Public Policy

"Watching the Backs of New Jersey Nonprofits"
“For those of us who work in, work for, donate to and are served by nonprofit organizations in New Jersey we are fortunate to have the Center for Non-Profits watching our backs and protecting our independence.”
-- Nina Stack, President, Council of New Jersey Grantmakers

Johnson Amendment Challenge
Attempt to repeal the Johnson Amendment as part of the 2018 Federal Budget is Defeated - THANK YOU FOR YOUR ADVOCACY!

Updated 3/22/2018

Thanks to the advocacy of the non-profit and larger communities, the latest federal omnibus spending bill does not include language to dismantle the Johnson Amendment, the 60+-year-old law that allows 501(c)(3) organizations to work in communities free from partisan pressures, divisions, and interference.

Thank you for your calls to representatives, tweets, signing the Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship, and other advocacy efforts to prevent this change by those who seek to politicize 501(c)(3) organizations.

While this is a victorious outcome, there is no reason to believe this will be the last attempt to eliminate or alter the Johnson Amendment. As Tim Delaney, President and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits states in a recent news release, in 2017 "prominent politicians and well-funded lobbyists tried to gut the Johnson Amendment through an executive order and five separate bills. Their zeal last year suggests they likely will continue their push to hijack charitable goodwill for their own political ambitions while rewarding their supporters with charitable tax deductions for partisan donations. If that comes to pass, charitable nonprofits, houses of worship, and foundations will once again rise in force to defend this vital, longstanding law."

The Center will continue to keep you up to date on this and other advocacy issues. Make sure you are signed up for our email alerts and are following us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to stay informed. If you have questions or need additional information, contact us at the Center.

Tax Reform and Non-Profits

SALT Workaround Legislation Advancing in Trenton

Updated February 26, 2018 - Read our take on fast-moving state legislation, intended to mitigate the impact of the new federal tax law's cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions, which could also have broader implications for New Jersey charities. S-1893 (Sarlo/Sweeney) would allow taxpayers to offset their property tax bills by "donating" to specific charitable funds created by municipalities or school districts. The bill passed the state Senate on February 26 and is awaiting referral to committee in the Assembly. more information

Sweeping Federal Tax Overhaul Enacted

On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed into law sweeping tax legislation that will have significant, long-term ramifications for New Jersey, for charities, and the people and communities who need them. Many provisions take effect on January 1, 2018, though taxpayers won't see the full impact of many provisions until they file their 2018 tax returns in 2019. 

Despite an important -- but possibly fleeting -- victory in removing House language that would have gutted the Johnson Amendment (the law preserving 501(c)(3) nonpartisanship), the final  bill  will precipitate steep drops in charitable giving, harm large proportions of New Jerseyans across income levels, impose immense fiscal pressures on state and local governments, and decimate charities when demand for services is already outpacing needed resources to fill community needs. 

Read more

Summary of the Tax Law

Blog: The New Federal Tax Law and New Jersey Non-Profits

Our 11/21/2017 Op-Ed in NJSpotlight:
For NJ Charities, Tax-Reform Bills Offer Little to Be Thankful For (commentary regarding an earlier version of the tax bill)

What did two 2017 gubernatorial candidates and 24 legislative candidates say about New Jersey non-profits?

Responses to the Center’s 2017 NJ Gubernatorial, State Senate, and General Assembly Candidate Questionnaire

View the responses

In order to gain greater insights regarding how this year’s candidates for New Jersey Governor and Legislature view our state’s charitable non-profit community, its role in their policy making, and their overall vision for the state, the Center for Non-Profits conducted its first-ever candidate questionnaire. 

Candidates were invited to respond online to four questions that affect our state and the non-profit community generally.  The responses of the two gubernatorial candidates and 24 legislative candidates who submitted surveys on or before the October 18 deadline are posted at

The Center for Non-Profits is a New Jersey non-profit corporation and a federally recognized 501(c)(3) public charity. The Center cannot and does not support or oppose candidates for office or coordinate activities with political campaigns.

We view this questionnaire as one part of a comprehensive advocacy and educational strategy to increase understanding among public officials about the non-profit community, its role in making New Jersey strong, and to foster sound public policies for the people of our state.

For more information about the candidate questionnaire or non-profit issues generally, contact Linda Czipo at the Center. 

View the candidates’ responses

President Trump Issues “Free Speech and Religious Liberty” Executive Order

Also, see our Blog/Analysis on this Executive Order.

May 5, 2017

On May 4, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order aimed at loosening the restrictions on partisan political activities by religious organizations. The Order raises fundamental questions and concerns for the non-profit community; however, 501(c)(3) organizations should be aware that the federal statute that prohibits electioneering and partisan political activities for 501(c)(3)s is unchanged and remains in effect. More.

Non-Profit Trends and Outlook

NJ Non-Profit Survey: Continuing Gap Between Demand for Services, Funding

2017 Issues & Trends Cover

April 24, 2017 - The need for the programs and services provided by New Jersey’s non-profit organizations continues to rise, but non-profits are hampered in their ability to meet that need by continuously lagging funding and an uncertain resource environment, according to a new report released by the Center for Non-Profits.

Our deep thanks to all who participated in the survey.

Press Release
Full Report


Property Tax Challenges

Legislation to Protect Non-Profits from Arbitrary Tax Exemption Challenges by Third Parties Reintroduced

Updated February 27, 2017 - Legislation that would help curtail arbitrarily challenges to non-profits' property tax exemptions by limiting the ability of third parties to appeal the property tax exempt status of other entities has been reintroduced in the New Jersey Legislature. The Center for Non-Profits strongly supports this legislation. more information

Additional background on the property tax exemption issue:

Tax Court Rules Against Hospital in Morristown Property Tax Case; Legislative, Gubernatorial Action

Updated February 27, 2017 - In June 2015, in a property tax case with significant financial and policy implications for hospitals and possibly the broader non-profit community statewide, a Tax Court of New Jersey judge ruled that Morristown Medical Center is not entitled to tax exemption on nearly all of its property in Morristown. The Governor and legislature have proposed various measures to address the issue.  more information

Princeton University Settles Property Tax Lawsuit

October 17, 2016 - On Friday, October 14, 2016, Princeton University announced that it had reached a settlement with a group of Princeton residents that had filed lawsuit challenging the property tax exemption of the university. The trial in the Fields vs. Trustees of Princeton University case had been set to begin October 17. The Center for Non-Profits, joined by several other organizations, had previously filed two amicus (friend of the court) briefs in support of the University in the case.  The agreement brings this litigation to an end, but for non-profits, additional questions and vulnerabilities remain.
more information


"Is Non-Profit Property Tax Exemption Sound Public Policy?"  Presentation slides of Center executive director Linda Czipo to 4/15/2016 Seton Hall University School of Law conference

Don’t Weaken the Existing Ban on Electioneering by 501(c)(3) Organizations
Front and Center masthead 
At the National Prayer Breakfast on February 2, 2017, President Trump renewed his calls for a repeal of the 1954 Johnson Amendment which bars 501(c)(3) organizations from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The Center for Non-Profits OPPOSES repeal of the Johnson Amendment and supports retaining the current ban. Read why in our latest blog.

Non-Profit Trends and Outlook

NJ Non-Profit Survey: "Chronic Under-Funding" Cause for Concern

2016 Issues & Trends Cover

April 5, 2016 - Rising demand and tight funding continue to challenge the ability of New Jersey non-profits to provide needed programs and services, according to a new report released by the Center for Non-Profits.

Our deep thanks to all who participated in the survey.

Press Release
Full Report

Blog: Chronic Under-Funding of Non-Profits: An Unacceptable Risk


Organizations Seek Relief from Contracting Burdens

2015 Recommendations to the Red Tape Review Commission

Read the 2015 report from an alliance of non-profit and provider organizations outlining  reforms to help ease the “stranglehold” of burdensome government contracting procedures that threaten their ability to provide services in their communities.

Represented by the Center for Non-Profits, an umbrella organization serving New Jersey’s charitable community, the organizations endorsed comprehensive recommendations to streamline and improve the rules and procedures by which government contracts for services with non-profit organizations.  Since this report's release, the Center has continued to push for the recommendations.

Press Release
Full Report

Government Grants

The OMB Uniform Guidance: What Non-Profits Should Know

In late December 2014, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published final guidance governing government grants and contracts that means good news for non-profits that receive federal grant funds, either directly or passed through state and local entities. Collective action will help make the promise of these reforms a reality. more information

State launches e-procurement portal

Vendors, including nonprofits, need to register on to do business with the State of New Jersey. For more information see the Center's NJSTART page. NJSTART Logo


Report: New Jersey “Worst” at Paying Non-Profits Full Cost of Services


May 15, 2014 - Although some progress has been made in the past several years, the system of contracting between governments and non-profit organizations remains rife with problems that threaten the ability of non-profits to provide services across the country, according to data released by the National Council of Nonprofits and the Urban Institute.

The National Council of Nonprofits report, Toward Common Sense Contracting: What Taxpayers Deserve, examines the causes and consequences of five recurring problem areas that involve billions of dollars. The report connects new data from the Urban Institute with the experiences of front-line non-profits that are delivering services on behalf of governments at all levels, and then outlines sixteen proven and often readily available solutions to these problems, including many proposed by New Jersey advocates.
Press Release


Help END the Overhead Myth!
The Center for Non-Profits and the Council of NJ Grantmakers are joining forces to ask you to support a nationwide campaign to help end the overhead myth - the misguided notion that the percentage of expenses spent on administration and overhead should be the sole criterion for judging the merits of a charity.
Learn more and spread the word!

For older articles and information see the Center's Policy Archive