Latest News for Nonprofits

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Wednesday, April 12
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How to Get Your First Government Grant
Presenter: Jan Masaoka, CEO, CalNonprofits

By last week’s deadline, 2,632 new bills were introduced in the California Legislature. Among these, we’re happy to report, is a package of bills aimed at addressing our work on improving nonprofit contracting with the state, as well as numerous other bills related to nonprofit services and causes. 

So far, there are eight new bills springing from the collaborative effort of CalNonprofits and the California Nonprofit Contracting Coalition. Taken together, these efforts seek to increase fairness and equity in state contracting as called for in the joint letter that 500+ nonprofit and community leaders sent the Governor and legislative leaders last October. 
Democratic and Republican lawmakers in both houses have stepped forward to champion various pieces of the contracting package. Our sincere thanks to Senators Monique Limón and Thomas Umberg, and to Assemblymembers Vince Fong, Gregg Hart, Josh Lowenthal, Luz Rivas, Corey Jackson and Avelino Valencia. 
The package of bills addresses a number of issues, each of which is critical to strengthening nonprofits’ ability to assist the state in working to improve the lives of vulnerable members of our communities. Each supports equity in contracting access, sustainability, and takes on racial, economic, and geographic disparities. The ambitious legislative package:
• Ensures that contracts compensate nonprofits for the full costs of delivering services, including administrative expenses, fair wages, and other costs
• Encourages multi-year contracts and expedited renewals for nonprofits that are meeting performance objectives • Requires the state to pay nonprofits in a timely manner
• Provides for up-front payments on contracts to extend access to smaller nonprofits and so others won’t have to tap into reserves or pay interest on loans in order to partner with the state
• Allows nonprofits to make adjustments needed to continue performing their contracted duties during emergencies
• Modernizes processes by allowing digital signatures, online invoicing and electronic payments • Streamlines the administration of very small grants and contracts for the benefit of both the state and nonprofits
• Prioritizes access to contracts and timely funding for nonprofits serving disadvantaged, low-income and under-resourced communities, and/or nonprofits with modest reserves
Our colleagues with the California Contracting Coalition are devoting many hours to helping draft bill language, meeting with our legislative authors, and researching details. But moving these bills forward will require a sector-wide effort, and we’ll need each and every one of you to join this important campaign! 
We are currently planning for a big public launch of this campaign in mid-March. Please keep watch for coming calls to action.

To all who have taken part in advancing our efforts to improve nonprofit partnership with the state: our voices have been heard!  

Governor Newsom made a refreshing statement as part of his proposed budget, released yesterday, and it is one that can only be seen as a first critical step forward in our ongoing effort to strengthen the partnership between nonprofits and the state through more equitable contracting practices. 
“Today, with a few simple words in his budget, Governor Newsom affirmed an important request from hundreds of nonprofits across the state that want to continue to play the crucial roles that California needs them to play: as the backbone of services for the state’s most vulnerable communities,” said Jan Masaoka, CEO of CalNonprofits. “The Governor’s remarkable, explicit commitment to work toward improving how government and nonprofits work together demonstrates his administration’s awareness that the Governor's ambitious goals for California lean heavily on nonprofits to provide their services and their hearts.” 
Read our press release for Jan’s full statement, along with reactions from the chairs of the legislative select committees on the nonprofit sector, Assemblymember Luz Rivas (D-San Fernando Valley) and Senator Monique Limon (D-Santa Barbara). 
The language in the Governor’s budget summary is simple: “The Administration will consider changes to address issues within the nonprofit sector to support the sector’s ability to deliver on meeting goals in state programs.” But it signals an important acknowledgement from the Governor and his administration of the call for change from our sector and opens up new opportunities for collaboration and change.
CalNonprofits and our partners in the California Contracting Coalition are already working with several legislators to develop a legislative package that will propose statutory changes to address the opportunities raised in our October letter to state leaders. And we will continue the arduous, detailed work turning the language of goals into the language of legislation, regulation, and practice. We are enthusiastic about this opportunity and grateful to have thoughtful and empathetic leadership within the Administration taking the lead.
In the coming months we will also undoubtedly be calling on you to contact legislators and state administrators, to sign letters and send emails…in short, to use our strong, collective voice in service to our commitment to equity and fairness, to our communities, and the vulnerable people and places at the heart of our work.
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