A Tax Policy that Empowers Community Solutions through Nonprofits and Foundations
Nonprofit organizations are dedicated to the public good: their work improves lives, strengthens communities and the economy, and lightens the burdens of government, taxpayers, and society as a whole. Supportive and predictable tax policies at the federal, state, and local levels are critical to the success of nonprofits in pioneering and implementing solutions to community problems and aspirations and enriching the quality of life. Forefront is committed to preserving the tax-exempt status of organizations that contribute to the well-being of their communities, as well as strengthening and expanding incentives for individuals to give their time and money to those organizations whose missions they support.
Budget and Spending Decisions that Allow Nonprofits to Meet Community Needs
The nonprofit sector’s ability to provide services that meet the critical needs of Illinois residents and enhance the communities and environment in which we live is dependent on restoring the state’s and the sector’s financial health and well-being. Forefront encourages all nonprofits (to the extent allowable) to be meaningful participants in the state budget process.
Mutual Transparency and Accountability that Ensures Public Trust
Forefront is committed to mutual transparency and accountability on behalf of both nonprofits and government. As stewards of public dollars, nonprofits funded directly by the public should adhere to the highest standards of transparency and accountability through the Illinois Charitable Trust Act, federal laws, and sector-wide best practices that provide donors with the information they want and need while providing necessary privacy protections. Likewise, government should meet its obligations to public trust by acting transparently and demonstrating accountability through its government officials, employees, and agencies in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, ethics and campaign finance laws, state contracts and statutory monitoring that provide taxpayers with the information they want and need while providing necessary privacy protections.
Advocacy Rights and Civic Engagement for Nonprofits and Foundations
The nonprofit sector is vital for democracy to be successful. As safe havens for people to gather to amplify their collective voices, nonprofits and foundations have a right to stand up and speak out for the public good, promote a more just and equitable society, and address other critical issues that limit their ability to pursue their missions effectively. Nonprofits often provide a voice for those individuals and groups who are unable to speak for themselves. Likewise, nonprofits share the responsibility to promote greater engagement of the citizenry, open elections, and open government.
Stronger, Competitive Nonprofit Jobs, Benefits, and Economic Capacity
Illinois’ 66,000 charitable nonprofits are on the front lines of helping residents when they are sick, hungry or poor and disadvantaged; conducting research to prevent and cure disease and enhance scientific discovery; promoting opportunity and personal achievement through education; protecting our environment; and enriching our lives through the arts, religion, and many other programs. Illinois’ charitable nonprofits are able to deliver these services through the efforts of over 517,000 employees. Our industry is the 4th largest in the state, and produces nearly 9% of Illinois’ GDP. As job creators, nonprofits can and should participate in the development of job growth policies at all levels.
Communities and the Human Potential within Them Must Be Protected
Illinois communities continue to be wracked by deep inequities. For many across the state, the effects of the worst recession in decades linger; almost one third of all Illinoisans are poor or low income. Poverty, as well as the attending inequities in education, environmental health, and access to healthcare, has increased steadily over the past few decades. As diverse communities struggle against these uneven tides which imperil the human potential within these communities, the national and domestic policy landscape threaten to include more rollbacks that could exacerbate these inequities.
Improve Collaborations of Public and Private Partnerships
Philanthropy and nonprofit organizations share a commitment with governments to improve lives and communities throughout Illinois. Forefront is committed to improving government-nonprofit contracting & payment systems, changing attitudes and beliefs about the importance of this partnership, and to strengthening the public-private partnership through collaboration and direct engagement.