Charitable nonprofits are vital to the social, health, educational, environmental, economic and cultural fabric of communities throughout New York State. There are 102,886 nonprofits in the state, of which 65,628 (or 63.8%) are public charities.1 Overall, nonprofits represent about 18% of the state’s taxpaying workforce, whose efforts are supplemented by over a million volunteers.
Charitable nonprofits are dedicated to the public good, not private gain. Our work improves lives, strengthens communities, provides aid in times of crisis, creates jobs and builds the economy, and provides cost-effective solutions for government, taxpayers and society as a whole.
Our state’s charitable nonprofits are heavily regulated by the Internal Revenue Service and the State. Our collective ability to be financially viable and to accomplish our various missions in a cost-effective and efficient manner is very dependent on state policy, laws, and regulations including those concerning procurement and contractual practices. Despite this fact, our state has not had a strong, unified or collective voice for charitable organizations; rather, charities have traditionally been divided by mission-driven subsector and constituent differences, funding streams, IRS classification, size, and geographic boundaries and parochialism – particularly “downstate-upstate” and rural-urban divisions.
Small to moderate sized (under $10M in annual budget) community-based organizations (CBO’s) represent the vast majority of charities. They are traditionally under-informed, unorganized, and under-represented regarding their collective policy interests. They often suffer from the fact that their overall interests and practices are increasingly being defined in the eyes of policy-makers, regulators and the public by institutional self-interests and behavior (or misbehavior) of large and well-organized nonprofits. These larger more notable segments includes hospitals, health insurance providers, higher education and those nonprofits who are not 501c3’s (authorities, trade associations, unions, private foundations, etc).
There is a saying that, “if you are not at the table, you are on the menu”. This is certainly the case for the bulk of the charitable nonprofits when it comes to state policy-making in today’s troubled economic and social environment. NYCON’s goal, as the state association of nonprofits with over 3,000 diverse members throughout the state , is to put forth and aggressively pursue a dynamic, “living and breathing” Statewide Policy Agenda that focuses on the needs and interests of CBO’s and issues that have cross-sector appeal. This includes those subsector concerns that have significant implications for the sector as a whole. In advancing this goal, NYCON will work in concert with subsector and regional partners, such as the Human Services Council of New York City, where common interests exist. .