The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities believes that our country thrives when everyone can reach their full potential. That is why the Alliance strategic action network engages on behalf of the sector to help nonprofit organizations protect the policies that help build a healthy and equitable society. Members of the Alliance help families and communities build well-being by focusing on these fundamental building blocks: Sustainable employment and economic mobility; affordable and preventive health, mental health, and behavioral health care; safe neighborhoods; nurturing relationships and environments; and educational success.
Now imagine if the nonprofit sector’s work on these issues were to become subsumed by partisan politics and political motives. Imagine if unrelated special interest groups or lobbies were to have increased influence and impact on the decisions made by nonprofit organizations, and the programs that we provide to keep families healthy and strong. Imagine if the vital funds that organizations raise to support programs were instead diverted to political campaigns or conditioned on supporting specific candidates.
The Johnson Amendment has been in place since 1954 and provides protections to nonprofits that enable the sector to focus on advocacy and mission-related work rather than the shifting political winds of partisanship. The Johnson Amendment is what gives the social sector the ability to be an important, nonpartisan source on the issues, research and programs that help children, families, individuals, seniors, and their communities to thrive.
"The Johnson Amendment serves as a critical firewall between political activity and nonprofit organizations,” noted Daniel Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector. “Gutting this firewall would tear nonprofits away from their missions, erode public trust in the sector, and help political donors dodge taxes at the expense of the federal treasury."
Because of the Johnson Amendment, nonprofits are able to:
- Cultivate public trust in nonprofits’ solutions, cross-sector collaborations, and expert staff
- Advocate for specific issues and bipartisan solutions that are core to our missions and driving well-being in communities
- Fully commit financial resources directly to helping individuals thrive and communities become vibrant
- Allow nonprofit boards to focus on achieving organizational missions and community outcomes
- Provide high-level donors the opportunity to address specific issues based on the strengths and assets of communities
During the 115th Congress, retaining the protections of the Johnson Amendment has been at risk on several occasions. It is important that nonprofit organization leaders understand the protections to nonpartisanship that the Johnson Amendment provides and speak out about the impact of repealing the Johnson Amendment on the mission-related work of all nonprofits. We invite you to join with the Alliance and the thousands of nonprofit and charitable organizations nationwide, including over 4,500 faith-based leaders, to oppose the repeal of the Johnson Amendment.
The Johnson Amendment is a provision in the U.S. tax code, since 1954, that prohibits all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. The amendment is named for then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, who introduced it in July 1954.