Something good happened in Congress last week. On April 26, Reps. Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Fred Upton (R-MI) introduced the Nonprofit Sector Strength and Partnership Act of 2022, which aims to increase collaboration between the federal government and nonprofits to better serve the sector and build healthy and equitable communities. This is an important bill for the nonprofit sector—and long overdue. The organization that I lead, United Philanthropy Forum, strongly supports this bill, and coordinated with Forum members to advocate for the bill as part of Foundations on the Hill a few weeks ago.
The bill (H.R. 7587) includes many provisions that give nonprofits an official “seat at the table” with the federal government, as described by our colleague Independent Sector (IS) that has led the charge on the bill’s development. The Forum along with many of our national colleague organizations, including IS, the Council on Foundations and the National Council of Nonprofits, have worked for many years to ensure that the voice and needs of the nonprofit sector were appropriately represented in key policymaking discussions and actions, and despite the best efforts of many people it’s always been a disjointed and uphill effort.
One recent example illustrates this point. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, all of our organizations, and many others in our network, worked quickly to ensure that the nonprofit sector was represented in COVID-19 relief legislation—which was not a given. Among many other things, these efforts allowed nonprofit organizations to apply for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans along with businesses. Any nonprofit organization that completed the PPP loan application discovered that it was clearly not designed with nonprofit organizations in mind. Had provisions of the Nonprofit Sector Strength and Partnership Act of 2022 been in place prior to the pandemic, I have no doubt that our sector would have been part of COVID-19 relief policy discussions and legislation in a more upfront and proactive way, rather than as more of an afterthought.
I encourage Forum members and all nonprofits to invite your Members of Congress to sign on as co-sponsors of this legislation. United Philanthropy Forum will continue to work with our members and national colleague organizations in the sector to advocate for the bill’s passage.
President & CEO
United Philanthropy Forum
Follow me @dbiemesderfer