Q: Who determines the position Virginia Interfaith Center will take on legislative issues?
A: The Center’s Board of Directors determines priority issues.
Q: How does the Virginia Interfaith Center promote its legislative agenda?
A: When the priorities have been determined, resources such as facts and “talking points” are developed and shared with our supporters to assist in advocacy efforts with their legislators.
Q: How does the Virginia Interfaith Center develop specific legislation to be introduced at the legislature?
A: Virginia Interfaith Center staff, in consultation and collaboration with faith and advocacy groups, assist in the selection of specific issues for which legislation is written, introduced, and promoted. We do not merely react to legislation – we also help create and support legislation.
Q: Are there public policy issues that the Virginia Interfaith Center does not address?
A: The Interfaith Center follows legislative issues set by its Board, which directs staff on policies and issues. Typically, issues where there is no clear agreement between religious traditions are not tracked closely.
Q: How is the Virginia Interfaith Center governed?
A: The Virginia Interfaith Center is governed by a Board of Directors. Some directors are elected at the Annual Meeting by those in attendance and by proxy ballots. The Board hires the Executive Director, sets the budget priorities, and approves the legislative agenda.
Q: Is the Virginia Interfaith Center tax exempt?
A: Yes. The Interfaith Center is a non-profit, tax exempt, 501(c)(3) organization, therefore membership, contributions to the endowment fund, and all other contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law.
Q: What is the difference between lobbying and advocacy?
A: IRS regulations permit the participation of tax-exempt, faith based organizations in limited, defined lobbying efforts. Most of our activities, such as our flagship educational program, Social Justice University, and our research, are not considered “lobbying” by the IRS. Advocacy trainings and issue oriented forums are actually educational events, not lobbying. Examples of lobbying are meeting with a legislator to discuss specific legislation and distributing action alerts to our grassroots network regarding specific legislation. Simply put, lobbying is trying to influence a legislator to vote a particular way on a specific bill.
Q: Do you endorse political candidates?
A: As a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, the Virginia Interfaith Center is prohibited from endorsing candidates for any political office. We may and do engage in issue oriented discussions with candidates, but never endorse any candidate or political party.
Do you have questions not answered here? Contact the office.