MNN Kicks Off 2020 Census Efforts with Statewide Partners

2019-04-01 10.08.22

Secretary of State Bill Galvin launches statewide 2020 Census efforts in Framingham, MA.

Last Monday, MNN took part in two Census kickoff events. Secretary of State Bill Galvin launched statewide efforts at a ceremony in Framingham hosted with Mayor Yvonne Spicer (click here for Boston Globe coverage of the event). Boston Mayor Marty Walsh held a kickoff event with nonprofit and community leaders in East Boston (click here for WBUR coverage).

As trusted messengers, nonprofits can play an important role in driving Census participation in hard-to-count communities. Nonprofits that are interested in learning more about and getting involved with the 2020 Census can:

  • find and join their local Complete Count Committee using this tool on the Secretary of State’s website;
  • promote job opportunities with the Census Bureau within their networks; and
  • visit for an up-to-date list of tools and resources to aid in Census public education and outreach.

MNN will provide additional information and resources as the 2020 Census draws closer. Contact Fernando Martinez with any questions or comments.

Today is One Year Away from Census Day 2020

Census 1 Year Out Kickoff MemberNews
Census Day 2020 is April 1, 2020- a year from today. From every decennial census comes data that determines political representation and redistricting for the next ten years, informs academic and policy research, and drives over $16 billion in federal funding to Massachusetts every year for Medicare, Medicaid, Title I public school funding, infrastructure investments, and other important programs.

In the 2020 Census, nonprofits will play an important role in census education and outreach to the communities they serve. As trusted messengers, nonprofits can help maximize the participation of “hard-to-count” communities that may feel reluctant to complete the Census, or face challenges related to doing so. (For more information, read our June 2018 Commonwealth Insights report.)

As the 2020 Census draws closer, MNN will provide nonprofits with resources and tools to engage in public education and outreach. Click here for a list of resources for nonprofits to engage with the 2020 Census.

For more information on how to get involved with 2020 Census outreach, please contact MNN’s Marketing and Communications Manager Fernando Martinez.

MNN Calls for an End to Federal Government Shutdowns

Today MNN sent a letter to the Massachusetts congressional delegation calling for their support of legislation that funds the government through the end of the fiscal year and prevents future shutdowns.
“Shutdowns place an undue burden on nonprofits that step in when people who work for and rely on the federal government are left vulnerable,” said Jim Klocke, CEO of MNN. “We encourage Congress to enact a mechanism to prompt automatic continuing resolutions that protect service organizations and workers, and prevent the harmful disruption of future government shutdowns.”
The historic 35-day shutdown that lasted from December 22, 2019, to January 25, 2019, had significant, and likely long-lasting effects on nonprofits throughout Massachusetts.
In January, MNN surveyed nonprofits to determine how the shutdown impacted organizations and the people they serve. The specific impacts on nonprofits reported in the survey included:
  • increases in demand for services under existing budgetary constraints;
  • disruptions in current funding streams, and little to no federal technical assistance;
  • delays in anticipated grant cycles, including uncertainty around the status of grant applications and planned projects;
  • lapses in federal approval needed to carry out local activities.
The full letter can be viewed here.

Massachusetts Nonprofits Feel Squeezed by the Federal Government Shutdown

Nonprofits and those they serve are being impacted by the federal government shutdown, and many more may be affected if the shutdown continues, according to a survey conducted by the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN).

“The results of the survey speak to the incredible strain on nonprofits caused by the uncertainty of federal funding and increased demand for services,” said Jim Klocke, CEO of MNN. “Many organizations are on the front lines serving furloughed federal employees and others who are impacted by the shutdown.”

Among the specific impacts cited by nonprofits include:

  • disruptions in current funding streams, including delays in current grant programs, uncertainty around entitlement funding, and little to no federal technical assistance on grant and program administration;
  • delays in current or upcoming grant cycles, including uncertainty around the status of completed applications and planned projects;
  • lapses in federal approvals needed to carry out local projects and activities;
  • a reduced ability to carry out daily operations while facing an increased demand for services.

Erin McAleer, President of Boston-based nonprofit Project Bread, said, “Our clients—SNAP recipients—are confused and anxious. We are hearing from more people who need help accessing food, including furloughed federal employees. Mitigating the impact of the shutdown is our top priority, but as a nonprofit, the attention the shutdown demands is consuming significant resources and staff time across our entire organization.”

“The results from the survey make it clear that the shutdown must end,” said Klocke. “MNN recognizes the heightened need caused by the shutdown and will continue to serve the nonprofit sector during this critical time.”

MNN Releases 2019 Public Policy Agenda

Today MNN released its 2019 Public Policy Agenda that outlines the organization’s policy and advocacy priorities for the year. The agenda focuses on the following three goals important to the entire nonprofit sector:

1. Helping the people served by nonprofits.

Specifically, MNN supports: ensuring a complete count for the 2020 Census; reducing and eliminating “cliff effects,” which can force people served by nonprofits to choose between income growth and the loss of vital services; and expanding nonpartisan efforts to promote democracy, civic participation, and voting.

2. Strengthening nonprofits’ ability to serve people and communities.

Specifically, MNN supports: matching reporting requirements to the size of nonprofits, including the elimination of duplicative requirements placed upon small nonprofits; improving state policies that affect nonprofits as employers, including the new paid family leave policy and the employer medical assistance contribution; and enhancing the sustainability of state funding through long-term funding continuity and full and timely payment for services, including indirect and administrative costs.

3. Ensuring fair tax policy and supporting accountability.

Specifically, MNN supports: protecting the nonprofit tax-exempt status and educating decision-makers on the community benefits that nonprofits provide; improving the federal charitable tax deduction and re-establishing the state charitable deduction; and preserving the integrity of the sector by promoting best practices for nonprofit fiscal management.

To read the full 2019 Public Policy Agenda, click here.

MNN thanks its members for their expertise and support. MNN looks forward to continuing to represent the sector to decision makers at all levels of government, working collaboratively with its members and the broader nonprofit community.

Policymaker Roundtable on Cape Cod: Nov. 29, 2018

IMG_1738 (1)On Thursday, November 29, MNN co-hosted the third Policymaker Roundtable event of the year with Cotuit Center for the Arts and The Cape Cod Foundation. The Roundtable featured Jay Coburn, Chief Executive Officer of Community Development Partnership; Andrew Gottlieb, Executive Director of the Association for the Preservation of Cape Cod and a member of the Mashpee Board of Selectmen; and Pat Johnson, Chief of Staff for State Senator Julian Cyr. The event was held at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod.

Coburn, Gottlieb, and Johnson offered their advice on how nonprofits can best approach their relationship-building with legislators and other public policy makers. “Provide clear information and never assume with any legislator what their priorities might be,” said Johnson. “Nonprofits should figure out how to present their issue in a way that shows why its important and provides solutions,” added Gottlieb.

The panel further explored the relationship between nonprofits and advocacy work, and pointed out that nonprofits may already have the tools to start engaging with lawmakers on public policy issues that impact the communities they serve. Jay Coburn used development as an example: “As with a donor, a ‘no’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘no.’ It might mean, ‘not right now.’ It’s the same with legislators,” said Coburn.

MNN thanks Coburn, Gottlieb and Johnson for their insights into the role of nonprofits in public policy advocacy.

Stay tuned to MNN for announcements around upcoming Policymaker Roundtable events in the coming year.

Three Year Energy Efficiency Plan Favorable to Nonprofits

Cynthia Arcate, President and CEO of PowerOptions, represents MNN on the Energy Efficiency Advisory Council. Over the last several months, Cynthia has provided crucial input on the development of the 2019-2021 Three-Year Energy Efficiency Plans. She has advocated for the interests of Massachusetts nonprofits, and believes that the final plans represent a step forward to achieving greater energy efficiency for nonprofits statewide.

As a result, she voted to support the 2019-2021 Three-Year Energy Efficiency Plans that were filed at the Department of Public Utilities on October 31. The plans represent an evolution of Massachusetts’ energy efficiency programs and are intended to deliver deeper savings from new initiatives, especially for traditionally under-served populations, such as nonprofits.

When the Program Administrators filed their original plans back in April, Cynthia was concerned that they were not aggressive enough and would not continue Massachusetts’ nation-leading investment. However, through significant negotiation between the Program Administrators, the Energy Efficiency Advisory Council, and numerous outside stakeholders, all of whom contributed to the final, innovative plans, Cynthia is now eager for the plans to be approved and operational.

The energy efficiency plans have a budget of nearly $2.8 billion over the three years, with expected benefits of over $8.5 billion. This represents a savings of 2.70% and 1.25% of retail sales for the electric and gas programs, respectively. The gas savings are the largest in the program’s history.

Program Administrators have committed to addressing barriers that inhibit participation in the energy efficiency programs by traditionally under-served populations, such as small businesses and nonprofits. PowerOptions looks forward to helping the Program Administrators address the nonprofit barriers.

Now that the plans have been filed at the Department of Public Utilities, they must be ruled on by December 31, in order to take effect on January 1, 2019.

IRS Seeks to Block SALT Workaround, Could Impact Other Tax Credit-Backed Charitable Donation

In late August, the U.S. Treasury and the IRS released draft regulations in response to states (Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey) that had enacted “State and Local Tax (SALT) workarounds”. While each of these states had crafted slightly different proposals, all were designed to minimize the impact of the $10,000 SALT cap included in the federal tax reform bill. The SALT cap will have a disparate impact in states with high property taxes.
While these draft regulations were expected, their scope appears to be broader and could apply to some programs in states that provide a state or local tax credit when a taxpayer makes a donation to certain nonprofits. The proposed regulations would require taxpayers to treat the value of tax credits like other benefits received when making a charitable donation. The regulations will not apply to dollar-for-dollar state tax deductions for donations to charitable nonprofits, nor to programs that generate a tax credit of 15% or less.
According the National Council of Nonprofits, there are at least ten different types of state tax credit programs that could be impacted: Affordable Housing (2 states); Charitable Organizations (13 states); Conservation/Preservation (14 states); Economic Development (7 states) Education/Scholarships (18 states per GAO, below); Endowments (5 states); Food Banks (7 states); Historic Preservation (3 states); SALT Workaround (3 states); and Schools (8 states). MNN is looking into how (if at all) these regulations could impact Massachusetts tax credit programs, while recognizing that these are draft regulations and their impact on older tax credit programs will likely still need to be resolved.
If you know about a tax credit program that could be impacted, please reach out to Tonja Mettlach, Director of Government Affairs.

MNN Opposes Plan to Tax Massachusetts Colleges and Universities: “It’s Bad for Massachusetts”

BOSTON, MA – Today the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) declared its opposition to a proposal to levy a tax on the endowments of colleges and universities in Massachusetts.

“It’s a bad idea–for Massachusetts, and for everyone served by nonprofits in Massachusetts,” said Jim Klocke, CEO of MNN.

Nonprofits are a critical economic engine for Massachusetts, providing 550,000 jobs and employing over 17% of the state’s workforce. The state’s more than 33,000 nonprofits are cornerstones of Massachusetts communities. The nonprofit sector enriches neighborhoods and provides vital services to the state’s most vulnerable residents.

From scholarships to local students, to free and subsidized health care, to a wide array of environmental, artistic, historic, and cultural programs, Massachusetts nonprofits make immense contributions that benefit residents and government alike. In addition to delivering vital services, they provide hundreds of millions of dollars of community benefits each year.

In addition to their economic contributions to the Commonwealth, nonprofits are mission driven organizations. They contribute to the public good, provide services that government would have to provide absent the nonprofit, and re-invest any revenue surplus back into their budgets to further their mission. As such, nonprofits are treated differently under federal and state laws, including receiving tax-exempt status.

Nonprofits are already bracing for the negative impact of the recently passed federal tax reform legislation. According to a 2017 MNN report, the doubling of the standard deduction will make it more expensive for middle-income donors to give to nonprofits, and could potentially result in a decline in giving in Massachusetts by as much as $513 million beginning next year.

MNN Submits Testimony on EMAC Hardship Waiver Regulations

Today the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) submitted testimony on the temporary Employer Medical Assistance Contribution Supplement (EMAC) hardship waiver draft regulations. You can read the testimony here.

Last week, the Department of Unemployment Assistance released draft regulations relating to the EMAC Supplement hardship waiver. Read our September 13 blog post for key details that nonprofits should know.