Nonprofit issues. Championed and signed into law the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which called for an expansion of AmeriCorps, the national-service program, from 75,000 to 250,000 members by 2017. It also created the Social Innovation Fund, a new grants program to help nonprofits expand effective programs, and funds to help charities recruit and manage volunteers and to provide management training to small nonprofits. Deficit-cutting pressures in Congress have curtailed much of the spending that was envisaged in the legislation.
Created the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, a unit that promotes volunteerism, national service, and innovative approaches to social problems. That office oversaw the White House Council for Community Solutions, an advisory panel of nonprofit leaders and others that issued a final report in June about ways nonprofits and others can collaborate to help young people get educated and find jobs.
Health Care. Drafted a health-care overhaul law that many nonprofits and foundations support and are helping to put into place.
Lobbying. Issued rules limiting the ability of registered lobbyists, including those for nonprofits, to get administration jobs—a stance protested by some advocacy groups.
Poverty. Proposed and won legislation to create the Promise Neighborhoods program, which provides money to nonprofits that work with schools, foundations, businesses, and others to offer an array of services to young people and families in troubled neighborhoods. With a budget of $60-million (smaller than the $150-million that he proposed), the program, modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone project, in New York, is now paying for 20 projects across the country.
Stimulus. Oversaw the effort to enact a $787-billion economic-stimulus law that provided billions of dollars to nonprofits in areas including AmeriCorps, the arts, community health centers, Head Start, housing, Medicaid, and social services.
Taxes. Proposed several times limiting the value of the charitable deduction for households earning more than $250,000 ($200,000 for individuals) as a way to help cut the budget deficit or pay for jobs programs, triggering strong opposition from many charity leaders.