The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) promotes a legal environment that strengthens civil society and advances the freedoms of association and assembly, philanthropy, and public participation around the world. Since 1992, ICNL has provided technical and research assistance to support the reform of laws affecting civil society in more than one hundred countries around the world.
They come from virtually every continent, and they share a vision in which people are empowered to work together to improve their lives. In their work, they are committed to the following core values: Reform should result from an indigenous, participatory, and transparent process; Their assistance should be professional and non-partisan; and Their activities should support, not displace, local expertise.
ICNL provides assistance on the basic legislative provisions governing civil society, including:
Constitutional provisions governing the freedoms of association and assembly;
Legislation governing the formation, operation, internal governance, and dissolution of organizations; and
Provisions appearing in other legislation that directly affect the freedoms of association and assembly and CSOs (e.g., certain counter-terrorism measures).
Philanthropy and Sustainability
ICNL programs promote the legal framework for philanthropy and the financial sustainability of CSOs. Illustrative topics include:
Incentives for philanthropy;
Organizational tax exemptions;
The legal and fiscal framework for volunteerism; and
The framework for government funding of civil society (grants, contracts, lotteries, national endowments, foreign assistance programs, etc.).
Public Participation and CSO-Government Cooperation
They seek to advance the legal and policy environment for CSO-Government engagement. Examples include cross-sectoral compacts, CSO-government cooperation offices, and the legal framework for public hearings. In addition, civic participation is an embedded principle in all reform initiatives.
ICNL also provides assistance on the legal framework for social enterprise, CSO self-regulation, social service licensing laws, the legal framework for disaster response, and international cooperation laws, among other issues.
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