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Napa Legal’s Faith & Freedom Index

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Napa Institute Legal Foundation recently issued an evaluation of all U.S. jurisdictions, scoring them on factors affecting faith-based Section 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Napa Legal’s benchmarks measure each state’s “friendliness” to religious freedom and regulatory freedom for nonprofits, similar to surveys ranking states according to which are most business-friendly or the best for raising a family.

Napa Legal’s “Faith & Freedom Index” is quite extensive, containing 211 pages including its explanatory methodology framework for effective comparison, list of categories for both religious and regulatory freedom, scoring information, pictorial mapping, specific jurisdictional profiles, and related commentary.

The religious freedom category includes the following factors: state constitutional protection of free exercise; state religious freedom restoration acts; religious freedom for nonprofits with public programming; religious freedom for faith-based employers; protections for religious exercise during a state of emergency; and state Blaine amendments (affecting schools).

The regulatory freedom category includes the following factors: nonprofit religious corporate law; standards of conduct for directors; charitable registration law, with related audit requirements; state corporate income tax; state sales and use taxes, on nonprofit purchases and sales; and state property tax.

These lists are quite comprehensive indeed. Some factors relate to day-to-day operations at a faith-based organization, while others deal with currently contested issues. All are important to effectively meet legal compliance requirements and achieve best practices goals for faith-based nonprofits. This valuable and beneficial resource fits squarely within Napa Legal’s mission to equip nonprofits with the tools and resources they need so they can protect their organizations, achieve their visions, and promote opportunities for people of faith to flourish.

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