Politico’s report on anticipated efforts to make deep cuts in the social safety net is must reading for all those who advocate on behalf of the vulnerable and voiceless. Major social progress is at risk. Childhood hunger for example has been reduced by 30%, to its lowest level in decades, but proposals to make it harder to access SNAP food stamp benefits could reverse that impressive progress.
At a minimum every social services nonprofit should be preparing and sharing an analysis of the impact that such actions would have on those they serve. The contemplated legislative and regulatory changes are so sweeping that they could undo the hard-earned gains of many great nonprofits and social entrepreneurs.
Although opposition to such changes can be expected and will be essential. But it will not, by itself, be enough. Advocates have to do more than say what they are against. They must also put forth a compelling vision of what they are for – and of how investments in children and families will improve our national health, education, and strengthen our economy.
While nonprofit tax status precludes partisan activity, nothing precludes nonprofits from educating the public and policymakers alike as to how so-called “reforms” will impact those they serve. Nonprofits that remain silent on these issues fail to meet their full responsibility.