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Noyes News, July 2007

 

1947 - 2007

60 Years of Grantmaking

 

In 1905, Charles F. Noyes started his real estate firm, and later became known as "the Dean of Real Estate." At right is an advertisement from 1926. His most famous deal was the 1951 sale of the Empire State Building, previously regarded as a white elephant, for the largest price at the time in real estate history. In 1947, Mr. Noyes established the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundationin honor of his wife, Jessie Cooke Smith, born in 1885 in Brooklyn where she devoted much of her adult life to community needs. As vice president of the Brooklyn YWCA for many years, Mrs. Noyes worked for religious tolerance and for racial equality.

Sixty years ago, the Foundation's assets were $10,000 in cash and two office buildings. In its first year, the Foundation awarded one scholarship of $200, and grants totaling $9,910 to 63 charitable and educational organizations. In 2007, the Foundation's assets total $64 million and grants and contributions of $3.4 million will go to more than 175 organizations.

From Mr. Noyes:

Without favoritism and with only one thought in mind, may this Foundation function through the ages as a tribute to a wonderful Lady, for the purpose primarily of helping those seeking an education and for other worthwhile charities – irrespective of race, creed or color.

 

Join Us In Celebrating Our 60th Anniversary

 

We have had the fortune of developing relationships with so many wonderful people and organizations over the past 60 years.

For the first 40 years, the Foundation provided scholarships and fellowships to thousands of students attending colleges and universities. If you received a Noyes fellowship or scholarship, please tell us how it touched your life and let us know what you are now doing.

In the late 1980s, the Foundation shifted from scholarships to funding nonprofit organizations working in the field of environment, education and health. If your organization received a Noyes grant, we invite you to share your story with us. How did the Noyes grant contribute to your overall mission?

Feel free to send your story or a congratulatory message to noyes@noyes.org. Over the course of the year we will highlight stories and messages on our website.


Grantee Stories

Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of UPROSE is the 2007 recipient of the Yolanda Garcia Community Planner Award. The award, sponsored by the Municipal Arts Society, is named for Garcia, a community activist in the South Bronx. Elizabeth received the award for her work in developing youth leadership and building community power to focus environmental concerns in the predominantly working-class community of color of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. She also was recognized for her work throughout New York City.

Additionally, Elizabeth received the 2007 Earth Day/National Resource Development Council Advocate of the Year Award and the 2007 American Planner Association Paul Davidoff Award.

Elizabeth serves on the New York City mayor's Sustainability Planning Advisory Board, which is reviewing and commenting on the New York City Sustainability Plan (PlaNYC2030) – a 127-point proposal that promises a "greener, greater New York." UPROSE briefed community groups and youth throughout the city, solicited their input, and submitted their recommendations to the mayor's office. Elizabeth believes that as a result of the community's involvement, PlaNYC2030 not only reflects a commitment to environmental justice, but also includes community views on energy, brownfield redevelopment, green jobs, transportation and air quality remediation.


Families United for Racial and Economic Equity

Wins First Annual New York Times Company Nonprofit Excellence Award

Families United for Racial and Economic Equity was one of four New York area nonprofit organizations selected for the first ever New York Times Company Nonprofit Excellence Awards. FUREE won the Meeting Emerging Need Award. The awards were crafted in partnership with the New York Regional Association of Grantmakers and the Nonprofit Coordinating Council of New York. The other award winners were Good Shepherd Services (General Excellence Award), Center for Urban Community Services (Sustained Impact Award) and WITNESS (Communications Award).


Heartbreak in Appalachia


In May, Appalachian Sustainable Development's Appalachian Harvest packing house was destroyed in a fire.

 


Just months before the fire, ASD had finished a major expansion and renovation project that increased the size of its facility to over 10,000 square feet of packing space, along with 2,000 feet of loft storage and coolers.

 

 

The entire structure was lost, along with all of the grading equipment, computers and office equipment, and an inventory of almost 40,000 boxes and hundreds of thousands of labels. ASD staff, along with its supermarket customers and the nearly 60 farmers that are now part of the network are working together to figure out a short- medium- and long-term plan that will enable them to rebound, rebuild and continue to expand its organic production and marketing system. The cause of the fire was electrical. Insurance on the building is not sufficient to cover rebuilding.

 

The Noyes Foundation made a $10,000 special emergency grant to ASD for general costs associated with the fire recovery and the continuation of the production and marketing system. We encourage other funders to consider offering their support in this time of need. Please call Vic De Luca at the Foundation if you have any questions.


More than 12,000 Grassroots Activists Converge on Atlanta

 

 

 

 

The United States Social Forum in Atlanta, June 27 through July 1, was a roaring success. Participants of all colors, creeds and ages marched, networked, learned, debated and celebrated together under the banner Another World Is Possible - Another U.S. Is Necessary.

 

 

"The genie is out of the bottle," said Jerome Scott of Project South, one of many organizations that made the event possible, predicting that this first U.S. forum would be a watershed in building a progressive movement in the United States. Check out USSF's website and associated blogs.


Added Value Hosts PBS' Endless Feast

 

 

Added Value was featured in the PBS series, The Endless Feast, a TV program that introduces a different region in each episode and features a gorgeous feast staged in an outdoor location from farm fields to vineyards to urban community gardens. Added Value turned the taping of this show about local food and food producers into a celebration of its efforts to improve the social, economic and environmental health of its neighborhood.

The feast took place at Added Value's Red Hook Community Farm and included youth leaders and their families, community elders, educators, long-time volunteers, funders, and government officials. Added Value made sure that any outside food sources came from within 150 miles of its farm, which provided collards, dandelion, kale, salad greens, tomatoes, basil, thyme, sage and oregano. The chef was Laurent Salliard of Ici Restaurant, one of Added Value's business partners.


The American Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Freedom Project published Religious Refusals and Reproductive Rights: Accessing Birth Control at the Pharmacy, a tool for advocates and policy-makers wishing to address this issue.

 

 

The ACLU of Florida applauded a decision by Wal-Mart, requiring the retail chain's pharmacies to fill valid requests for birth control, including emergency contraception (EC). This change in policy was the result of Planned Parenthood Federation of America's "Fill My Pills Now" campaign, in which the ACLU of Florida participated. The campaign stemmed from customer complaints that employees were trying to prevent women from purchasing emergency contraception in four Florida Wal-Mart pharmacies. Customers were given false information about whether the stores stocked the pills and in one case a customer was lectured about the decision to use emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy. Unfortunately, it is not unusual to hear about pharmacies around the country refusing to provide EC to customers. Activists nationwide are fighting back and winning on this issue. Consumers have boycotted pharmacies, sent letters to corporate offices, and challenged the legality and appropriateness of a religious-based refusals to provide reproductive health care.


Progress Energy will delay building a new reactor at the Shearon Harris nuclear plant in Wake County, North Carolina, and instead encourage customers to use less electricity. The company had hoped to build one of the first new nuclear plants in decades, garnering billion-dollar federal tax subsidies. Opponents of the plant, and of other efforts by Progress and fellow utilities to build massive new power plants, were celebrating, but with caution. "We commend Progress for heeding the growing call for energy efficiency as the fastest and most economically sound means of cutting greenhouse gases," said Jim Warren, director of North Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network.

 

"Every delay in building coal and nuclear plants is a boost toward climate protection." Warren commended Progress for a recently announced moratorium against building coal-fired plants and its promise to promote energy efficiency. He called for "much-needed cooperation between Progress and the public in the urgent struggle to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions," and suggested that Duke Power, the other major North Carolina electricity provider, follow Progress' lead and end attempts to build a new coal-fired plant. NCWARN is part of a growing coalition of North Carolina groups working for a state energy policy that focuses on efficiency, conservation and renewable sources.


When we think of breast cancer, young women don't usually come to mind, since it is perceived as a disease of middle-aged or older women. The fact is that breast cancer is quickly becoming a risk for younger women too. If young women are to be reached, putting a younger face on this growing epidemic is critical in affecting prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

 

 

The May/June issue of Source, Breast Cancer Action's newsletter, features an article on its new, and youngest board member, 30 year old Tori Freeman. Tori became involved with BCA while attending Mills College in Oakland, California. One of her professors, a BCA board member who later died from the disease, convinced Tori to do an internship at BCA. Ten years later, Tori is bringing her generation's perspective and energy to the movement. As a resident of San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood, known for its poverty, Superfund site, and disproportionately high cancer rates among the mostly African American residents, Tori is also a strong environmental justice advocate.


As a migrant and an immigrant workers' organization, El Comité de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agrícolas (CATA), has strived to facilitate a strong link between its members in the U.S. and their communities of origin in Mexico. This past year, CATA's members joined with an artist working as an intern with CATA to design a mural to be painted in a public space in Moroleón, Guanajuato, Mexico, a city of 47,000 people. The mural was to depict the migrant's struggle and the need to organize to improve their working and living conditions. Over the years, there has been a steady migration from the smaller villages or "ranchos" that surround Moroleon into the city, and also over the past 40 years, into the U.S. The mural was inaugurated in January by workers, the Municipal President, the director of Moroleon's Cultural Center (on whose wall the mural was painted) and a local state representative.


If you want to be inspired, check out Third Wave Foundation's Reproductive Health and Justice Initiative Report – Supporting Youth-Led Social Change. It describes RHJI's funding approach, capacity building efforts and the resulting impact on its grant partners' work. Ten organizations from across the country are highlighted, providing stories from the frontlines and examples of strategies used to fight for reproductive justice, including a list of "unifying core values" developed by grantees at a convening in 2006.


Making the Grade – Or Not

 

The Sustainable Endowment Institute released its first ever report card on sustainability practices of the 100 colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada with the biggest endowments. The seven categories measured were administration, food and recycling, green building, climate change, energy, endowment transparency, investment priorities and shareholder engagement. While the report assigns grades for each indicator, the final cumulative sustainability grade distribution is as follows: four schools (Dartmouth, Harvard, Stanford and Williams) earned an A-, 22 earned level "B" grades, 54 earned level "C" grades and 20 earned level "D" grades. The Institute's report card was featured in the May 31st Chronicle of Philanthropy.

USDA Shuts Down Factory Farm "Organic" Dairy

The Cornucopia Institute, a farm policy research group based in Wisconsin, which acts as an organic industry watchdog, announced that the Case Vander Eyk Jr. Dairy in Pixley, California, a 10,000 cow feedlot dairy, has been forced to suspend selling organic milk. In early 2005, Cornucopia filed the first of a series of formal legal complaints with the USDA against large factory farm operators, including Vander Eyk, alleging that the mammoth "factory farms" were violating the spirit and letter of the organic law by confining their animals to pens and sheds rather than grazing them.

 

"This is a big victory for the farm families around the country who work so hard to create milk and dairy products that meet a high ethical standard," said Mark Kastel, Cornucopia's senior farm policy analyst. The USDA continues to investigate other allegations of serious improprieties on dairies operated by Dean Foods and Aurora. Some of these open investigations, also filed by Cornucopia, are now nearly two years old.

"Justice delayed is justice denied," Kastel asserts. The Vender Eyk dairy lost its ability to ship organic milk after receiving a notice of suspension from its USDA-accredited certifier, Quality Assurance International, for serious questions surrounding record-keeping, assuring that cows are actually managed organically (without antibiotics and hormones), fed organically produced feed (without toxic pesticides and herbicides), and are allowed to graze rather than being confined in a feedlot.

 

The Cornucopia Institute argues that factory farms with thousands of animals, and lacking the ability to provide adequate and legitimate pasture, should never have been certified in the first place. The good news about organic dairy products is that the vast majority are produced with high integrity and meet the spirit and letter of the organic law. In 2006, Cornucopia published a comprehensive report and scorecard that rated the 70 organic dairy brands, over 90 percent of which received an excellent score.


After three years of intense organizing, coalition building and negotiation, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico put his signature on the Surface Owners' Protection Act, giving New Mexican landowners the strongest protection bill in the country. The Oil and Gas Accountability Project/Earthworks, the New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, led the campaign for landowner rights, which gained support from local, state and national organizations ranging from environmental groups to the New Mexico Oil & Gas Association. No other state requires a detailed notice of oil and gas operations in surface use and compensation agreements, broad compensation for damages and loss of surface owner's ability to use the land, and the duty of the corporation drilling for oil or gas to reclaim the site. Oil and gas companies must provide written agreements before beginning operations, and landowners are no longer required to prove that a company's actions were unreasonable before gaining compensation for damages.


Ten years ago, reproductive rights leaders and funders agonized about what seemed to be a lack of interest by young women to become involved in efforts to protect women's reproductive freedom. During that time, focus groups indicated that young women did not perceive a threat to Roe v. Wade from mounting restrictions to abortion, and polling showed that younger women did not feel comfortable with a focus only on abortion. Generally, young women saw abortion as part of a continuum that included issues like HIV/AIDS, access to health care, insurance coverage of contraceptives, male involvement and the role of spirituality in decision-making. Efforts to reframe reproductive rights and justice in a way that resonates with women's realities and the political environment continue today with positive outcomes.

An example is the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice's initiative – Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom. The spring issue of Faith & Choice, RCRC's quarterly newsletter, reports on how young adults view faith and justice within the framework of reproductive rights. The majority believe that abortion is an issue in which one's personal decisions should be respected, rather than an issue with clear moral right or wrong answers. Less than half of the respondents believe that a person should turn to his or her faith or religion when it comes to making reproductive decisions. A third of the young adults see themselves as spiritual, rather than exclusively religious, and the same number say religion and spirituality go hand in hand. Comprehensive sexuality education receives overwhelming approval and is desired by more than 75 percent of this group, along with the provision of emergency contraception in emergency rooms and its over-the-counter sale to those under eighteen. Young adults see choice as a political issue and the loss of these rights as real, and most importantly they want to engage in activism. Missouri RCRC and the New Mexico RCRC include a Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom component in their organizing and advocacy efforts.



2007 Farm Bill Update: EQUIP Debate Redux

 

Among the many Farm Bill issues the National Family Farm Coalition is working on, it seeks to ensure that the few proposed funding increases go to truly beneficial programs, like the Conservation Security Program, and not to corporate dairy and livestock operations. Hotly debated is whether an expansion of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), one of the largest conservation programs in U.S. history, will further the original intent of the program. As articulated under the 1996 farm bill, EQIP is designed to help family farmers pay for practices that protect soil and water. The debate now is whether it will be used to offset costs for waste storage and pollution mitigation by large-scale confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

Several national organizations, including American Farmland Trust and Environmental Defense, advocate for an increase in the EQIP budget, from $1.2 billion to $2 billion. NFFC argues that a near doubling of the program's funding, along with passage of proposed rule changes to allow its use by even larger livestock operations, is a backdoor way of continuing to subsidize agribusinesses. A similar debate occurred during the 2002 Farm Bill, and Congress approved changes that opened the program to large-scale confinement operations. To better place the current debate in its historical context, see the 2003 report on EQIP written by the Corporate Research Project of Good Jobs First (funded by the Noyes Foundation).

 


The report, Reaping the Seeds We Sow: U.S. Farm Policy and the Immigration Dilemma asks and goes far in answering the above question. Written by Patty Kupfer of the Rural Coalition, and David Waskow and Kasey Butler of Friends of the Earth USA, the report was published by the Building Sustainable Futures for Farmers Globally campaign, a collaboration between Rural Coalition, Friends of the Earth, the National Family Farm Coalition, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and ActionAid International.

No Workers ... No Food

 

Voices shouting "Si se puede! Si se puede!" washed over International Boulevard in the heart of Oakland's Fruitvale district during a May Day march for immigration rights. The march was co-organized by leaders from AnewAmerica, an organization promoting the long-term economic empowerment of new Americans - new citizens, immigrants and refugees - and encouraging their full participation in the nation's political, social and cultural growth.

 

As they marched along a four mile route, demonstrators passed taquerias, cafes, restaurants and other eateries, closed for the day in a show of solidarity. The connection between food, workers' rights and societal needs were clear: no workers, no food.

Maria Jimenez, Manuel de Paz and Claudia Reyes, grassroots leaders with AnewAmerica, spoke passionately from the Fruitvale district stage about the rights of new Americans to health care, access to jobs, education, food, water, shelter and freedom from government persecution. Their message was resoundingly applauded by the thousands in attendance, and policy-makers witnessed once again that immigrants and migrant workers are a growing, vocal segment of the population, and are integral to our communities.

 


Comprehensive Immigration Reform: It Ain't Over 'Til…
Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste's president, Ramon Ramirez, issued this statement:
A majority of Americans support comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to earned citizenship, and the country is tired of waiting for Congress to do its job. We expect … bipartisan legislation that balances stronger border security with common sense reform including family reunification, respect for worker rights and a pathway to citizenship.



PCUN's members, staff and supporters attended a recent immigration rally at the Portland, Oregon, office of U.S. Senator Gordon Smith. PCUN plans to intensify its advocacy this year and every year until immigrant workers get the security befitting their contributions to society and the economy.
The percentage of undocumented immigrants working in labor-intensive sectors of the US economy has continued to rise as border enforcement was stepped up. The proportion of undocumented immigrants among agricultural workers increased from about 38% in 1994 to 52% in 1998 (Dept. of Labor 2000:22). By 2003, undocumented migrants accounted for at least 60% of the total US labor force in agriculture (an estimated 80% in California). Source: Cornelius, W. (2005), Controlling "unwanted" immigration: Lessons from the United States, 1993-2004. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, vol. 31 (4), pp. 775-794.

Building People of Color Leadership for a More Equitable Food System

 

 

In April, 20 leaders from the ten organizations funded through the Noyes Diversifying Leadership for Sustainable Food Policy initiative participated in a day-long training on grassroots advocacy. It was led by Makani Themba Nixon, executive director of the Praxis Project, which partners with local groups to strengthen their capacity to influence policy-making in order to address root causes of community problems. The interactive training included an overview of grassroots policy development, as well as small group exercises on community visioning, power and stakeholder analysis, and planning and writing succinct policy goal statements.

Diversifying Leadership for Sustainable Food Policy supports grassroots leadership by people of color to help shape the policies guiding our nation's food and agriculture systems to ensure equitable and ecologically sound farm practices, fair treatment for farm laborers, more consumption of regionally and locally produced foods, stronger linkages between rural and urban areas, and investment in local food systems that provide access to a healthy, affordable, culturally appropriate food supply for all.


Noyes In Action

How are we doing?

Excerpts from the 2005 Grantee Perception Report are now on the Noyes website. The GPR is a survey developed by the Center for Effective Philanthropy to measure grantees' perceptions of a foundation's grantmaking processes and procedures. Survey responses were received from 63 of 99 Noyes grantees. Noyes was rated very high on the quality of interactions with grantees, impact on grantee organizations and overall satisfaction. They also felt staff was very accessible and highly rate the direct assistance provided in addition to grants. The GPR identified a few areas for us to consider further. Two that stand out are the time spent by grantees to prepare proposals and reports relative to the size of Noyes' grants ($25,000 - $30,000), and the lack of adequate communication with grantees that receive final grants from the Foundation. We are addressing those concerns now. Thanks to all who participated.


In May, the Foundation signed onto the Principles for Responsible Investment, joining 182 other asset owners, investment managers and professional firms.

In 2005, the United Nations Secretary-General invited institutional investors to join a process to develop the Principles for Responsible Investment. Individuals representing 20 institutional investors from 12 countries agreed to participate in the Investor Group, which was supported by a 70-person, multi-stakeholder group of experts from the investment industry, intergovernmental and governmental organizations, and civil society and academia. The Principles include:

1. Incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes.
2. Being active owners that incorporate ESG issues into our ownership policies and practices.
3. Seeking appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which we invest.
4. Promoting acceptance and implementation of the Principles within the investment industry.
5. Working together to enhance our effectiveness in implementing the Principles.
6. Reporting on our activities and progress towards implementing the Principles.

Just Hit Send

The Foundation will soon be accepting letters of inquiry and invited proposals through the Internet. Grantseekers will be able to access the application form through the Noyes website. It will start with a funding quiz to make sure there is a match with the Foundation funding priorities. The Foundation will continue to accept letters and proposals through the mail.


Welcome Edna and Alexandra

 

 

Edna Iriarte joined the staff as a part-time program officer for New York City grantmaking. Edna has been involved in social justice initiatives, providing research, community organizing, organizational development and administrative services. The daughter of working-class immigrants from Ecuador and Guatemala, she began her career working with progressive foundations that support grassroots organizing to strengthen and expand civil rights, and promote the active civic participation of all people. Most recently Edna worked with La Fuente/New York Civic Participation Project, a labor-community collaboration working at the policy and grassroots level for immigrant and worker rights.

 

 

Alexandra Esparza is a Stanford University student who is interning this summer. She is participating in the Philanthropy Internship Program of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity. SEO places college and university students of color in various professional settings including philanthropy, law and business. This is the seventh year that the Foundation has participated in the internship program.

What the Staff's Been Saying and Doing

Vic De Luca was a presenter at an April program sponsored by the New York Regional Association of Grantmakers entitled, The Role of General Operating Support – In Search of Impact.

Vic was also active at the April annual meeting of the Council on Foundations in Seattle. He attended a series of meetings for foundation CEOs, including one that explored ways in which to increase diversity in the philanthropic field. He also joined a contingent of seven reproductive rights funders that met with the Council's president and the conference chair to raise concerns about a scheduled luncheon speaker, Wade Horn, former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary. Dr. Horn was a chief proponent of the Bush administration's abstinence-only policies, which have not proven to be the best way to protect young people from unintended pregnancies. The funders objected to the format of Dr. Horn's presentation, which did not include an opportunity for the audience to ask questions or make comments. Although the format did not change, it was clear from subsequent conversations with Council leadership that the objections were duly noted and will be considered for future conferences.

Kolu Zigbi was very busy at the April Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Network conference. She was one of five speakers who honored the Kellogg program director, Oran Hesterman, for his contributions to the field of sustainable agriculture and food systems. Kolu and Oran co-authored an article for the spring edition of the Environmental Grantmakers Association's Journal, entitled Diversifying Leadership for Sustainable Food Policy: An Innovative Approach.

Kolu also organized a roundtable discussion at the conference that attracted 12 nonprofit representatives around the topic: How to Shake the Social Justice Money Tree: Pitching On-the-Ground Projects to Social Change Grantmakers. In addition, she led a group of activists, funders and academics that developed a workshop proposal for the U.S. Social Forum being held in Atlanta. The four-hour workshop, Food Justice Nourishes All Movements, was accepted by the Forum and will be held in a community garden.

Kolu was interviewed for an April 19th article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, which focused on philanthropic support of locally-produced food. She also was extensively interviewed by GrantCraft for a guide on racial equity, published in partnership with the Philanthropic Initiative, entitled Grantmaking with a Racial Equity Lens.

Lastly, Kolu planned and moderated an April conference call for funders, entitled Farm Bill Proposals to Curb Corporate Concentration, which explored how gains made since the last Farm Bill and a different ideological makeup of Congress have encouraged advocates to press for a "Competition Title" for the 2007 Farm Bill.

Wilma Montañez raised important issues at the May meeting of the Funders Committee on Civic Participation. She talked about the need to include a gender lens when funding state-level activism in order to grow the base of support for progressive issues by engaging more women and young people.

Wilma also learned that someone in TV land does read emails. While watching the local Bronx news, Wilma saw a story on the closure of New York City schools serving pregnant teens. She contacted the TV station after it solicited feedback on its story to let them know about Sistas on the Rise, a Noyes grantee engaged in advocacy efforts to improve educational services for pregnant and parenting adolescent young women. This resulted in the news station covering the Sistas on the Rise press conference objecting to the program closures, and also in running a feature news story about its work.

 

Related News



The Congressional Philanthropy Caucus was recently formed to give lawmakers a forum to discuss issues related to philanthropy. The co-chairs, Representatives Robin Hayes (R-OH) and Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH), are now recruiting other members of Congress. The idea of a caucus was raised by the Council on Foundations, which lobbied for it during Foundations on the Hill in February.

The IRS is planning to release a new draft of Form 990, the tax form for nonprofit organizations. A letter from Senators Baucus (D-MT) and Grassley (R-IA) asked the IRS to revise the form in a way that leads to "greater reporting and transparency …[it] is only as good as the information provided – to be beneficial the information must be complete and accurate. Unfortunately, that is too often not the case."

The IRS has also released binding guidance for nonprofit organizations regarding election year activities. Issues covered include voter guides, public forums, voter education, get-out-the-vote drives, individual activities by organization leaders, candidate appearances and forums, issue advocacy, and business activities. For more information see the Alliance for Justice's Nonprofit Advocacy Network.

Ninety-three percent of Americans believe companies have a responsibility to help preserve the environment. The 2007 Cone Consumer Environmental Survey of 1,066 U.S. adults found that one-third reported heightened interest in the environment compared to a year ago; almost half have purchased environmentally friendly products; more than one in five have donated to an environmental organization and 18 percent have advocated for environmental issues.

 

Americans are calling on companies to reduce pollution through office and manufacturing operations (78 percent), design products and packages in a more environmental way (69 percent) and distribute and transport products more efficiently (69 percent). Ninety-one percent of Americans say they have a more positive image of a company when it is environmentally responsible. Almost as many (85 percent) indicated they would consider switching to another company because of a company's negative corporate responsibility practices.