Nonprofit leaders from across the Adirondacks are applauding the recent passage of the Nonprofit Revitalization Act, which represents the first major overhaul of New York state’s charities laws in more than four decades.
The bipartisan legislation, authored by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, will enact substantial reforms to cut red tape and enhance governance and oversight of nonprofit organizations.
Cali Brooks, executive director of ACT, the community foundation serving the Adirondack region, was a member of Schneiderman’s Leadership Committee for Nonprofit Revitalization, a group of 32 nonprofit and legal representatives that helped create the bill.
“After 40 years, it is exciting to see that Attorney General Schneiderman, the Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo have modernized the oversight system for nonprofit governance,” Brooks said. “The Nonprofit Revitalization Act will serve to strengthen the entire nonprofit sector not only through streamlined and modernized processes, but through a heightened focus on effective and accountable governance.
“The Attorney General’s committee gave New York’s nonprofit organizations a chance to make their voices heard in reshaping New York’s charities laws,” Brooks added.
“The Adirondack Lakes Center for the Art’s partnership with the Redhouse in Syracuse would not be possible without video technology and email,” said Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts Managing Director Alexandria Harris. “Making this a standardized practice will allow more beneficial partnerships to form, further enhancing Adirondack nonprofits.”
“The goals of the Nonprofit Revitalization Act include reducing outdated and unnecessary burdens on nonprofits and expediting the application process, improving both transparency and governance in the name of improving public trust in charities,” said Hannah Hanford, executive director of the Adirondack Health Foundation. “The Board of Trustees of the Adirondack Health Foundation believes strongly that charitable boards take their oversight role seriously because a nonprofit’s integrity is its most important asset. This new law reflects their philosophy and practice while it recognizes modern communication methods to streamline board e-communications to allow business to be accomplished in a timely manner.”
“Nonprofit organizations are the backbone of many services throughout the North Country,” Assemblywoman Janet Duprey, R-Peru, said. “The taxpayers simply could not afford to provide all of the services to thousands of people who benefit from the various agencies. I was pleased to vote for the Nonprofit Revitalization Act, which amends several outdated sections of several current laws. While increasing oversight to prevent fraud, the bill also reduces unnecessary requirements which should ultimately lower the cost of doing business, allowing more money to go to direct services.”
New York’s nonprofit sector generates hundreds of billions of dollars in annual revenue and is responsible for one in seven jobs, according to Schneiderman’s office. The bill will make New York a more attractive destination for nonprofit organizations and a model for governance and oversight.
The bill overwhelmingly passed both houses of the Legislature in June. It has since been returned to the Assembly and is awaiting Cuomo’s signature.