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DANA will be updating you on important public policy matters as they happen. We will also post about the activities of the Governor, Delaware's General Assembly, local issues, hearings & meetings, and legislation that relates to DANA's Public Policy Agenda.


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Top tags: nonprofits  budget  Joint Finance Committee  General Assembly  Delaware  Grant-in-Aid  Governor  DEFAC  Workers Compensation  Insurance  Delaware Nonprofit Day  government  charitable solicitation  National Council of Nonprofits  Public Policy  revenue  Attorney General  Legislative Hall  Lt. Governor  Task force  Board Member  Calendar  charities  Healthcare  Nonprofit  Office of Management and Budget  taxes  Wilmington  Advocacy  Affordable Care Act 

DEFAC Down Again

Posted By John Baker, Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Hello All,

The DEFAC forecast just came in and the funds available for appropriation are down by $700,000; not as bad as it could have been, but not good like past years when this last report would tick up.

Sheila and I have been in deep discussions with Joint Finance Committee (JFC) members and our other Senators and Representatives as they prepare to finalize the Budget, Bond, and Grant-In-Aid Bills. They’re commending many of you on your efforts to communicate your successful outcomes.

The social media campaign trumpeting your successes continues to roll through Delaware. #‎OurDelaware ‪#‎PartnersInAstrongerDelaware Many of you have sent us powerful images and stories that we’ve been able to get out to our public officials over social media. Keep them coming and we thank you!

Contact your JFC Members and Legislators

As you saw in the letter we sent you Monday morning from the JFC Co-Chair, Melanie George Smith, she intends to try to make any necessary cuts based on the JFC member recommendations, as opposed to “across-the-board.” Because of this, it’s that much more important for you and your boards, staff, and clients to reach out to them and make certain they know your great outcomes. Carefully craft a brief message for them to use in emails and phone messages, in 3 or 4 sentence talking points, that state how you make your clients lives better, as well as what the impact a 5% or 10% funding cut would have on the services you provide, or how a 5% or 10% cut in funding could impact employment at your nonprofit.

The final meeting for the Grant-In-Aid Bill will be on Tuesday, June 28 at 12:30 pm in the JFC Meeting Room at Legislative Hall, Dover, DE.

Voter Voice – We’ve added this new tool for your convenience in getting your important messages to your elected officials.  You can just send this link along with your specific talking points (for them to add to the Voter Voice message) to your board, staff, volunteers, and clients and they can send a message to your elected officials.  

Here’s the list of the Joint Finance Committee Assignments, that we sent out to you in May. Download the file here.

As always, reach out to me with any questions or comments:


Tags:  DEFAC  Delaware  Joint Finance Committee  Legislative Hall  nonprofits 

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Nonprofit letter to Joint Finance Committee and General Assembly

Posted By John Baker, Friday, June 10, 2016

Delaware Revenue Solutions Coalition and the Delaware Nonprofit Sector

Letter to the State Budget Writing Joint Finance Committee and the General Assembly

The Joint Finance Committee completed their two weeks of “Marking Up” the State Budget last Thursday by about 9pm. They’re holding Grant-In-Aid until after the June 20 DEFAC Forecast. The Delaware Revenue Solutions Coalition (DANA, Delaware Community Foundation, Delaware Grantmakers Association, United Way, UD CCRS, Ability Network of Delaware, and AFP) has updated our Advocacy letter that you all signed onto by sending your logos that we’ve included in the letter. Please check it out here. It carries the same message as the one you received at the October 19, 2015 Nonprofit Forum. The letter is to the Joint Finance Committee members and more broadly the General Assembly members. The key message is that nonprofits are efficient, effective, innovative partners in contributing to Delaware’s quality of life. It includes specific requests that the JFC and General Assembly consider the revenue recommendations of the special DEFAC Report issued May 2015 to meet the budget gap of $72.8 million, instead of achieving it through cuts that include cuts to nonprofit contracts, pass-throughs, and Grant-In-Aid. 

As always, please reach out to me with any questions or comments at:


Tags:  budget  DEFAC  General Assembly  Joint Finance Committee  nonprofits 

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Budget Crisis Updates

Posted By John Baker, Thursday, May 26, 2016

I will be posting more frequent blogs over the next 6 weeks as critical budget information that impacts the Delaware nonprofit sector becomes available. That said, I have the latest on Delaware’s budget crunch, following on the heels of the May 26 Delaware Economic Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC) forecast. 

The new total budget gap has swollen nearly $45 million to a total of $75.3 million. The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) cancelled their May 24 public start of their “Mark Up” of the Governor's proposed budget, and instead met privately to grapple with a new course forward. JFC started their public budget mark-up meeting yesterday (Wednesday), handling general initial review of the current financial challenges and began to review the major sections of the budget bill. 

The take-away from yesterday’s JFC meeting was the question that resounded through the chamber time and time again: “What is the Outcome of the Program?”

As you communicate with your JFC Members, Controller General Analysts, Representatives, and Senators, be certain to talk about and include your OUTCOMES.

To support the Delaware Nonprofit Sector, DANA and the Delaware Revenue Solutions Coalition are launching the “Our Delaware” series to get your stories of success out to the public, and more particularly to JFC members and the General Assembly. We’ve already started receiving your images and stories as the result of our email call for them yesterday. If you haven’t sent yours, send it today. Plus we’ll be updating the “Logo Letter” so if you haven’t sent us your logo, do it now.

On May 18, over 100 of you turned out for Nonprofit Day. Thank you! Now together, we’ll continue to build on this success.

As always, please reach out to me with any questions or comments at:



Tags:  budget  DEFAC  Delaware  Grant-in-Aid  Joint Finance Committee  nonprofits 

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Grant-In-Aid plus Nonprofit Day

Posted By John Baker, Wednesday, April 27, 2016

As I’m certain you know, because I’ve seen a lot of you in in Leg. Hall, it’s been a busy period in Dover. Sheila Bravo and I have been busy meeting with General Assembly Leadership and members (Sen. Blevins, Rep. Schwartzkopf, Rep. Longhurst, Sen. Hall-Long), and Joint Finance Committee Members & staff (George-Smith, McDowell, Bushweller, Peterson, Cloutier, Carson, Kenton, Lawson) with the balance to follow. These meetings are critical as we work to preserve overall funding in the budget for contracts, the $2.3 Million “Nonprofit Partner” funds the Governor included in his budget, and the Grant-In-Aid funds.

The Delaware Economic Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC) on April 18th held the forecast pretty stable with only a $9 million decrease since December, due mainly to revenues adjustments related Dupont. May and June’s reports will be important to watch.

This week has been the Bond Committee Hearings with no surprises as of this blog writing.

The Grant-In-Aid Committee Assignments are out, so be sure to review these assignments and reach out to the assigned staff and legislators responsible for your GIA application. Download the file here.

Delaware Nonprofit Day is Wednesday, May 18 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Legislative Hall. It's free to attend, but be sure to register in advance for this important event! They’ll be Government Tributes & Declarations by Leadership as well as lunch served. Be ready to advocate because Government Leadership and your General Assembly members will be present for you to speak with. Bring your staff, volunteers, and clients to demonstrate the strength of the Nonprofit Sector to our elected officials.  The day is a Coalition Effort with DANA, United Way of Delaware, Delaware Community Foundation, Delaware Grantmakers Association, UD’s CCRS, and AFP.

Joint Finance Committee’s Budget Markup begins the week following Delaware Nonprofit Day so let’s turn out in force and make our voices heard.

As always, please reach out to me with any questions or comments at:


Tags:  Delaware Nonprofit Day  Grant-in-Aid  Joint Finance Committee  nonprofits 

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Updates from Dover

Posted By John Baker, Thursday, March 24, 2016

As I’m certain you know, because I’ve seen most of you in in Leg. Hall, it’s been a busy period in Dover with February’s month-of-Joint-Finance-Committee (JFC) hearings. Kudos to all of you who gave testimony or made statements to the JFC. We’ve had the opportunity to meet with each of the committee members and they confirm that, even with the improved revenue forecasts compared to September’s, it’s still going to be a challenging year for all funding, including Grant-In-Aid. The takeaway here is to make sure you continue talking with the JFC members, your General Assembly members and the Controller General's staffer that’s reviewing your application. We’ll post these assignments as soon as they’re out, which is usually in late April. 

Sheila and I have also been meeting with the General Assembly Leadership including Senate President Pro Tempore Blevins, House Speaker Schwartzkopf, and House Majority Leader Longhurst. We have appointments with remaining leaders and members throughout April and May. Our message: that nonprofits are important and key partners with government, which has been acknowledged and strongly affirmed.

We’re also gearing up for Nonprofit Day on May 18 at  Legislative Hall in Dover so mark your calendars. This year we’ll have the formal presentations by the Governor and General Assembly Leadership, but we’re also working with our coalition partners, Ability Network of Delaware, United Way of Delaware, Delaware Community Foundation, Delaware Grantmakers Association, University of Delaware’s CCRS, and AFP-Brandywine Chapter, to have as many employees, clients, volunteers, and supporters come out for a Nonprofit Rally on Nonprofit Day. The rally will be on the steps of Legislative Hall and will include the presentation of a Joint Resolution of the General Assembly that recognizes the day as Delaware Nonprofit Day. It will be important to have as many of our supporters present for this portion of the programming so that our elected officials see the power of the nonprofit sector! Mark your calendars for May 18 from 11am to 11:30am for the Rally and 12-1 for the formal program with your Executive Directors and Board Chairs in the Senate Majority Meeting Room. Click the hyperlink above to register!

We were at the Monday, March 21 Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC) meeting where we learned that the forecast for the “98% Appropriation Limit” decreased by $12.6 million from the December forecast, due to the recognition of the “Delaware Competes Act” and the decreased corporate and Personal Income Tax related to Dupont changes. The April and May DEFAC reports are expected to improve, given no additional losses of major employers.

Wednesday, March 23 was the hearing of Senate Bill 39 on proposed minimum wage increases, in the House Economic Development Committee. The bill did not make it out of committee. There was a great deal of support expressed for the working poor, but there was also strong concern expressed about the tenuous nature of our economic recovery and that now was not a time to make this change. There was discussion that the “Earned Income Tax Credits” may be a better way to address the challenges of the working poor in Delaware. DANA provided our statement: that we believe in addressing the challenges of the working poor, but given that our economic models are so dependent upon our partnership and contracts with government, the sector will first need to see increases in our contracts.

Remember that the Delaware Presidential Primary Election is on April 26, 2016. After the primaries, DANA will be surveying the candidates for state-wide public office about their support for the nonprofit sector. We’ll then get the results out to you in a Nonprofit Sector Voter’s Guide prior to the General Elections on November 8, 2016.

As always, please reach out to me with any questions or comments at:


Tags:  Board of Directors  Delaware Nonprofit Day  General Assembly  Governor  Grant-in-Aid  Joint Finance Committee  nonprofits 

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Annual Budget Update LIVE and more from Dover

Posted By John Baker, Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Hi All –

Register HERE for the DANA Free Event of the Season…The Annual Budget Update on Wednesday, February 17 (next week!) with OMB, DHSS, Kids Dept., JFC, and Advocacy! This is always a really popular and packed event, so don't miss the opportunity to reserve your seat.

I also have a number of updates for you from Dover:

We’ve just entered the second week out of the four weeks of JFC’s Hearings. Check the calendar here. 

Delaware Revenue Solutions Coalition

The report of the “Delaware Revenue Solutions Coalition – Expenditure Review Committee” is in. Find it here.

There is no issue too tough for the nonprofit sector. They're continuing work to achieve efficiencies in Criminal Justice, Medicaid, Foster Care, State Personnel, School Districts, and Central and Fleet Services.

Report Conclusion:       

“Delaware state government has undertaken substantial actions to control costs in recent years, which has mirrored national trends.  Given continued costs pressures, the Committee believes it important to maintain this focus.  While many of the recommendations require further study and analysis, they provide a general course of action that should meet the Committee’s charge to identify opportunities to provide services more efficiently, effectively or at less cost to taxpayers.” 

The report focused and issued recommendations on:

1. Outcomes-based Approaches for the following:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Medicaid
  • Foster Care program

2. Personnel Cost Containment

3. Use of Consolidation, Sharing and/or Centralized Services

  • School Districts
  • Government central services to include other fleets

Leadership Meetings

Sheila and I met with Senate President Pro Tempore, Patricia Blevins and Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf and updated them on the challenges of the sector and the good work of the sector-wide Delaware Revenue Solutions Coalition.

They both acknowledged the good news of the Governor including in his budget proposed increases to Contracts and pass-throughs with the “Nonprofit Partners” Line of 1% or $2.3 Million, as well as holding the Grant-In-Aid line level at $43 Million.

They both also emphasized the need for heavy advocacy from the whole sector to maintain these items in the budget. So keep engaged with the Delaware Revenue Solutions Coalition and DANA. The next event you can participate in on this front is the Annual Budget Update next week (see the full agenda below), then March 23rd at a DelARF day in Dover, and attending Nonprofit Day and Rally on May 18th at Legislative Hall in Dover, 11am-1pm. More details to follow, but you can reserve your spot now by clicking here.

State of the Sector to Joint Finance Committee 

We’re finalizing the date near the end of February on which Sheila  will present to the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) about the “State of the Nonprofit Sector.”

Annual Budget Update Agenda

8:30 – 9:00am     Registration/Continental Breakfast – Courtesy of Nemours Foundation

9:00 - 9:15am      Welcoming remarks – Sheila Bravo, President & CEO of DANA

9:15 – 9:20am     Moderator: George Meldrum, Nemours

9:20 – 9:45am     Bert Scoglietti, Office of Management and Budget

9:45 – 10:00am   Rep. Melanie George Smith, Co-Chair Joint Finance Committee (JFC)

                                (General Assembly’s Outlook on the Budget)

10:00 – 10:30       Kevin Kelley, Division of Health and Social Services (DHSS)

10:30 – 11:00       Kate Carlson, Department of Services for Children Youth and their Families (DSCYF)

11:00 – 11:30       Rebecca Kidner, ESQ., Registered Lobbyist, Government Relations

                                 (Advocacy – The Opportunity for Voice and Legal Concerns)

11:30 - 11:50am   The Legislative Budget Cycle

                                 (John Baker, EVP for Public Policy & Programs, DANA)

11:50- 12:00pm    Closing remarks - George Meldrum, Nemours Foundation

As always, if you have any questions call or email me: 302.777.5500


Tags:  budget  Delaware  Delaware Nonprofit Day  Joint Finance Committee  nonprofits  Revenue 

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Governor Markell’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Proposal

Posted By John Baker, Friday, January 29, 2016

Sheila and I were there for the Governor’s Budget Presentation in Dover yesterday afternoon and here are the highlights for the Nonprofit Sector:

Governor Markell presented his budget for Fiscal Year 2017. Now the General Assembly and Joint Finance Committee (JFC) will begin hearings, starting on February 2, to draft the final budget bill, Grant-In-Aid bill, and Bond Bill to be passed on June 30. Check the JFC meeting calendar here.

We need to recognize the Governor, his Cabinet, Legislators and all of your efforts that resulted in the Governor including a “Nonprofit Partner” line in his budget. This resonates the language that we have been using at DANA and with the Delaware Revenue Solutions Coalition. What we're doing is working! This line-item is $2.3 million to fund a 1% increase for state nonprofit providers of services to clients. This is truly the power of working in coalition with the broad nonprofit sector, a Governor, Staff, and Legislators that understand the value of partnership with nonprofits.

Now we must continue to work in coalition to preserve this “Nonprofit Partner” line as the budget moves to the Joint Finance Committee and hearings begin on February 2.

The Governor also proposed level funding for Grant-In-Aid, with no decrease to the $43 million budget line.

Get the whole budget presentation slides here.

Check the details of the budget here at the OMB site.

“Nonprofit Partners” – See it at the bottom of this document. 


Key Dates and Programs for DANA and Delaware Revenue Solutions Coalition (DRSC) to mark on your calendars:
(Other programs and dates will be published as they become available from Coalition Partners.)

January 29: Expenditure Committee Recommendations
Report is due out Friday, January 29 so watch this Blog for breaking news.

February 17: DANA’s Annual Budget Update & Advocacy Program 
Wednesday, February 17 -
 9:00 a.m. to Noon at Wilmington University Dover Campus – Free, but register ahead of time on the DANA website calendar of events. Presentations by Office of Management and Budget, DHSS, DSCYF, Joint Finance Committee Co-Chair Melanie George Smith, and Rebecca Kidner, Advocate and Lobbyist.

May 18: Nonprofit Day and Rally
Wednesday, May 18 – 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Legislative Hall, Dover, DE


Tags:  budget  General Assembly  Governor  Grant-in-Aid  Joint Finance Committee  nonprofits  Office of Management and Budget 

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State of the State recap

Posted By John Baker, Friday, January 22, 2016

Hi All –

I had the distinct pleasure of teaming up with my colleague Kristin Davis Sommers yesterday as we attended the Governor’s State of the State address representing the Delaware Nonprofit Sector. You probably saw Kristin live-tweeting from our DANA handle @DE_Nonprofit about the highlights of the Governor’s final State of the State. 

Remember that DANA will have it’s “Annual Budget Update” in Dover on February 17th with the Office of Management and Budget, DHSS, and the Kids Dept. giving you their updates on how the Governor’s proposed budget will impact these key state agencies and their contracts with nonprofits. Also, attendees will hear from the Joint Finance Committee and be able to hone advocacy skills with Dover’s own Rebecca Kidner, Esq. This program will take place after the Governor’s budget release on January 28th, so we’ll have the latest figures drilled into the presentations. We’ll be emailing you when registration is open in the coming weeks.

The Governor’s State of the State highlighted the many accomplishments of the administration through the challenging economy: maintaining the state’s “Triple A Bond Rating” that impacts all that we do; highlighting job growth initiatives like ZipCode Wilmington and Pathways to Prosperity; discussing increases in preschool enrollment that lays a stronger foundation for success in other school initiatives like STEM and building a global workforce through language initiatives; improving the criminal justice system including automotive, culinary, and computer skills training, making mandatory sentencing changes, and other ways to help inmates become contributing Delawareans once they’ve served their time. The Governor also announced plans to restructure state employee health benefits to gain control of this major budget cost driver. In his closing, the Governor acknowledged that there is much work to do over the next six months as the budget bill is written by the General Assembly’s Joint Finance Committee and passed by the General Assembly.

The Joint Finance Hearings will begin in February, so check the schedule here and come make your voices heard.

DANA’s “Nonprofit Day” will be on May 18th from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Senate Majority Meeting Room at Dover’s Legislative Hall. Watch for more details in the coming weeks and months. This is a rally with the Nonprofit Coalition (DANA, United Way of Delaware, Delaware Community Foundation, Delaware Grantmakers Association, University of Delaware – CCRS, and Association of Fundraising Professionals- Brandywine Chapter), so make sure to keep this day marked on your calendar. The time in the Meeting Room will be for Executive Directors to hear from our Elected Officials, and the subsequent rally on the steps of Legislative Hall is a great opportunity to bring your board members, volunteers, and clients so our elected officials can see our numbers as they work to finalize the state budget.

As always if you have any questions or comments please give me a call or send me and email.


Tags:  budget  Delaware Nonprofit Day  economy  General Assembly  Governor  Joint Finance Committee  nonprofits  State of the State 

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General Assembly back in session

Posted By John Baker, Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hello All,

The 148th General Assembly went back into session yesterday with the continued challenges of a very tight budget year, despite the last Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC) estimate was more optimistic. Mark your calendars! The Senate and House will meet Tuesday through Thursday through January 28 (see calendar here)The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) will begin meeting to build the budget Mondays through Thursdays, February 1 through February 25, then they will meet February 29 through March 3 on the Bond Bill (see the JFC calendar here).

The Governor’s State of the State is Thursday, January 21 at Legislative Hall. His budget presentation will be the following Thursday, January 28 at 1:00 p.m. in the Tatnall Building. Please check the website for any updates or changes to scheduled events.

The DANA Annual Budget Update will be on February 17 from 9:00 a.m. to noon. We will bring you up-to-date on the Governor’s proposed budget and expected changes. This will be your opportunity to hear the latest from OMB, DHSS, the DSCYF, and the JFC.

The Delaware Revenue Solutions Coalition, our nonprofit coalition, continues to meet weekly. We have a busy season of meeting with legislators and taking them our message, including the letter you all signed onto with your logos. Please schedule your own meetings and be sure to incorporate the three points that we agree to in the letter. This is important so our elected officials hear a consistent and unified message coming from the nonprofit sector, leaders, board members, volunteers, and clients. All of our efforts will culminate at Nonprofit Day in Dover at Legislative Hall in May. Stay tuned to this blog and our website for updates.

Delaware Bills to Watch

While the Delaware Competes Act, HB 235, doesn’t directly affect nonprofits, it is a good bi-partisan attempt to strengthen Delaware’s position and economy. The bill was just filed Friday, and is an effort to increase Delaware’s competitiveness in retaining existing corporations and attracting new businesses and corporations to our state. View the Act here

Regarding the proposed Clean-Water Bill, I spoke with bill sponsor, Senator Bryan Townsend, and he assures me that the bill will be revised to address the concerns of nonprofits and others. I’ll keep you updated as I learn more on this.

U.S. Federal Treasury Rule Withdrawn

Thanks to all of our efforts, including DANA’s filed comments to the IRS, the U.S. Treasury Department and IRS has withdrawn their proposed “Gift Substantiation Regulation” that would have required nonprofits to collect Social Security numbers of donors that contributed more than $250. A job well done by our nonprofit community!

As always, feel free to reach out to me via email or by phone 302-777-5500.


Tags:  Bond Bills  budget  DEFAC  Delaware  General Assembly  Governor  Joint Finance Committee  nonprofits 

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DEFAC Update

Posted By John Baker, Monday, December 21, 2015
Hi All,

Today's Delaware Economic Financial Advisory Committee (DEFAC) meeting revealed that their estimated "98% Appropriation" number is up $164 million. This still leaves a substantial gap between revenues and expenditures, but it's an improvement. There is still more work to be done. Let's continue to work together for the best outcome. 
Meanwhile, the Delaware Revenue Solutions Working Group of the nonprofit sector continues to meet. We have a full calendar of events to engage our elected officials, including:
  • January 21 - Governor's State of the State 
  • January 28 - Governor's Proposed Budget Presentation 
  • January has United Way hosting a Legislative Brunch in Dover (details still to come) 
  • February 17 - DANA Annual Budget Update, 9am-Noon in Dover 
  • February & March will be the JFC hearings 
  • April will have another Working Group program hosted by DelARF (details still to come)
  • May 25 - NONPROFIT DAY in DOVER rally (Save the Date!)
  • June will be focused on direct advocacy with our elected officials by nonprofits, boards, volunteers, and clients
Throughout the next six months, the Working Group will continue to reach out to you, as well as meet with General Assembly & JFC members to represent the nonprofit voice, our clients, and all Delawareans. We are all partners for a stronger Delaware. 

As always, if you have any questions, please reach out to me. 

Thank you,
John Baker

Tags:  budget  DEFAC  Delaware  nonprofits  Revenue 

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