By Crystel Anders
On February 6, 2017 the Nonprofit Quarterly took an editorial position opposing the repeal of the Johnson Amendment. Last week the National Council of Nonprofits (NCN) began a focused effort to encourage nonprofits to sign on to a community letter to be sent to senators and Congressional representatives.
Spectrum Nonprofit Services works with a diverse set of nonprofit clients each holding a variety of political and social issues in the community. We support the efforts to protect the independence of the nonprofit sector by opposing the repeal of the Johnson Amendment. The Johnson Amendment, passed in 1954, further clarified the separation of church and state, a phrase often used to spell out the intent of the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution which supports freedom of speech. The amendment specifically prohibits 501(c)3 organizations from engaging in political partisan activity but does not limit their ability to speak out on a variety of issues. NCN’s Community Letter speaks to the fact that “nonpartisanship is a cornerstone principle that has strengthened the public’s trust of the charitable community and shields the entire 501(c)3 community against rancor of partisan politics so the charitable community can be a safe haven where individuals of all beliefs come together to solve community problems free from partisan divisions.”
We encourage our nonprofit partners to review the Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship and consider becoming engaged in the effort.
Crystel Anders, MSSW, is a Consultant with Spectrum Nonprofit Services where she provides consulting and training for community-based organizations around impact and impact strategy. Crystel has over 25 years of experience in organizational planning, fund development, staff training and development, strategic planning and board management. Crystel has held executive positions in multiple organizations, most recently as the Executive Director of Community Shares of Wisconsin, a grassroots fundraising organization that provides funding and technical assistance to over 66 member nonprofits. Crystel has provided training for funding coalitions in multiple states and has also led strategic planning for a number of organizations in Wisconsin.