Donors Forum’s first annual Policy Institute, which occurs before the conference, will be a hub for nonprofit professionals, policy advocates, and grantmakers to develop successful approaches for the difficult public policy challenges our organizations and communities face today. The Institute will offer national and regional insight into our tough political environment and lively, interactive conversation on communicating with today’s policymakers in order to protect and promote our critical missions.
Special Welcome by Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka
Session #1: Putting the ‘Pro’ in Nonprofit: What Policymakers Ignore about the Nonprofit Sector And What We Can do About It - A Conversation with National Council’s Tim Delaney
Every day, thousands of nonprofit and grantmaking professionals solve problems to strengthen communities and to improve and enrich the lives of everyone in Illinois. The nonprofit sector is the fourth largest employer in the state, and our philanthropic community continues to grow and bring innovation, investment, and independent thinking to our most challenging community problems. So why is it so hard for the issues and concerns of nonprofits and philanthropy to win traction with policymakers and other influential leaders? Tim Delaney (President & CEO, National Council of Nonprofits) will talk about our sector’s core value, history, and purpose, and why we need to put nonprofits and philanthropy on policymakers’ radar.
Session #2: On the Horizon: Policy Trends for the Nonprofit Sector
All over Illinois, nonprofits provide value to communities through the arts, education, human services, social justice, healthcare, and caring for the environment. Despite the value that Illinois nonprofits bring, the transparency with which they operate, and the trust that the public has in nonprofits, the sector is coming under increased scrutiny:
- The Subcommittee on Oversight of the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing in May on nonprofit tax issues, including IRS oversight of nonprofit hospitals, and universities.
- An Illinois state Senator proposed legislation to make nonprofits subject to the Freedom of Information Act and increased reporting burdens.
- The City of Chicago has imposed a tax for water and sewage usage on previously exempt nonprofits as part of its 2012 budget.
Are these isolated incidents or canaries in a mine, indicating a looming threat to nonprofit independence and self regulation? Join our panel of national and homegrown experts (Rick Cohen, National Correspondent, The Nonprofit Quarterly, Tim Delaney, President & CEO, National Council of Nonprofits and Ralph Martire, Executive Director, Center for Tax Budget Accountability) as they engage in a robust conversation, led by Prof. Christopher Mooney (University of Illinois at Springfield, Institute of Government & Public Affairs) about where this growing ‘concern’ about the sector is coming from, and how we can and must respond to it together.
Session #3: Keynote by Robert Egger, Founder & President of CForward
Robert is the Founder and President of CForward, a nonpartisan, 501(c)(4) advocacy organization that champions the economic role of the nonprofit sector and supports candidates who include the sector in their plans to strengthen the economy. He is also Founder and President of DC Central Kitchen, the country's first "community kitchen," where food donated by hospitality businesses and farms is used to fuel a nationally recognized culinary arts job training program. He was listed in the Nonprofit Times list of "50 Most Powerful and Influential" nonprofit leaders from 2006-2009. His keynote address will focus on mobilizing nonprofits and philanthropy in Illinois to effectively protect and promote our missions. Find out about getting involved (as an individual) with Cfoward here. Follow Robert at @RobertEgger and CForward at @Cforward. Also, he encourages you to use the hashtag #NP12 when tweeting about the advocacy and impact of nonprofits.