22 July 2023 OTHER PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS New Jersey Center for Nonprofits, 40 Years When Linda Czipo learned about the New Jersey Center for Nonprofits more than 30 years ago, she was “struck by the power of association, the ripple effect of the actions of one entity. It’s very powerful,” she said. She joined the association as an intern and has been President and CEO for 23 years. “The Center’s most important and enduring impact is the idea of constantly trying to raise the profile of nonprofits to ensure better understanding and appreciation of their importance for our society and economy,” Czipo said. “Nonprofits are vital. There’s a strong relationship between a thriving New Jersey and a thriving nonprofit community.” Of the many examples of the Center’s impact is the spearheading of a law in 1987 that protects nonprofit Board members from liability in certain situations. “Without this protection, people would be reluctant to serve on Boards,” Czipo said. The Center’s efforts help ensure that nonprofits are treated fairly in legislation, regulations and policies. The staff provides training, information, resources and guidance regarding a range of issues, including boards, fundraising and charitable registration. They also continually work to protect nonprofits’ rights to advocate for public policy. “Legislators need to have nonprofits involved and know their perspective,” Czipo stressed. Equally important and valuable roles the Center plays are connecting organizations and constituencies to expand their resources and strengthen their viability; and advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. The Center’s annual conference, held each December, is widely regarded as the “can’t miss” gathering for nonprofits and allies. “Nonprofit work is hard work. We’re champions to make it easier for nonprofits to achieve their missions for their communities,” Czipo stated. BioNJ, 30 Years Soon after founding an association management company in 1992, Debbie Hart was approached by New Jersey’s biotechnology industry leaders to establish BioNJ, which her company still manages and for which she has served as the Founding President and CEO since 1994. BioNJ’s mission is to “help companies help patients by driving capital formation and fostering entrepreneurship, advocating for public policies that advance medical innovation, providing access to talent and education, and offering a cost-saving array of critical commercial resources.” According to Hart, in addition to supporting the growth of the life sciences industry in New Jersey for the past 30 years, one of BioNJ ’s “most monumental and landscape-altering achievements” was advocating for the passage of a law that created the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA’s) Net Operating Loss Program in the mid-1990s. This program, which is still making a difference for the industry today, has been increased and enhanced since then and “enables early-stage technology and life sciences businesses in the Garden State to sell a percentage of their New Jersey net operating losses and unused research and development (R&D) tax credits to unrelated profitable corporations for cash,” as described on NJEDA’s website. Overall, BioNJ advocates for policies on the state and federal levels that support medical innovation and ensure that patients can access those innovations in the formof medications. “One of our responsibilities is to tell the story of medical innovation throughwhich our members are saving lives and creatingwell- paying jobs,” Hart said. “We are very concerned about anything that presents barriers to innovation and access tomedication, or that limits patients’ and physicians’ choices,” she added. BioNJ is also focused on health equity andmaking sure that anyone can access clinical trials. “This industry has a role to play and amoral imperative tomake a difference in health equity. No one should be prevented fromparticipating in clinical trials due to their geography or life circumstances,” Hart stressed. To advance health equity, BioNJ hosted a business plan competitionwherein students fromeight MBA business schools proposed programs to increase equitable access to clinical trials. BioNJ awardedmore than $20,000 to three programs. “We’re continuing tomove those business plans forward. Our vision is that these proposals and those students will make an impact on the industry and ultimately, on patients,” Hart said.