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December 2017: A Note From Greg

Our sector is confronting the most significant challenge to its existence and identity that I’ve seen in my lifetime. I’m talking about tax reform.

You can read more about the devastating impact proposed legislation would have on the nonprofit sector here. Generally, the two issues at hand are:

  1. The (potential) removal of the Johnson Amendment, which enables nonprofits to focus exclusively on their mission, protecting them from political influence and partisanship.  Currently, the House bill would repeal the Johnson Amendment while the Senate bill preserves it.  Conferences are occurring now to resolve this difference.  I urge you to read more about this vital protection here.

  2. The increase in standard tax deductions, which will mean that millions of taxpayers who currently use the charitable giving deduction will lose it.  It is estimated that this could shrink giving to the nonprofit sector by approximately $13 billion or more each year.

The most critical issue right now is the preservation of the Johnson Amendment.  At this pivotal time, the voice of our sector must be heard.  This includes nonprofit executives, staff members, Board members, donors, volunteers, and those whom you serve.

I urge you and your supporters to contact Senator McConnell’s Louisville office at (502) 582-6304.  Our friends and partners at Kentucky Nonprofit Network have shared the following messaging:

“I’m a Kentuckian calling in opposition to a very harmful provision in the tax bill that would weaken the Johnson Amendment and politicize charitable nonprofits, houses of worship, and foundations against our wishes. The harmful provision is Section 5201 of the House-passed tax bill.  We urge Senator McConnell to stand with the thousands of nonprofits and houses of worship working to improve the quality of life in Kentucky and tell conference committee members that the Johnson Amendment language in the House bill must be stripped from the final bill. We are counting on Senator McConnell’s leadership to protect nonprofit nonpartisanship. Thank you.”

We’re here for you as our sector faces these challenges. Whether you have a few questions or feel totally lost in this tax reform, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I can be reached by email at gnielsen@cnpe.org.

Together, our sector can ensure that our voice is heard and our work protected from the divisive forces of partisanship.  I want our nonprofit sector to retain its essential identity and value of bringing people and groups together to solve challenging issues.


Gregory Nielsen
Center for Nonprofit Excellence