ADVOCACY UPDATES

We are taking action to build a stronger Texas nonprofit sector! Check here for the latest updates on our advocacy efforts.

MAY 4, 2021

Built for Texas: The Impact and Opportunity of Our Nonprofit Sector, developed in partnership between United Ways of Texas and OneStar, provides a set of recommendations for business, philanthropy, and policymakers to support the work of nonprofits and to strengthen their ability to thrive.

During the 87th Legislative session, United Ways of Texas has advocated for bills aligned with these recommendations and that would support our state’s nonprofit sector as a whole.  We are tracking over 150 bills filed in key areas, including volunteerism & civic engagement, charitable contributions/tax exemptions, contracting with state agencies, and overall state investment.

 

Key bills aligned with this work that are moving in May include:

  • HB 5 (Ashby) / SB 5 (Nichols): Omnibus broadband bills that make investments in broadband infrastructure and that include digital connectivity, access, and use to help bridge the digital divide. The bills also include nonprofit representation on statewide councils/boards.
  • SB 44 (Zaffarini) / HB 1345 (Leach): Volunteerism bills that would allow state employees to take paid leave to volunteer with Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD).
  • 211 Budget Rider: Budget priority that directs the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to make technology improvements to the 211 network, encourages partnerships between 211 and business/philanthropy for special projects, and promotes efficiency and innovation within the network, especially as it relates to disaster response.

 

In addition, the Legislature is having important conversations about allocating federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars, many of which can be directed to nonprofits who have been doing critical work in communities for the past 15 months to support Texans in need.

 

Check out the advocacy toolkits from the Built For Texas report or the COVID-19 survey report to share this important information with legislators and your networks.

 

If you have any questions about these or other nonprofit-related bills, please e-mail Molly Weiner, United Ways of Texas Director of Nonprofit Engagement. Look for a post-session recap of bills passed that impact the sector in summer 2021.

The research for Built for Texas provides an economic estimate of the vast contribution Texas nonprofits make to the lives of Texans and to the continuing prosperity of our state. The report’s economic analysis was conducted by The Perryman Group in collaboration with the Center for Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Bush School at Texas A&M University. Funding and strategic direction was provided by The Meadows Foundation, OneStar, the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at the LBJ School at The University of Texas at Austin, and United Ways of Texas.

This report and related sector engagement work is made possible by a group of funding and research partners dedicated to the idea that strong nonprofits make strong communities:

Special thanks to Erica Ekwurzel, consultant and writer, and Karli Isiyel, designer.