Nonprofits Showing Up to Advocate
OpEd by Marnie Taylor, President and CEO
Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits
Now that it is March, we are past a pivotal deadline in the 2020 legislative session. Bills were required to be out of committee by the end of February. Today, we have a better idea of what legislation is moving forward. This is good news for nonprofits.
This will be a busy year for our sector. Two massive issues are in front of legislators this year that have enormous impacts on nonprofit organizations – criminal justice reform bills and healthcare expansion. Currently, a number of nonprofits have been heavily involved with helping to shape legislation around these topics. Whether social service organizations or hospitals or care providers, nonprofits will have a role in how these issues play out at the state level.
I want to applaud our sector for assuming these new and very important roles. Already during this legislative session, I am made aware that nonprofits are visiting the Capitol more often, meeting with legislators and policy makers, educating clients and donors and being out front on major policy issues.
In short – nonprofits are taking policy work, advocacy, education and grassroots lobbying very seriously. We are already seeing major changes thanks to the hard work of our charitable sector. This year, a number of bills were requested by or are being supported by nonprofits that will create access and eliminate barriers for persons living with physical disabilities. A number of laws will help eliminate barriers to employment, housing and opportunities for people who have criminal records so that they may exit incarceration permanently. Increasing access to physical and mental healthcare has become a major priority.
And I also want nonprofits to take notice of the success that many are having by engaging in strategic advocacy and grassroots lobbying work. Also any day at the Capitol, there are nonprofit employees and supporters marching the halls and educating legislators about missions and the best practices that create effective and many times permanent change.
Nonprofits are important to our economy and our community well-being. It is heartening to see nonprofits take seriously the responsibility of education and advocacy. The Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits will host its “Nonprofit Day at the Capitol” on April 14 and we encourage our friends in the sector to join us as we, too, march the halls and educate and collaborate with our lawmakers about the power of the charitable sector.
To all of the nonprofits in Oklahoma working hard on advocacy, thank you for standing for your missions.