In 1954, Congress added language to Treasury regulations requiring 501(c)(3) nonprofits to be nonpartisan. This has been seen as restrictive and opportunistic. We prefer to think of this as a way to offer an opinion about a variety of issues that impact the nonprofit sector and the communities we serve.
According to Nonprofit Vote, the national nonprofit sector is a formidable force: one million nonprofits with 13.5 million employees and 61 million volunteers. In our region, nonprofits are where we play, pray, heal, eat, live and learn. Ballot issues impact communities, employees, clients and volunteers of nonprofits.
Ballot measures ask voters to make decisions on constitutional amendments in our state. This year’s four statewide constitutional amendments on our November 8 ballot ask us to vote for or against changes to public education, a trust fund to assist minor victims of sex trafficking, a new structure for the Judicial Qualifications Commission and the use of tax revenue from the sale of fireworks for trauma care and public safety.
Recently, the Community Foundation produced a short video that showcases how voters understand – or don’t – these four proposals. Our person-on-the-street interviews were charming and funny and revealed the lack of understanding across a spectrum of local voters. People asked for dictionaries and lawyers to help decipher the legislative language into common parlance.
We have prepared information sheets on each issue to assist voters. There are links to lead you to a variety of opinions and knowledge about each, representing a span of debate. You can find these on our website here. We take our nonpartisanship seriously – just as seriously as we take our role as a civic leader. See you at the polls!