CalNonprofits Articles

photo of the California state capitol buildingState budget negotiations seemed to go on forever this year, and the governor worked right up to the midnight, Sept. 30th deadline deciding the fate of more than 900 bills on his desk. Three more CalNonprofits-supported bills became law (see below) while two others were reported earlier.

So how did nonprofits fare? Of the record $235 billion state budget approved this year (a 20 percent increase from last year), substantial amounts are specifically appropriated to nonprofits. We’re heartened to see increased funding going to housing, homelessness, food access, criminal justice reform, immigrant justice, domestic violence prevention applaud the nonprofit advocates who fought tirelessly for these gains. We looked at some of those budget allocations in June. Additional funding for nonprofits is likely to filter through state and local government agencies by way of funding for reproductive, mental and behavioral health, arts and culture, environmental protection, and more.

CalNonprofits and other nonprofit advocates worked hard at securing these much needed public investments and new policies to support the communities, people, and places they serve. Here are just a few highlights from the budget followed by bills of interest passed by the legislature:

Budget highlights:

  • Workforce for a Healthy California: $297 million will support community health workers, nurses, social workers, psychologists and others. It will be important for nonprofit advocates to ensure that equitable portions of these funds go to these critical care workers in nonprofits as well as in government
  • Medi-Cal: Adding Medi-Cal benefits for low-income individuals aged 26-49 will help millions of Californians. With one-third of Medi-Cal services provided by nonprofits, this funding is important to the nonprofit community as well.
  • Health navigators and coaches: $12.5 million to the Department of Aging will support a competitive grant program for nonprofits hiring nurses and community health workers for residents of senior housing. It's good to see that health navigators – promotoras – and others pioneered by Latino nonprofits are getting full recognition for effectiveness.
  • Services to hate incident victims: $40 million to the Department of Social Services will provide nonprofit grants to support victims with legal services. See our previous updates about $50 million designated for nonprofits vulnerable to hate crimes and $10 million for PSLF (Public Service Loan Forgiveness) outreach and support

Legislative highlights:

  • We were deeply disappointed that Governor Newsom vetoed CalNonprofits-sponsored SB 543, Senator Monique Limón’s effort to establish nonprofit liaisons to improve government contracting. But recognition of the critical role nonprofits play in California continues to grow and we look forward to working in partnership with the state to implement policy solutions that allow nonprofits to flourish.
  • Three CalNonprofits-supported bills recently signed into law:
    • Increases public access to information about election officials who speak a non-English language (AB 1631)
    • Extends the Nonprofit Security Grant Program and create more flexibility in how grant funding may be used, including for security training (AB 1664)
    • Prioritizes Museum Grant Program funding for projects that serve underserved communities, protects at-risk cultural resources (SB 963)
  • The controversial SB 834, legislation responding to the January 6 insurrection, was vetoed by the governor, and we think this was the right decision. The bill would have allowed the Franchise Tax Board to revoke a nonprofit’s tax-exempt status if the Attorney General determined an organization was actively engaged in conspiracy or acts of treason, and other similar illegal activities. We of course oppose political violence and insurrection, but there are already laws in place that would address illegal activities by nonprofits and we were concerned the bill as written was too vague and open to political abuse.

Net net: We can be proud that advocacy by nonprofits is moving the needle on so many of the critical issues facing Californians, even while there is still so much to be done. Every one of the dollars invested in lifting people up represents mobilization of nonprofits serving on the frontlines of need in their communities. These funding streams make our work on contract reform even more urgent and critical, as the state increases its reliance on nonprofits to deliver services. Stay tuned for application information as programs roll out. And it’s not too late to sign on to our contracting reform letter.

As this legislative session comes to end, we want to thank and salute our Sacramento advocate, Jennifer Fearing. Jennifer – perennially named one of the Capitol’smost powerful people – is an astute and inspirational strategist and fearless campaigner for California's nonprofit community. Thank you Jennifer Fearing – and her colleague Kiowa Borja – for helping CalNonprofits and every nonprofit in California!

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