Nonprofits To Get Boost From Tax Check-Off
Legislation to create a state-administered grant program for nonprofit support organizations in Utah has been signed into law.
Sponsored by state Senate Democratic Minority Leader Luz Escamilla and state House of Representatives Democratic Minority Leader Angela Romero, the legislation passed both chambers with strong bipartisan support and was sent to Republican Gov. Spencer Cox for his signature. The governor signed it March 23.
The centerpiece of the bill, designated as SB223, authorizes the creation of a “Nonprofit Capacity Fund” to assist organizations that provide technical, professional, and operational support to any of the more than 11,000 nonprofits throughout the state. Grants from the fund will also be available to those that facilitate collaboration with other nonprofits, businesses, and government agencies. The grant program is to be funded by voluntary donations from taxpayers, who will be able to elect contributions by checking a box on their income tax returns. It will be administered by the state’s Department of Cultural and Community Engagement.
“Since the pandemic, nonprofits overwhelmingly have seen an increased demand for services, a decrease in volunteers, and a change in donor behavior. Any one of these would be hard to maneuver through, but all three at once created a bit of a perfect storm,” said Jill Bennett, CEO of the Utah Nonprofits Association (UNA). “This legislation recognizes that need and helps elevate a class of nonprofits that can be easily overlooked – those that exist to help other nonprofits.”
The Utah Afterschool Network and Utah Domestic Violence Coalition, both of which provide technical, educational and advocacy resources to affiliates and partners throughout the state, are two examples of organizations that Bennett said could benefit from the legislation. Other civic, charitable, and religious organizations, including the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, had joined UNA in urging its passage.
Just about every state with an income tax, including Utah, already offers at least one voluntary checkoff option through which taxpayers can contribute to specific charities or causes. However, this will be the first voluntary checkoff program intended to benefit the nonprofit sector overall, according to Bennett.
A version of this article was originally published by The NonProfit Times. It has been updated to reflect that the governor signed the bill into law on March 23.
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