CFORWARD: A NEW NONPROFIT/PAC PROVIDING A VOICE IN D.C.


By James D’Ambrosio

Nonprofits now have a stronger voice politically.

CForward, recently founded by Robert Egger —president of D.C. Central Kitchen and listed in Nonprofit Times’ “50 Most Powerful and Influential Nonprofit Leaders” four straight years — is a nonpartisan, 501 (c)(4) advocacy agency whose mission is “to promote the economic role of the nonprofit sector and supports candidates who include the sector in their plans to strengthen the economy.”

GOALS OF CFORWARD

Based in Washington, D.C., CForward has four goals:

1) Championing the economic contributions of the nonprofit sector;

2) Educating candidates about the economic contributions of nonprofits;

3) Supporting candidates providing detailed plans for partnering with nonprofits, social enterprise businesses, and micro-credit programs to create jobs and strengthen the economy; and

4) To help nonprofit employees, volunteers, clients and supporters use their rights as private citizens to: a) educate candidates about the economic role nonprofits play in the community; b) distribute information about candidates that include nonprofits in their platform; and c) work with private citizens to provide financial support and help elect candidates with a clear plan to partner with nonprofits to strengthen the economy.

WORKING WITHIN THE LAW, IRS REGULATIONS

Of course, tax-exempt 501 (c)(3) organizations are prohibited from endorsing  candidates for elected office, promoting a specific political view, or making campaign contributions. During campaigns they’re limited to impartial presentation of facts about candidates. Respecting these limitations, CForward seeks to leverage the power of nonprofit staff, volunteers and donors — as private citizens — to back candidates explicitly supporting nonprofits, creating an opportunity for 100 million people to become a  political force.

A MORE ROBUST POLITICAL IMPACT 

CForward does not seek to educate those already in office; rather, to elect individuals who “Show up on day one ready to partner with nonprofits to strengthen the economy.” This is a far more powerful strategy than the small amount of lobbying nonprofits are allowed to engage in — usually 5-10 percent of an organization’s activities.

Their Web site, www.cforward.org, includes three key components: 1) an opportunity to donate, supporting education and advocacy; 2) the CForward political action committee (PAC), supporting candidates; and 3) identifying/supporting candidates nominated by CForward members. Respecting IRS limitations on political activities of 501 (c)(3) organizations, if you sign up with CForward you must use your personal e-mail and social media accountsnot that of your employer or organization

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE & PERSPECTIVE

Last year, I heard founder Robert Egger deliver the keynote address at a nonprofit leadership conference in Westchester County, NY, and was impressed with his vision and passion for strengthening the sector.  I’m optimistic his new initiative will gain traction.

CForward isn’t about political views — it doesn’t matter if you’re liberal, conservative or moderate. It’s about getting progressive candidates  into office who will champion the work of the 1.4 million nonprofits in the U.S. Given the significant challenges facing nonprofits today, CForward has a vital role to play.

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QUESTION TO READERS: What do you think of CForward? Do you plan to get involved?

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One Response

  1. Dear Ms. McGrattan:

    Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on this blog post. I wrote about C Forward because I believe such a movement has been long overdue. There is so much pressure on nonprofits today — financial and regulatory, among others — something has to give for the sector to remain viable. I’ll being following Mr. Egger’s initiative with great interest.

    Best Regards,

    James D’Ambrosio

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