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Nonprofit Espresso returns with a new look, new sound, and a new format.

This week, host Bryce Lord looks into the proposed Nonprofit Sector Strength and Partnership Act of 2022 and what it offers for the U.S. social sector.

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Transcript

 
Intro (00:00)

Welcome to Nonprofit Espresso. This is Bryce Lord, and yes, you are in the right place if you were looking for Nonprofits and Java. We are now Nonprofit Espresso. After running Nonprofits and Java for a while, I began to realize that a lot of people were misunderstanding the title. And I was getting a lot of questions. Like, is this about software? Or JavaScript? Is it about technology for nonprofits? What is this podcast about? And so I thought. Clearly that name isn't quite getting things across in the way that I thought. So let's try something else and started thinking about how to get the idea across that we're focusing on these little short hits of nonprofit interest.

And how we may be able to get that across and a co-worker suggested, "Well, what about Nonprofit Espresso?" And I thought, that kind of lands right. It's  this short, brief, hopefully energizing hit about something exciting or hopefully exciting to you. So let's try that for a little while. And if that doesn't work well, maybe I should just rethink the whole thing. But moving forward this podcast is now known as Nonprofit Espresso.

We've made a couple of other changes as well. You can still find us on the web at nonprofitespresso.com. And we're on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. And as always, you can find this podcast wherever you find your podcasts. We're pretty much out there everywhere. And if you have any questions, comments, ideas, you can email me directly at Bryce at nonprofit espresso dot com.

We're still going to be having a lot of the same type of content as before. I'll be having conversations with people that work in the nonprofit sector. We'll learn about the work they do and their organizations and how they connect to their communities.

I'm also introducing a little thing as well that I'm going to call a Nonprofit Espresso Single Shot.  How's that for clever. Uh, or not. Every other week for about 15 to 20 minutes, we'll take a look at topics of interest, things in the news, blog posts that I've come across. Things that just spark a conversation that I think you might find interesting. Or maybe that I think you should find interesting having to do with the non-profit or social sector of the United States. We'll be alternating between these Single Shots and the interviews and see how that goes for a while and mix things up a little bit.

I'd also like to add a new dimension to the podcast that is a little bit more interactive. So if you have an idea for a topic or perhaps you represent a nonprofit organization that you would like to feature on Nonprofit Espresso, feel free to email me at bryce@nonprofitespresso.com, introduce yourself and let's have a conversation and see where it goes.

And as always, go ahead and like, and comment and follow and review on your various podcast platforms. Let me know how it's going. It also helps get this podcast out to other people who might find it interesting.

And so with that, let's get the show on the road and dip into our very first Nonprofit Espresso Single Shot. 

Nonprofit Sector Strength and Partnership Act of 2022 (03:23.5)

If you were paying attention earlier this week , you may have noticed that there is a new piece of legislation that has been introduced into the house of representatives as a bill  that could have some pretty significant impact on the nonprofit sector here in the U S. 

The Nonprofit Sector Strength and Partnership Act of 2022 I was brought to the floor by Representative Betty McCollum of Minnesota and Representative Fred Upton of Michigan   to try and establish more formal relationships and collaboration with the U S government on a federal level and the nonprofit and charitable sector.

It's interesting to note that these two representatives come from two states, Minnesota, and Michigan, that both have very, very strong nonprofit state associations. Those are those organizations that advocate for and push forward the social sector within their states. And both Minnesota and Michigan have two of the strongest state associations in the country. And so they clearly got together and said, what can we do to create a more productive discussion between the U S government and the charitable sector here in the U S. And so they put forward this bill to  get things started on that path. The Independent Sector, which is a great advocacy focused website and a publication that is a great place for this kind of news resource and staying up to date on what's going on nationwide, has put together some information I think you're gonna find really useful. You can go to their website or pretty much anywhere and find the actual legislation. It's not all that long and reads surprisingly easy. Outlining a number of different projects and initiatives that are a part of this act.

But what the Independent Sector has done is put together sort of a breakdown. They've taken out all of the legaleze to break down and point out what specifically this bill is proposing. And I want to go over some of that with you. Cause I think this has the potential to be very, very significant. We saw some temporary action from the federal government during the pandemic in terms of The payment protection plan, but this could potentially be the single most, in my opinion, the single most powerful piece of legislation to affect the social sector to come along in a very long time.

One of the things that it does specifically is it creates an Office on Nonprofit Sector Partnership within the White House, within the executive office of the president, headed up by a nonprofit advisor who serves as an assistant to the president. Making recommendations on policies and partnerships with the government, and then coordinates the annual release of data about nonprofits that is collected by different federal agencies.

Then to also focus on improving the federal grant process, which as we all know, can be hair- raising and challenging, even on a good day.  There's a clear initiative to try and make that connection a little smoother, and help to facilitate that connection that much more.  The proposal is that there will be somebody in the White House who has the president's ear to advise him on what is going on in the social sector. It also would establish a commission on federal grant reform to improve that relationship on all levels of government and the nonprofit sector.

The bill also then goes a step further and proposes establishing what we'll call it an inter-agency council. It's comprised of representatives from the President's cabinet. As well as the Corporation for Community and National Service, Endowment for the Humanities, Endowment for the Arts, National Science foundation, and more.  But it's to meet multiple times a year and release a report providing recommendations on how the nonprofit sector can best leverage federal investment. As well as how to strengthen the sector's ability to address issues of significance.

It also proposes creating an advisory board specifically focused on the nonprofit sector with  eight different presidential appointees that include our advisor, who's in the white house, and eight congressional appointees, drawn from the sector, and reflecting the diversity, as well as organizational size and type, chaired by our friend, the advisor in the White House and one other member from the panel and they are not to be from the same political party. So there's at least an attempt at bipartisanship in this advisory board.

That I think in itself, those particular steps, are huge. Just to initiate the discussion of the charitable sector on a federal level in the White House, supported by the White House, moving forward.

We see this kind of discussion going on about the for-profit sector all the time. In fact, there's a lot of comparisons to some of these initiatives to the Small Business Adminstration that provides a lot of support to small businesses, for-profit businesses, in order to bolster the economy. And what we're seeing here is an actual attempt to, in my opinion, in my words, help to bolster our society, which is where the focus of most nonprofits work takes place, and trying to fix and right the wrongs that we see around our country.

The act also focuses a lot on providing data to the general public about the nonprofit sector, I think twice a year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is demanded, according to the act, to release information on the trends of volunteerism. Going to look at broadened national service, AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, that kind of thing.

In What might be one of the most boots on the ground implications for nonprofits, it creates a reform project focusing on form 10 23, E Z. That we call the postcard, which non-profits with a revenue or a budget of 50,000 and under, submit every year in lieu of a Form 990, representing their financial activity over the past year. The Treasury Department oversees all of this, being that it oversees the IRS. But what they're saying is that the Form 1023 E Z is going to be done away with, and they are going to conduct an analysis to come up with something better. We're not sure what that means yet, but they are very actively looking into finding better options than we currently have.

From my perspective, working in an academic research Institute, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is then also directed to release quarterly economic data about nonprofit organizations. It does this already for for-profit organizations. But nobody is actively looking, at least on a governmental level, at the economic impact information about the nonprofit sector. And that  is very important because I don't think the general public has any clue just how important the sector is to us.

Here in Wisconsin, the nonprofit sector is the third largest workforce in our entire state. That's behind real estate, which includes construction, and then hotel and restaurant services, which you could translate to tourism. But then comes the nonprofit sector. I believe it's 12% of our entire workforce here in Wisconsin is tied to nonprofit work. That's pretty significant when you think of that nationwide.

And the fact that most people have no idea that this is the case, and get they connect to nonprofits in their daily lives. I think there's a really significant attempt to make this all much more visible, transparent, and front and center in the national psyches, zeitgeist, whatever you wanna call it.

And help to strengthen the sector, as a result, in the longterm.  Now this was just introduced earlier this week. So this is all wishful thinking at this point. And, of course, there will be a lot of give and take, back and forth. It has to go through the House and the Senate and the White House and back and forth. Who knows what will come out on the other end?

But to me, it's pretty significant that there are people on the federal level that have noticed. And have seen these discrepancies and seen the opportunity for improvement and are actually taking steps. Because as we all know, the government doesn't always do that to the best of their ability, I would say, in many different areas. But I think we're on the right path.

So,  if you have any thoughts or observations about the Nonprofit Sector Strength and Partnership Act of 2022, send me an email -bryce@nonprofitespresso.com. Let me know your thoughts, where you see this going. Do you think it's important? Do you think it's not important? I'm more than happy to I hear your thoughts. Let me know what you get out of all of this.

Wrap Up (12:45.5)

That's our very first Nonprofit Espresso Single Shot. We'll be coming up with different topics for you in the future. If there's something that you would like to have us look into, by all means, let me know. And as always rate, review and subscribe. It helps get this podcast out to other people. Makes it more visible to other people, like you, who might find this interesting. 

 Join me next week when I will be having a wonderful conversation with Beth Ridley of Ridley Consulting Group, on the very important topic of diversity, equity and inclusion in the nonprofit workforce. 

Enjoy your week and we'll talk to you soon.