50 Groups Sign Statement Supporting Nonprofit Organizations

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October, 2017

The undersigned organizations come together in recognition of U.S. nonprofit organizations and their vital role in supporting communities and protecting democracy.  These groups are dedicated to the public welfare, addressing everything from poverty to peacebuilding. They embody the Constitutional rights of association, assembly and free expression by giving people a vehicle for civic participation, charitable endeavors and exercise of religious faith. 

The charitable activities of nonprofits hold transformative power at home and abroad, especially in conflict zones. They reflect our national values of compassion, equality and fairness. In these troubled times, when so many places in the world are mired in conflict, the number of refugees is higher than any time since World War II, and factionalism and divisiveness dominate public discourse, a strong and active nonprofit sector is more important than ever.  But unnecessary restrictions on nonprofits can limit their ability to carry out their good works.

We call on the U.S. government to protect and respect the work of nonprofit organizations; to recognize that many engage in activities that contribute to the security of individuals and institutions across the globe; and to recognize that many have an ability to carry out programs that promote peace and human rights, alleviate poverty, aid civilians in areas of disaster and armed conflict, and build democratic governance. 

Accordingly, the following principles should guide and support government policy and action impacting civil society:

• Government rules and regulations should encourage nonprofit activities and not unduly disrupt or discourage them.

• Any restrictions on nonprofits’ activities should be based on a risk-based approach that is proportionate and consistent with Constitutional principles.

• The ability of nonprofits to protect and aid civilians affected by armed conflict should be respected, consistent with international humanitarian law.

• Any nonprofit subject to government enforcement action should have a meaningful opportunity to defend itself. 

• All assets of nonprofit organizations should be protected and used only to support a legitimate charitable purpose.

Nonprofit organizations are essential to a Democratic society, and thus should have the support of the U.S. government.

 

Alliance for Peacebuilding

American Friends Service Committee

American Relief Coalition for Syria

Amnesty International USA

Appleton Foundation

Arab Foundations Forum

Baitulmaal

Catholic Relief Services

CDA Collaborative Learning Projects

Charity & Security Network

Charity Finance Group

CIVICUS Alliance

Communities in Transition

Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces

Council on Foundations

Defending Rights and Dissent

Franciscan Action Network

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Fund for Nonviolence

Global Fund for Women

Grassroots International

HIAS

The Humanitarian Forum

InterAction

International Center for Not-for Profit Law

Islamic Relief USA

Islamic Society of North America

Institute for Human Security, Tufts University

Justice for All

Karuna Center for Peacebuilding

Kinder USA

Mennonite Central Committee U.S.

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

National Council of Churches

Nonviolence International

Norwegian Refugee Council USA

Oxfam America

Pax Christi International

Peace Appeal Foundation

Peace Catalyst International

Peace Direct

Peace Initiative Network

Relief International 

Syrian American Medical Society

Tikva Grassroots Empowerment Fund

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Urgent Action Fund

Women Peacemakers Program

World Renew

Zakat Foundation