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Column: Keep nonprofits nonpartisan

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Proposed federal action would make churches and charities as partisan as every other institution in the country. As representatives of the broad nonprofit and philanthropic communities in our state, we believe that such action would have severe, negative consequences for our work.

Indeed, the North Dakota Association of Nonprofit Organizations and the North Dakota Community Foundation stand together, along with other nonprofits and foundations across our state, in support of nonprofit nonpartisanship. Together we oppose any federal legislation or executive action that would repeal or weaken existing law that prohibits charitable nonprofits, religious congregations and foundations from endorsing or opposing candidates for elective office, also known as the Johnson Amendment.

Nonpartisanship is critical to the ability of nonprofits, churches and foundations to work with elected officials of all parties at the local, state and federal levels to address community needs throughout North Dakota. Nonprofits are apolitical spaces in our communities, designed to be removed from the political fray, a place where people come together to solve community problems.

NDANO and NDCF believe current law requiring charitable nonprofits to remain nonpartisan is the best way to serve the public good. We oppose efforts to repeal or weaken existing law because it protects both nonprofits and the public, preventing charitable contributions from being diverted to political campaigns, thus allowing nonprofits to focus on solving problems, helping our neighbors and enriching our communities. We ask Sens. Hoeven and Heitkamp and Rep. Cramer to maintain the Johnson Amendment.

Keeping nonprofits nonpartisan is the right thing for our state and our country. Learn more at www.GiveVoice.org.

Schaar Jahner is executive director of the North Dakota Association of Nonprofit Organizations and Dvorak is president and CEO of the North Dakota Community Foundation

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