Water Tax for Chicago Nonprofits by Ashley Mouldon

YNPN Chicago Board of Directors Speak!

In the January 6 edition of the Gazette, a community newspaper serving Near South and Near West-side neighborhoods, it was reported that the City of Chicago would begin charging nonprofits for water – something that hasn’t been done in years.  The money collected from this tax “would be used to rebuild the city’s aging water infrastructure,” the article reports.

This new tax could create monumental problems and budgeting difficulties for the city’s numerous nonprofits, the article writes.  For one organization featured in the article, this could mean an extra $10,000 – $30,000/year they would have to plan for. Even though the program will be set up to allow nonprofits to gradually start paying the tax with discounts over the next three years, it is still not certain if organizations will actually be able to cover even a lowered rate.

So, what does this mean for nonprofits like the ones at which YNPN Chicago members work and volunteer?  It may mean that programs will be eliminated, altered operating hours, and as a last resort, the doors being closed.

However, shutting down is just not an option for those in the nonprofit sector.  We are vigilant, dedicated, and compassionate people determined to continue to make a difference for those in need.  But a water tax will certainly mean, for most nonprofits, an increase in fundraising and finding resources to cover this new budget line item.

A look back at charitable giving in 2011, however, doesn’t shed a bright light at the end of the tunnel.  The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that in 2011, the top 50 philanthropists donated $3.3 billion; a hefty amount, but actually the lowest in The Chronicle’s reporting history.  Also noted was that the top 400 charities across the United States had extreme difficulties raising crucial funds in 2011.

If fundraising and giving, across the board, was down in 2011, a water tax for Chicago nonprofits in 2012 will only cause more budgeting difficulties and perhaps the shrinking of numerous programs.

For more information about this tax and how it may affect the nonprofit you work or volunteer at, reach out to your alderman.  Use the website below to learn how to locate your alderman:

Ashley Mouldon is a Fundraising Co-Chair for YNPN Chicago. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Roosevelt University and Master of Arts degree in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University. She currently work as the Manager of Data and Communications at BUILD which is a nonprofit dedicated to serving at-hope youth in Chicago. Ultimately, Ashley wants to work in the nonprofit sector in the development department and/or direct service and programming with youth. She enjoys living and working in a big city and after five years, is still learning more of what it has to offer.

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