Nonprofit Independence:
More Important Than Ever

 

Hello Nonprofit People!

The rain is splattering down across the state starting the greening process we all relish with the autumnal rains. It also looks like we missed a bad fire season this year (knock wood), so Happy Fall!

I’m excited to have seen a great number of you in either Sunriver for the High Desert Conference or in Ontario at the Eastern Oregon Nonprofit Conference. There were great trainings and conversations at both events and lots of opportunities this fall to engage in more. NAO is kicking off our fall series of learning networks and workshops around the state and virtually through webinars. NAO strives to support all nonprofits (small, medium and large; rural and urban; staffed and all volunteer) with tailored learning opportunities and convenings for timely discussions all across the state.

I always love the opportunity to travel across Oregon and meet with the people that make our communities so vital: nonprofit people! The incredible commitment, the innovation, and the sense of responsibility of nonprofit people is unmatched. We know that nonprofits, led by community, in service of our missions, are a powerful tool of democracy. While we often work in collaboration with government and corporate sponsors to serve the public good, nonprofits also play an important role in keeping the necessary checks and balances and holding the other sectors accountable. The independence of nonprofits from government and private profit-making companies means that we can speak truth to power and are not beholden to either by fixed governance requirements or funding sources.

During this past year, many of you know that NAO went to bat for your nonprofits to keep the state legislature from overstepping boundaries by expanding open-record requirements and trying to tax your nonprofits’ property. Recently, we had the occasion to remind the Portland City Council of the important role nonprofits play and how laws that create direct-line funding into specific organizations or requirements for direct governance are unhealthy both for government and for the nonprofit’s long-term sustainability. Nonprofits have enormous credibility in our communities. We are about ensuring all community members are heard and supported. NAO, in collaboration with nonprofits across our state, will continue to ensure that the independence of our sector remains protected and robust into the future.

One final reminder, there were a number of bills in the last Oregon legislative session that became law and go into effect as of January 1, 2020 that will impact all nonprofits in Oregon. NAO is working on a series of trainings this fall to guide your nonprofits on the impacts of those changes and what you need to know. We also want to alert you to the changes to the Overtime rule just passed down by the U.S. Department of Labor. Read about these important changes here.

Wishing you all a fun, productive and wonderful Fall!

Sincerely,

Jim White,
Executive Director, Nonprofit Association of Oregon