Illinois wants to bring nonprofits into transparency portal
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois nonprofits receive nearly $1.1 billion in state funding a year, and two lawmakers want them to post how the money is being spent on an online public database.
Senate Bill 3773, sponsored by state Sens. Martin Sandoval, D-Chicago, and Kirk Dillard, R-Westmont, also would require these nonprofits to post their performance evaluations on state-funded projects on the Illinois Transparency and Accountability Portal, the state’s database of state expenditures and contracts.
"This bill empowers citizens to know how the money was spent, where it was spent and who spent it,” Dillard said. “They will be able to make judgment calls about whether this money was spent wisely or not.”
The Senate Executive Committee is expected to consider the proposal Wednesday.
Most nonprofits agree that state funding should be made public, and it already is disclosed in tax filings with the state and federal government, said Delia Coleman, public policy director at Donors Forum, an association of Illinois philanthropists and nonprofits.
But Coleman said requiring nonprofits to post the information quarterly and include performance evaluations is duplicative, because several state agencies already collect that information, including Central Management Services and the state comptroller.
“I think it'd be more appropriate for the government to post the information, because they already have it,” Coleman said.
David Thompson, vice president of public policy at the National Council of Nonprofits, which networks with and advocates for nonprofits nationwide, said many states are starting to require similar disclosures from nonprofits receiving state money. Thompson said the government agencies contracting with nonprofits or disbursing the grants should post the information.
If the agencies are unable to, Thompson said, the information “may not be systematized, and shame on government for not doing that.”
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