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DANA's Public Policy Blog
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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  government  Delaware Nonprofit Day  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 

Grant-In-Aid Bill Is Here

Posted By John Baker, Friday, July 1, 2016

Good news from the last day of the 148th Session of Delaware’s General Assembly: The Grant-In-Aid bill passed as presented and described in my blog from Tuesday. Check it out here.

Thanks again to our extraordinary legislators who went to bat for the sector in a very tough budgetary year.

We’ll be starting on the 2018 State Budget and funding in July, with the Office of Management and Budget’s new director. We'll be meeting with the Cabinet Secretaries in August, and working to maintain our momentum and build our partnerships to strengthen contractual relationships and other funding sources for the important work you do in the nonprofit sector. Delaware’s a great place to live because of you and our strong partnerships, and is growing stronger everyday through our alliance.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me at or 302-777-5500.


Tags:  General Assembly  Grant-in-Aid  Joint Finance Committee  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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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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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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End-of-Session Updates

Posted By John Baker, Friday, June 27, 2014

Hi All –

Here are some "end-of-session” updates for you.

Grant-In-Aid - As we move into the wrap-up of the 147th Delaware General Assembly session, Monday, June 30 – July 1, we saw the Grant-In-Aid (GIA) bill come out of the Joint Finance Committee with level funding as compared to last year's. Some applicants went up nominally, some went down, and still others were eliminated. Considering the State’s budget struggles and the cuts they made elsewhere, level funding was pretty good for GIA. The bill will be available at the following link next week if you want to check before you receive your notification from the Controller’s office: 
In the left column at the bottom, enter "GA147" for the session, then in the last box enter "Grant-In-Aid" and click "Go” to search.

We have also been updating you on the "Grant-In-Aid Reform Initiative” that the JFC Co-Chairs initiated in earnest this past Fall. We have been at the table on this reform, along with the United Way, Delaware Community Foundation, and various other key Delaware foundations. The process has been talked about for a very long time, but it has taken hold this year under the current leadership. The reform will occur over several years, but here are the first steps that were announced yesterday for the upcoming November applications:

1.) The application forms will look a bit different. You will be able to fill in the forms as "Fillable PDFs” and they plan to move to an online application process in the next couple of years once they have the computer / IT capabilities;

2.) You will be required to list all funding sources for your organizations including Pass-Throughs, Block Grants, and all other sources;

3.) Listing of all disbursements, including Salary and Benefits, as a percent of Revenue;

4.) List of grants and Pass-Throughs from 2014 and projections for 2016;

5.) Board of Directors contact information;

6.) More detailed programmatic section with detailed description of populations served;

6.) Description of what led to your deficit or surplus, and what your plans are for managing the financial position you're in;

7.) ED/CEO and Board Chair signatures required on the application;

8.) Audited Financial Statements within the past three years will be required. You will have time to put this expense in your budget, meanwhile, you will be able to provide a statement as to why you can’t provide audited financial statements.

Because of these changes, it will be important for you to attend the regularly scheduled "Grant-In-Aid Orientation” sessions in October. Check the site. The dates will be listed in the application packages that you typically receive.

The Joint Finance Committee will meet again in September to continue their "Grant-In-Aid Reform” discussions. They will determine what aspect of funding they will address next, but they believe that it may be the $8 Million in "Pass-Throughs”.

Workers Compensation Insurance Reform & HB 373 - The General Assembly also passed, and the Governor signed, HB 373 for Workers Compensation Insurance Reform. This bill continues the work of the Governor’s Task Force. This bill is on the heels of last year's actions that the Task Force thought would solve the steady annual requests for 40% increases, that have settled at near 20% increases the previous two years. The task force identified significant medical cost reimbursements as the main driver to Workers Comp. rate increase requests. This bill caps reimbursement of treatment expenses based on Medicare reimbursement rates beginning in 2017.

So in the meantime, if we can connect you with services like the Red Cross that can help you make your workplaces safer, let us know. Your Workers Compensation Insurance rates are based on your "Experience” so if you have one injury in a small organization it can significantly impact your rates. Talk to your insurance provider, too, and ensure that they’re helping you get every advantage possible.

As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any comments or questions at or 302.777.5500.


Tags:  General Assembly  Governor  Grant-in-Aid  Insurance  Joint Finance Committee  task force  Workers Compensation 

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Grant-In-Aid Assignments

Posted By John Baker, Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Good Afternoon, 

As promised, hot off the press is the below list of the Grant-In-Aid Joint Finance Committee member and staff assignments.  This should help you target your efforts as concerns your applications.  My current understanding is that the JFC hopes to hold the GIA at the 2014 level, but all is dependent upon the June 16th Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Committee meeting and report. As you know, "no decrease to GIA” can still result in shifts among the various applicants, some up, some down, some level. 

- John 



Aging/Senior Centers/Fire Companies /Veterans Sen. McDowell & Rep. Smith
Analyst – Stewart

Arts/Historical/Cultural/Tourism Sen. Bushweller & Rep. Miro
Analyst – Jackson

Health/Disabled and Labor Sen. Cloutier & Rep. Johnson
Analyst – Griffith

Family and Youth Services Sen. Peterson & Rep. Heffernan
Analyst – Reinagel-Nietubicz

Alcohol/Drug Abuse Sen. Ennis & Rep. Kenton
Analyst - Nestlerode

Neighborhood and Community Services Sen. Ennis & Rep. Kenton (American Red Cross to Kingswood)
Analyst – Nestlerode

Neighborhood and Community Services Sen. Lawson & Rep. Carson(La Esperanza to YWCA)
Analyst – Griffith

Tags:  General Assembly  Grant-in-Aid  Joint Finance Committee 

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HB187 moving to next week

Posted By John Baker, Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Hi All,

Keeping you posted on what I’m hearing about HB187 – Charitable Solicitation Registration. Looks like it’s moving to next week.

The Delaware Attorney General’s Office plans to submit a substitute bill Wednesday, May 7, which they expect will be set for committee next week, May 14. Due to the volume of changes, the AG’s Office decided that the bill will be more easily understood as a revised/substitute bill that incorporates all changes in one text, as opposed to the edited bill with amendments. The substitute bill looks like it will head to the Economic Development/Banking/Insurance/Commerce committee.

All of this is subject to change so check the House Committee Calendars at:

The Substitute Bill has not been posted yet, but you can find it here when it is:

Know that DANA will be there looking out for your interests.

As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any comments or questions at or 302.777.5500.


Tags:  Attorney General  charitable solicitation  General Assembly  nonprofits 

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General Assembly schedule for HB 187

Posted By John Baker, Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Hi All,

I want to keep you posted on what I’m hearing about HB187 – Charitable Solicitation Registration. In checking the General Assembly’s House Agenda, it looks like HB187 will be on the schedule for this Thursday, May 8. It’s tough to tell what time, but it’ll be after 2PM. As you know, all of this is subject to change, but please know that DANA will be there looking out for your interests.

As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any comments or questions at or 302.777.5500.


Tags:  charitable solicitation  General Assembly  nonprofits 

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