not for profit law

The International Center for Not-For-Profit Law, or ICNL, regulates and strengthens the legal environment of nonprofits around the world.

Their objectives include fostering multilateral cooperation and philanthropy in nonprofit institutions. The ICNL has programs on every continent that support philanthropy and sustainability. The ICNL promotes its ethical standards by incentivizing its processes to businesses. The organization also offers tax exemptions for businesses that comply with its regulations.

The ICNL offers various services, including providing transparency and information on international nonprofits. The ICNL reports on over 48 countries worldwide and NGOs.

Some ICNL programs work to strengthen the connections of leaders in civil society throughout countries in the Middle East. Other programs of the ICNL focus on partnering with local nonprofits to establish legitimacy and offer additional resources. For instance, professionals of the ICNL have worked in every country in Central and Eastern Europe in order to provide consulting services. Their consulting work is centered on analyzing the fiscal framework of organizations and drafting legislation in cooperation with the policies of the ICNL.

The organization’s latest research of nonprofit law is based on exploring problems within African civil society. They discuss the impact of funding for HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia and other important topics facing human rights and civil society in Africa. These articles are published in the organization’s journal.

President Barack Obama made a commitment in 2013 to support civil society in programs called Stand For Civil Society. The White House released a press statement discussing the president’s deepened commitment.

The presidential memorandum directs that, “U.S. agencies defend and strengthen civil society abroad by: consulting regularly with civil society organizations to explain the views of the United States, seek their perspectives, utilize their expertise, and build strong partnerships to address joint challenges.”

To date, the United States has given more than $2.7 billion to programs invested in bettering civil society abroad.

– Maxine Gordon

Sources: White House,  International Center for Not-for-Profit Law
Photo: Business Administration Information

For nonprofit organizations operating on a global stage, understanding the constraints of legalities across borders is paramount. One nonprofit, the International Center For Not-For-Profit Law, or ICNL, seeks to provide legal advice and information for such NGOs.

Launched in 1992, ICNL states that it is a “source for information in the legal environment,” with respect to civil society, philanthropy and public participation. The nonprofit provides legal information and advice to NGOs worldwide in an effort to facilitate adequate legal response and education.

ICNL maintains an active list of staff that hail from countries on multiple continents. In fact, the members on its Board of Directors hail from over 30 different countries.

As noted in its mission statement, the nonprofit seeks a legal environment that “strengthens civil society, advances the freedoms of association and assembly, fosters philanthropy and enables public participation around the world.”

The organization focuses on a number of objectives. According to its website, these include empowering local stakeholders, facilitating cross-border philanthropy, developing an analytic basis for its work and fostering global norms and multilateral engagement.

While ICNL does not provide legal service for NGOs in the U.S., it does work with a host of U.S. organizations, including NGOS, with civil society issues.

In addition, ICNL maintains relationships with several different organizations to “assist and implement” its international programs. These organizations include the European Center for Non-For-Profit Law (ECNL), the Bulgarian Center for Non-For-Profit Law (BCNL) and the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, LLC. The latter is a limited liability company (LLC) that works with ICNL to undertake “activities to support programs consistent with ICNL’s mission around the world.”

Earlier this month, ICNL’s President and CEO Douglas Rutzen was named one of the U.S.’s top nonprofit executives and strategists by The NonProfit Times.

No doubt, navigating a world that is separated by borders with different rules and regulations makes for a tricky situation. Because of this, it is likely that ICNL’s work will continue to be of importance in the future.

Ethan Safran

Sources: ICNL, The Nonprofit Times
Photo: hkbutterfly