The Soapbox and Toolbox for New York State's Nonprofits

NYCON's 2015 Public Policy Agenda

PowerPoint Presentation of NYCON's Public Policy Agenda for 2015.
Economic Impact Infographic:

nonprofit-revitalization-act-2013-photo.jpgNonprofit Revitalization Act

Guidance and Training

  • Advocate that the Attorney General follow through with promised guidance concerning the Nonprofit Revitalization Act’s new standards and its enforcement.We advocate that the Office of the Attorney General will:
    • provide standardized policy templates ASAP which may be downloaded on their website.
    • provide a regularly updated FAQ ASAP of pertinent questions and concerns in their website.
    • formally clarify expectations and criteria for nonprofit compliance and what will trigger their enforcement, especially during what the AG has stated is a “Glide Path” year (through July 1, 2105).

Legislative Efforts:

  • Collaborate with the Law Revisions Commission, and other leading groups in the nonprofit legal and fiscal fields, to develop and support a legislative bill of revisions.
  • Participate in future public hearings and committee meetings concerning changes to be made in Nonprofit Corporate law.
  • Oppose legislative bills introduced amending the law only for the special interest of an organization or small segment of the nonprofit community.
  • Be diligent in monitoring and providing Memos of Support to legislative bills which improve law and are in conjunction with NYCON’s principles.
  • Clarify responsibilities and procedures, as well as reducing redundant or duplicitous functions, assigned to the Attorney General and New York State Department of Education (with specific reference to chartered entities).
  • Support legislative efforts to implement required minimal Board Governance Training and/or certification for nonprofit board members. We strongly advocate for the reinstatement and expansion of the State Board Training Consortium (SBTC) to include all State agencies that contract with nonprofits.

Refining State Definitions:

  • Create consistency of the State’s Nonprofit Corporate Law terms with the federal Internal Revenue Code terms.
    • Change the definition of “Key Employee.” Current definition is too broad and as written can include any person within an interest to the organization, must at least stipulate that the individual must be currently employed by the organization.
  • Support modifications and expansion to the definition of “Independent Directors” in current NPCL, as well as revision in relation to “related party transaction” to solve duplicative regulation.

Improve State Law to Create Responsible and Effective Board Governance Standards:

  • Support efforts for an increase in the minimum number of Directors from three (3) to five (5).
  • Advocate for clarification as to Audit procedures and responsibilities among the board, committees, auditor, and executive employees.
  • Advocate for clarification of “Committees of the Board” and “Committees of the Corporation,” as well as what would be defined as a “binding” decision.  Would further advocate that previous titles be re-instated, as there is mass confusion as to how to re-interpret these new labels to current nonprofit board structure.

Board Compensation and Employees Sitting on Nonprofit Boards:

  • Oppose practices allowing a member of the board of directors to receive a salary, stipend, or any type of substantial compensation for serving as a member of the board of directors. Support legislation barring or limiting board compensation.
    • Continue efforts in support of legislative bills reintroduction of previous bills AB 2118/SB5115 concerning board compensation.
  • NYCON will draft a legislative bill, based on bill language of AB 7726/SB 5315, for this 2015-16 legislative session which will include the following:
    • Prohibit nonprofit employees from serving in the positions of Board Chair, Treasurer or Secretary
    • Prohibit nonprofit employees to serve as voting member of the board of directors.

Nonprofit’s Increased Threat of Liability Exposure:

  • Advocate for modifications that ensure nonprofit assets are not threatened due to increased liability exposure, especially from disgruntled former and current directors and officers, Members, and employees.
  • Alleviate current legal standards that are burdensome for board members and other volunteers who are asked to fill out increasingly complex questionnaires about themselves and their various family and business relationships.
  • Monitor the impact of the law on Insurance carriers that provide Directors and Officers (D&O) coverage to nonprofits

Grants_Gateway.jpgState-Government Nonprofit Prompt Payments and Contracting

New York State Grants Gateway: 

  • Advocate for modifications that ensure nonprofit assets are not threatened due to increased liability exposure, especially from disgruntled former and current directors and officers, Members, and employees.
  • Establish a working relationship with the recently formed Division of Budget’s Nonprofit Coordinating Unit, and support the unit in improving state prompt contracting and prompt payment issues, as well as compliance requirements nonprofits are confronted with when contracting with State agencies.
  • Continue to work with the InterAgency Coordinator for Not-for-Profit Services and NYS Grants Gateway State Agency staff in the following:
    • Ensure that state workforce assigned to the Grants Gateway are prepared and trained to handle large workloads, and able to properly approve documents and prequalify nonprofits in a timely manner.
    • Assist in establishing consistent messaging across all state agencies when communicating to grantees about their grant funding or processes.  

Interest Payments:

  • Support legislative bills, such as AB 8964/SB6482 and any others in the 2015-16 legislative session, which create a provision establishing or improving nonprofits entitlement to all prompt contracting interest due from a state agency.

Collaboration with State Comptroller’s Office Collaborative Initiatives:

  • Support the following recommendations made by the State Comptroller’s Office in improving the state-nonprofit government prompt contracting and payments:
    • Advocate that State agencies make prompt contracting a priority in practice not just policy.
    • Advocate that State agencies pay prompt contracting interest with the first payment when interest is due.
    •  Assist State agencies in creating their own internal grant program planning and development process including the realignment of contract start dates to reflect the time required for the procurement process
    • Advocate that the State publically release and utilize the data from the Grants Gateway to assess potential improvements to grant processing and enhancements to the Prompt Contracting Law, such as simplifying the calculation of interest payments
    • Support the State requiring NFPs to be prequalified only prior to Grants Gateway contract execution (not prior to application) in order to ensure the broadest pool of applicants possible.

Support statewide and national efforts in development and executing reforms to the Overhead Rate to ensure that all nonprofits contracting with the State receive reasonable reimbursement.

  • Advocate for fair and practical implementation of the new Federal OMB Guidance on Indirect Costs.
  • Collaborate and support GuideStar, BBB Wise Giving Alliance, and Charity Navigator campaign to end the “Overhead Myth.

Create the “Uncommon Sense Practical Guide to State Board Governance Standards”:

  • Update and revise NYCON’s previous “Standards for Common Sense: A Practical Guide to Basic Accountability Standards for New York Nonprofits” booklet. 
    • Provide booklet as a reference guide for nonprofits to review when trying to understand the various board governance standards set by several different state and federal regulators.
    • Collaborate with the State’s InterAgency Coordinator for Not-for-Profit Services, Nonprofit Coordinating Unit, State Agencies, and State Nonprofit Associations in the collection and analysis of data for the booklet

eo38.jpg Oppose State Laws and Regulations Limiting Executive  Compensation

  • Reverse Executive Order 38 through legislative action that will focus on dealing with those relatively few cases where true excessive compensation is likely as opposed to burdening nonprofits who do not engage in such practices.
  • Oppose an expansion of compensation reporting regulations by the State until such time that the Executive Chamber and/or AG have fully utilized existing reporting mechanisms for enforcement of compensation and other restrictions.
  •  Support efforts by the State to educate nonprofits regarding existing IRS regulations and best practices with respect to executive compensation.
  • Monitor legislative changes and impact of Executive Order 38 to nonprofit organizations and where appropriate support efforts by nonprofits who are unfairly sanctioned by this order.

work_for_a_nonprofit.png Public Awareness and Promotion of the State’s Nonprofit Sector

Improving Relationships among State Elected Officials and the Nonprofit Community:

  • Launch a social media editorial cartoon campaign in collaboration with our members and nonprofits across the state to effectively communicate our views on current policies and regulations to the general public and policymakers.
  • Create easy to learn educational materials on the basics of how nonprofits operate in NYS, then directly send them to elected officials offices.
  • Increase opportunities for nonprofit organizations to interact and have dialogue on important nonprofit issues with their legislators either via the web or in person.
  • Support the State to develop clear and pointed regulations regarding the interaction between policymakers governed by ethics regulations and the nonprofit community
    • Advocate for resources to support the effective enforcement of these regulations, as well as strong penalties that hold decision-makers accountable for acts that endanger the legal or ethical welfare of nonprofits, including the use of their affiliation with nonprofits for campaign purposes that may jeopardize the mission and legal status of charitable entities

NYCON develops and promotes an effective and vibrant charitable nonprofit community throughout New York State.  We strengthen organizational capacity, act as an advocate and unifying voice, help to inform philanthropic giving, and conduct research and planning to demonstrate relevance and impact.