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
Arab Foundations Forum
Catholic Relief Services
CDA Collaborative Learning Projects
Charity & Security Network
Charity Finance Group
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
The Humanitarian Forum
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
Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Council of Churches
Norwegian Refugee Council USA
Pax Christi International
Peace Appeal Foundation
Peace Catalyst International
Peace Initiative Network
Syrian American Medical Society
Tikva Grassroots Empowerment Fund
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Urgent Action Fund
Women Peacemakers Program