Financial Access and De-Risking: Moving Toward Solutions for Nonprofit Organizations
This issue brief summarizes systemic financial access and de-risking challenges faced by nonprofits, identifies the sources of these challenges, addresses impacts on nonprofit operations, and explores solutions for addressing these challenges. The brief updates a 2017 issue brief on financial access, highlighting congressional efforts to address financial access issues through requirements included in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. Read the updated brief here.
The Anti-Terrorism Act and Potential Civil Liability for Nonprofits
This issue brief offers background on the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) and summarizes some of the pending litigation filed under the ATA that could dramatically expand the legal risks faced by nonprofits. Read the brief here.
Russia-Ukraine Sanctions, Civil Society Concerns, and What Donors Should Know
This issue brief summarizes some of the recent sanctions imposed in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, raises concerns these sanctions pose for civil society organizations operating in Russia and Ukraine, and offers recommendations for donors working to support them. Read the brief here.
What Donors Should Know Following the Dutch Government’s Decision to Cut Funding for UAWC
On Jan. 5, 2022, the Dutch Foreign Ministry published a letter to the Dutch Parliament announcing that it was cutting its financial support for the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), a leading Palestinian civil society organization based in Ramallah. This issue brief summarizes the Dutch foreign ministry's letter, noting that it cleared UAWC of organizational links to the PFLP and based its decision instead on alleged individual links, a
Negative Impacts of Sanctions on Civil Society
U.S. sanctions have created significant challenges for civil society organizations operating in sanctioned countries or in areas controlled by sanctioned groups. This issue brief offers an overview of the negative impacts of sanctions on civil society, as well as recommendations for addressing them. Read the brief here.
Nonprofits with USAID Funding May Be Vulnerable to Federal Lawsuits
In the spring of 2018, the Charity & Security Network learned of several lawsuits filed in U.S. courts against nonprofit organizations (NPOs) that receive USAID funding. Using a law meant to combat fraud against the federal government by providing incentives for private citizens to act as whistleblowers (the False Claims Act), as of May 2020 the Zionist Advocacy Center (TZAC) has alleged that four groups violated the anti-terrorist certification
Islamophobic Groups Attacking Humanitarian, Peacebuilding Groups and Human Rights Defenders
Click here for a printable PDF of this fact sheet In recent years, two U.S. organizations have conducted smear campaigns against charities and human rights groups that appear intended to shut down or limit humanitarian assistance, peacebuilding and human rights advocacy by or on behalf of Muslim communities. They target groups working in places with large Muslim populations, including Palestine and south Asia. Their work has been used to fuel
Financial Services Deplatforming Hurts Aid, Peacebuilding
Increasingly, financial service companies and online payment platforms are bowing to pressure from outside groups to “deplatform” or cancel the accounts of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) and human rights defenders working in global hot spots. This affects humanitarian aid, peacebuilding, development and human rights programs. Organizations with a self-professed political agenda are manufacturing and using disinformation to pressure financial service companies and payment platforms to end their relationships with these
The Prohibition on Material Support and Its Impacts on Nonprofits
Click here for a printable PDF of this Issue Brief The U.S. counterterrorism framework impedes the work of legitimate nonprofit organizations (NPOs) in two ways: first, it prohibits anyone from engaging in a wide range of broadly defined activities that involve listed terrorist organizations, regardless of the purpose or intent behind such engagement. Violating “material support” laws can result in criminal prosecution, extensive jail time and fines. Second, it
False Claim Act Lawsuits: What Nonprofits Need to Know
Please click here for a printable PDF of this Issue Brief. What is the False Claims Act and why is it an Issue? The False Claims Act (FCA) is a U.S. law that imposes liability on individuals, companies and organizations that knowingly defraud government programs. Private parties, called “relators,” can bring these suits on behalf of the government. Recent lawsuits claim that some nonprofit organizations (NPOs) receiving USAID
Regulation of Nonprofit Organizations in the U.S. – An Overview
Click here for a printable PDF of this Issue Brief. Nonprofit organizations (NPOs) in the United States are subject to a complex system of regulation and oversight that combines registration, reporting and monitoring at the federal, state and local levels. These regulatory regimes mostly revolve around raising, spending and accounting for funds, protecting the public from fraud, and encouraging charitable contributions. The First Amendment protections for freedom of association,
Financial Access and Derisking: Moving Toward Solutions for Nonprofit Organizations
Please click here for a printable PDF of this Issue Brief In recent years, access to financial services has become increasingly difficult for nonprofit organizations (NPOs) that must conduct international financial transactions in order to operate overseas, often in places where their work is needed most. Financial institutions may delay, or refuse to make, transfers between organizations. Sometimes, NPOs are turned away as customers or have their accounts closed.
USAID’s Partner Vetting System
Click here for a printable PDF version of this Issue Brief. The Partner Vetting System (PVS) is a pilot program created to vet individuals in nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and for-profit entities that apply for United States Agency for International Development (USAID) contracts and grants, to ensure that USAID-funded activities are not inadvertently providing support to entities associated with terrorism. Under the PVS pilot program, the U.S. government requires many grant applicants
Impact on Women: Counterterrorism Laws and Policies Restricting Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Work
A new C&SN Issue Brief examines the impact on women of counterterrorism laws and policies restricting peacebuilding and humanitarian work. It looks at the disproportionate effect that armed conflict has on women, shines a light on the role women are taking in these global hot spots to improve their lives and their communities, and explains how empowering legislation would allow U.S. humanitarian and peacebuilding groups to partner with these
Barriers to Cross-Border Nonprofit Operations and The Role of the Financial Action Task Force
Nonprofit organizations – humanitarian, peacebuilding, grantmaking, human rights and more – struggle against daunting obstacles in conflict zones where need is great and risk is high. Increasingly their work is undermined by counterterror bureaucracies that impose unnecessary restrictions on operations. Some restrictive laws are deliberate attempts to suppress political opposition and others are excessive restrictions that do not take into account the ways in which the work of nonprofits could