10/03/2012 09:47 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Red Cross, United Way, Other Charities Tell Candidates What They Want


With the presidential election just weeks away and the two major candidates starting the debate cycle, 22 of the leading executives of the nonprofit sector have a message for both President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney.

The message: Tell us what the government plans to do, to abandon, to fund and then get out of the way.

Filmed prior to the recent The NonProfit Times Power & Influence Top 50 Gala in Washington, D.C., the executives let the two major party candidates know what the sector expects from the next administration when it comes to funding and cooperation. The key messages included dialog with the sector and then allowing charitable organizations to do the work they are better equipped than the government to achieve.


Links to the video were delivered to both campaigns. A White House official acknowledged receipt of the link. There is no response yet from the Romney campaign.

The executives said that they realize money is tight, but attacking the charitable deduction and other tools needed by the sector will only damage further the nation's social safety network.

The national discussion is about jobs. In some states, such as New York, an estimated 20 percent of the jobs are in the tax-exempt sector. Those workers pay taxes, as do the tax-exempts when it comes to payroll taxes and UBIT. In fact, while the national economy was creating few new jobs, the charitable sector was adding positions, the Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

During an era of tax cuts and business incentives, from May 1999 through May 2009, jobs in the private sector increased just 1.1 percent, according to Bloomberg/Business Week. The majority of those jobs were in health and education, areas dominated by the nonprofit sector.

The NonProfit Times produced the video with the help of FineLine Solutions and can be viewed here.

The executives sending a message to the next occupant of the Oval Office were:

* Robert F. Ashcraft, Ph.D., founding executive director, Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation, Phoenix, Ariz.
* Diana Aviv, president & CEO, Independent Sector, Washington, D.C.
* Donna Butts, executive director, Generations United, Washington, D.C.
* Diana Campoamor, president, Hispanics in Philanthropy, Oakland, Calif.
* Tim Delaney, president & CEO, National Council of Nonprofits, Washington, D.C.
* James Firman, president & CEO, National Council on Aging, Washington, D.C.
* Brian Gallagher, president & CEO, United Way Worldwide, Alexandria, Va.
* John H. Graham IV, president & CEO, ASAE/The Center for Association Leadership, Washington, D.C.
* John Griswold, executive director, Commonfund Institute Wilton, Conn.
* Wendy Harman, director of social strategy, American Red Cross, Washington, D.C.
* Aaron Hurst, president & Founder Taproot Foundation, New York City.
* Irv Katz, president, National Human Services Assembly Washington, D.C.
* Sr. Georgette Lehmuth, president & CEO, National Catholic Development Conference, Hempstead, N.Y.
* Robert Lynch, president & CEO, Americans for the Arts, Washington, D.C.
* Tim McClimon, president, American Express Foundation, New York City.
* Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president & CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, N.J.
* Neil Nicoll, president & CEO, YMCA of the USA, Chicago, Ill.
* Michelle Nunn, chief executive officer, Points of Light Institute, Atlanta, Ga.
* Holly Ross, executive director, Nonprofit Technology Network, Portland, Ore.
* Judy Vredenburgh, president & CEO, Girls Inc., New York City.
* Ann Silverberg Williamson, president & CEO, Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Baton Rouge, La.
* Samuel Worthington, president & CEO, InterAction, Washington, D.C.