California Association of Nonprofits Event “Now What? Turning Adversity into Opportunity” – March 8-9, 2005 – Day One

The highlights:

Ed Howard, Chief Consultant, Senate Government Modernization Efficiency and Accountability Committee, invited attendees to send him e-mails with proposed changes in the Code as a vehicle for initiating changes in state law to assist the nonprofit community.

David Muraki, Deputy Director, California Service Corps, described the State’s plan to create a comprehensive, State-wide volunteer-organization matching website.  Attendees questioned whether the planned website would be redundant with Volunteer Match and other powered websites run by various volunteer centers.  However, Muraki stated that the plan was for the State’s website to integrate information from the other sites and be a single resource available to all potential volunteers in California.

Trudy Schafer, Program Director, League of Women Voters of California, provided a very informative description of the initiative process, its uses, abuses, and options for reform.

Stephanie Upp, Associate Director, San Francisco Earned Asset Resource Network (EARN), spoke about a change in paradigm with respect to combating poverty from an emphasis on income to an emphasis on asset-building.  One of the methods that EARN uses is the creation of 401(k)-like individual development accounts in which every dollar deposited by a client was matched by federal funds and again by state funds ($2 match for every $1 deposited).

Elizabeth Hill, Legislative Analyst, State of California, and Sue Bost, Program Budget Manager, Health and Human Services Unit, California Department of Finance, provided an illuminating discussion of the State budget problem, Bost’s briefing to the Governor, how the problem may be addressed from both the revenue- and expense-side, and the constraints imposed by certain propositions and initiatives which put certain expenditures on “auto-pilot,” thereby restricting the legislature’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

In a workshop on nonprofit advocacy moderated by Leslie Hine-Rabichow, Executive Director, San Diego Association of Nonprofits and presented by Eric Gorovitz, Director, West Coast Office, Alliance for Justice (AFJ) and Keith Umemoto, Executive Officer, Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, the discussion centered on the ability of nonprofits to lobby, the 501(h) election to maximize effectiveness, and the need for more collaborative efforts among various nonprofits.  AFJ provided excellent resources on nonprofit lobbying.