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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University October 27, 2008 | Vol. 38 No. 9
Nonprofits Look to New President for Improved Policies, Study Finds

By Mimi Bilzor
Institute for Policy Studies

With a major economic crisis pressing on America's families and communities, the nation's nonprofit organizations are looking to a new presidency for help in responding. And they have some definite ideas about what is needed, according to a new survey by the Johns Hopkins University Nonprofit Listening Post Project.

Heading the list of priority measures identified by a cross section of nonprofit executives were these four measures:

♦ Restoration and/or growth of funds for their field in the federal budget.

♦ Reinstatement and expansion of tax incentives for charitable giving and volunteering, including those embodied in the estate tax.

♦ Federal grant support for nonprofit training and capacity building.

♦ Reforming reimbursements under Medicare, Medicaid and other federal programs to ensure that they cover the real cost of services.

"At a time of severe economic strain, our country needs a strong nonprofit sector more than ever," said Lester M. Salamon, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, which conducted this survey as part of its Listening Post Project. "However, nine out of 10 respondents to our survey reported little improvement in government policy toward their organizations over the recent past, as well as a considerable need for support to meet the challenges the country is now facing."

Other policy measures identified by substantial majorities of responding nonprofit executives as somewhat or extremely useful include:

♦ College loan forgiveness for students who choose jobs in nonprofit organizations (85 percent of respondents).

♦ A broad nonprofit investment tax credit to offset the unlevel playing field nonprofits confront in accessing capital to finance technology, facilities and capacity building (83 percent).

♦ Expansion of AmeriCorps and other national service programs that work with nonprofits (74 percent).

Beyond these concrete steps to strengthen the ability of nonprofits to help those they serve, nonprofit executives also overwhelmingly endorsed a variety of broader shifts in national policy, including greater attention to issues of poverty (86 percent), universal health insurance (80 percent) and a community service obligation for students receiving college student aid (75 percent).

The full text of Nonprofit Policy Priorities for the New Administration is available online at:


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