CalNonprofits convention attendees photo
CalNonprofits is...
...a statewide alliance of nearly 10,000 organizations, representing and promoting California’s growing nonprofit sector. We work to bring the full power of nonprofits to strengthening communities.
McCumber at annual convention, November 2013
Our advocacy...
…focuses on raising your voice to policy makers, philanthropy and the public, and strengthening your ability to advocate on behalf of your community.

Latest News for Nonprofits

First, we must point out: unprecedented work by California nonprofits in voter registration and mobilization paid off. California's voter turnout rate was close to the high 2008 levels, and turnout was remarkably high among "historically low voting populations."

The passage of Prop 30 -- temporary taxes on the wealthy to support education and other services -- is just one victory of the turnout. The nonprofit California Calls is just one example: they contacted 415,000 targeted voters, identifying 320,000 who supported Prop 30 and who they contacted again. Estimating that 55% of those "yes" voters went to the polls, they represented nearly 50% of the margin by which Prop 30 won.

And our own Vote with Your Mission campaign -- which 241 nonprofits joined, pledging to try to get 100% of their staff and volunteers to vote -- helped nonprofits begin to frame our sector as a voting block. In fact, nonprofits called on 5,535 staff and 45,308 volunteers to vote "with the values and mission that brings you to the nonprofit sector."

In short: we can get our staff, volunteers and constituents to the polls. Next we need to analyze what had the strongest impact.

2. Obama's re-election means that things won't change for nonprofits as much as they would have changed if Romney had won.

If Romney had won, there would be opposition at the top to causes traditionally associated with nonprofits: safety net funding, health care provision, immigration reform, environmental sustainability, and civil rights.

So not much has changed: that's the good news and the bad news. We can still expect cuts and problems. But hopefully we will be playing offensive rather than defensive. So things may get a little better, or maybe not, but at least we won't spend all our energy the next four years fighting to keep from losing ground. And as Dan McQuaid of OneOC told us, "We will still have to wrestle with the economy."

3. Prop 30 probably won't be felt by nonprofits as increases in funding. But we should be aware that its passage prevents big cuts that would have happened otherwise. As we and many other nonprofits pointed out in endorsing Proposition 30, temporarily increased taxes on those most able to pay them are not only necessary, but passing Prop 30 fends off draconian cuts that would have been automatically triggered without the anticipation of new revenue. The main positive of Prop 30 will be funding for K-14 education (great that it's K-14 and not just K-12) and balancing the state budget, much of which the California Budget Project points out will go to city and county governments. [CalNonprofits endorsed Proposition 30.]

4. And, by passing Prop 30, California voters sent a message to the legislature and to the rest of the nation: we are not blindly opposed to all tax increases. In fact, we want tax increases when we know they are needed. Let's give Jerry Brown and ourselves some credit here: we have made a small step away from the decades-long insistence that no one will ever vote for increased taxes.

5. Propositions in which nonprofits played crucial roles had mixed results:

  • Proposition 31 -- Two-Year Budget Cycle and other changes -- failed, a central project of the government reform nonprofit California Forward. Post-election consensus points to its length (about 36 pages) and complexity as having confused voters, along with mixed reviews of its substantive matters. For example, its provision to institute performance measures for state departments made many nonprofits wary that bureaucratic measurement programs would be passed along to nonprofits as unfunded mandates. [CalNonprofits opposed Prop 31.]
  • Abolition of the death penalty (Proposition 34) was defeated, despite polls showing that a majority of Californians oppose the death penalty and despite hard work from many nonprofits engaged with this issue over many years. [CalNonprofits endorsed 34.]
  • Proposition 35 -- Human Trafficking -- passed overwhelmingly, with nonprofits sending mixed messages to the public. At the beginning, most human service nonprofits supported Proposition 35: how could anyone oppose it? But later in the campaign, some nonprofits came to oppose it, saying that the law expanded the definition of sex crimes in ways that would violate civil rights and hurt some vulnerable populations. [CalNonprofits did not take a position on 35.]
  • The Munger initiative (Prop 38) was soundly defeated with only 28% of the vote, despite support from the California PTA and many nonprofits. This initiative led by Molly Munger, co-founder of the nonprofit think tank, The Advancement Project (her family was also the largest donor to the initiative), would have instituted temporary taxes for education and early childhood. In our view, the relative lack of support from California nonprofits hurt this initiative as many statewide nonprofit policy groups chose to stay pointedly silent on it. [CalNonprofits endorsed 38.]
  • Amending the Three Strikes Law (Prop 36) passed with substantial funding from the NAACP Legal and Educational Fund, philanthropist George Soros, and others, and reflecting voter desire for less stringent sentences for non-violent crimes. [CalNonprofits did not take a position on 36.]
  • Genetically engineered food labeling (Prop 37) failed, a huge disappointment for natural foods and environmental nonprofits, and sparking debate and introspection among such groups as to why. [CalNonprofits did not take a position on 37.]

5. Democrats (and Republicans) can no longer point to state "gridlock" as an excuse for not passing key legislation and making key appointments. Increases in the percentage of state senators and assembly members who are Democrats means a Democratic legislative "supermajority" -- enough to pass bills without needing Republican votes. (As a reference point, Governor Brown needed 3 Republican votes to pass the tax increase and couldn't get them -- that's why he put Proposition 30 the ballot).

The Democratic state agenda is Brown's agenda: raise taxes; build business in the state; focus on economic gains. We nonprofits must also hold them to our agendas.

Next issue of CalNonprofits E-News: lessons we can take away from the election.

How powerful is California’s nonprofit sector today? CalNonprofits commissioned this first-ever report to find out!
image of cover of Causes Count
August 22 - Friday, 8:30am - 2pm
Free Nonprofit Seminar in Oakland co-hosted by the Board of Equalization Office of Betty T. Yee and CalNonprofits. Register here
August 27 - Wednesday, 4pm - 6pm
Nonprofit Alliance of Monterey County Annual Mixer with Jan Masaoka of CalNonprofits as special guest, at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas
August 28 - Thursday, 8:30am - 12pm
Free Nonprofit Workshop at the California Endowment in Los Angeles co-hosted by the State Controller's Office and CalNonprofits, Nancy Berlin speaking
September 10 - Wednesday, 11am - 12pm
Webinar! Causes Count: The Economic Power of California's Nonprofit Sector with Jan Masaoka of CalNonprofits.
September 18 - Thursday, 10:30am
Webinar! Getting the Most Out of CalNonprofits Membership for current and not-yet members; offered 3rd Thursday of each month
September 26 - Friday - 9:30 am - 11 am
Causes Count: Briefing & Discussion with Jan Masaoka at CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, Oakland
October 2 - Thursday, 10:30am
Workers Compensation 101 Webinar presented by CalNonprofits Insurance Services. FREE for Members!
October 24 - Friday
Stronger Together Conference in San Francisco co-hosted by Nonprofits' Insurance Alliance of California, CompassPoint and CalNonprofits.
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