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NC Nonprofits Talk Business in Raleigh

June 1, 2010

RALEIGH, N.C. - More than 100 North Carolina nonprofits are talking business today in Raleigh for the first-ever "N.C. Nonprofits Day." Staff, board members and volunteers from around the state are educating state legislators about what they do and who they help with a spectrum of programs ranging from the arts, to the environment, to helping children.

Vice-president Trisha Lester of the N.C. Center for Nonprofits calls nonprofit organizations the 'backbone' of communities across the state.

"Nonprofits contribute $31 billion to the state's economy and employ more than 400,000 people, so that's nothing to sneeze at and certainly a lot to listen to."

Getting lawmakers to include small nonprofits when looking at ways to help small businesses is another goal of today's event. Lester points to the increased demand for nonprofit services that has coincided with a decline in private and government funding.

"What we want to ensure is that nonprofits be given the same incentives as other small businesses, by helping nonprofits provide employee health benefits and hire unemployed North Carolinians."

Lester says recent talk about pulling tax exemptions from charitable organizations has raised concerns because new taxes would reduce what nonprofits could spend on services, and many of those services - especially health and welfare projects - help reduce state expenses. Removing tax exemptions has been debated as an option to help reduce the state deficit.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - NC