. The report on Phase I is included in our Nonprofit Health Care Task Force page.

Federal Accomplishments

  • Cost of College Containment: Attracting a well-educated workforce to the nonprofit sector is about to get a lot easier, thanks to a piece of federal legislation which went into effect on July 1, 2009. The College Cost Reduction and Access Act offers forgiveness of interest and principle of any federal direct loan for  college graduates who spend at least ten years in the public or nonprofit sectors. MNN worked with the Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers (MCHSP) in an advocacy effort that involved hundreds of phone calls, letters (300 letters alone by human service organizations) and email messages, to include the nonprofit sector provision in the senate version of the bill. Once these numerous communications alerted the late Senator Edward Kennedy to the omission of the nonprofit provision in the Senate version, the Senator worked to assure that when the bill emerged from Conference Committee; the provision was included. Go to http://www.ibrinfo.org/ for more details on how to take advantage of this provision.
  • Health Care Reform: Worked with Sen. Kerry’s Office and the Independent Sector to ensure that the federal health care reform legislation did not restrict the health care tax credits to only for-profit organizations. As amended, nonprofits can now take advantage of a federal tax credit to cover some of their employee’s health care premiums. We are preparing an “estimator” that will help nonprofits take advantage of this in 2012 when it can first be claimed.
  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provided a foundation for future economic growth in key areas such as health care, clean energy, education, and infrastructure. In Massachusetts, many of the initiatives directly affect the nonprofit sector. For many months, we provided detailed information in our newsletter on how Massachusetts nonprofits could best take advantage of ARRA funds, which in the Commonwealth accounted for hundreds of millions of dollars.