TRENTON – In addition to electing a governor and Legislature, New Jersey voters are deciding on two ballot questions in this election, including whether to allow nonprofits to use money from things such as raffles to support their operations.

Currently, veterans and senior citizen groups can use any proceeds from bingo games and raffles to support their operating expenses, but other groups that can conduct such games of chance are limited to educational, charitable, patriotic, religious or public-spirited uses.

That leaves those other groups, which include volunteer fire companies, first-aid or rescue squads and charitable, educational, religious, fraternal or civic groups, restricted from spending their share from the games on things such as facility repairs, insurance and staffing.

“The constitutional amendment would only provide parity and consistent treatment for the charitable community as is currently provided to veterans and senior groups,” said Linda Czipo, president and chief executive officer of the Center for Non-Profits.

“It would in no way infringe upon or diminish the rights of other qualified organizations to use their proceeds to benefit their organizations,” Czipo said. “This is a critically important flexibility for the charitable community.”

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Czipo said the pandemic has illustrated the importance of New Jersey charities to the well-being of the state and its residents and that they will be important to the recovery.

“But COVID-19 has of course taken a tremendous toll on the charitable community as it has for the rest of our state,” she said.

Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com.

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