University of Cincinnati Law Review


Charitable contributions, particularly from private foundations, are an essential source of support for many nonprofit charitable organizations. However, the ability to accept these contributions comes with significant restrictions on lobbying and advocacy. Using vulnerability theory and an original survey of nonprofit advocacy organizations, we show that current restrictions on 501(c)(3) organizations disproportionally limit advocacy on behalf of the most politically disadvantaged groups—those without the right to vote. This, in turn, reinforces existing inequalities in whose voices are heard and whose interests are considered by policymakers. This Article argues that reforming the laws that structure what organizations can take tax-deductible charitable contributions and the purposes for which those contributions can be used is essential to building a more responsive state and improving resilience among the unenfranchised.