NFIB celebrated 80 years as an organization on Saturday, May 20. Founded in 1943, NFIB has been the voice of small business, advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C. and in all 50 state capitals.
NFIB President Brad Close issue the following statement celebrating NFIB’s 80th Anniversary:
“As we celebrate NFIB’s 80th anniversary, I’m reminded of the resilience of our members – small and independent business owners all across our great country. They overcome hurdles every day to keep their doors open, serve their customers, and strengthen their communities. Over the last 80 years, small businesses have confronted many difficulties, but small business owners have always found a way to weather the worst storms.”
C. Wilson Harder founds the National Federation of Small Business (NFSB), Inc. in the basement of his home in San Mateo, Calif., and signs up its first members at $8.50.
“Mr. Harder, I told you to be careful, this thing can get awfully big.” – Harry Millard of Service Press, NFIB’s first member.
The first Mandate is created, as NFIB’s membership and grassroots continues to grow.
The format remains… “One member, one vote.”
NFSB office moves out of Harder’s basement and eventually is re-located in 1961 to San Mateo, Calif.
A Washington, D.C., office is established.
NFSB becomes the “National Federation of Independent Business.”
Harder turns over all assets (facilities, addressograph, etc.) to NFIB for $10.
Maximum dues are set at $100 per year.
George Burger, Sr., NFIB’s first full-time lobbyist in Washington, D.C., shows Sen. John F. Kennedy the federal Mandate.
Burger, Sr., NFIB’s first full-time lobbyist in Washington, D.C., shows Vice President Richard Nixon the federal Mandate.
Burger shows Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson the federal Mandate.
Wilson Harder dies while still serving as NFIB president
New President Wilson S. Johnson, formerly an NFIB division manager, is selected president of NFIB. He establishes an employee retirement pension plan, an NFIB mission statement, and overall policy.
Membership will double under his leadership.
Wilson Johnson meets with President Nixon and then, quarterly with White House staff to discuss small-business problems—the genesis of NFIB’s quarterly economic surveys.
William C. Dunkelberg is hired as NFIB Chief Economist.
Membership database and field assignments are transferred from Addressograph plates to magnetic tapes as part of the “computerization” of NFIB.
Johnson starts the state government relations department with three regional directors and a national director.
The first issue of How Congress Voted is published, providing a clear record of each representative’s and senator’s votes on small-business issues.
To help students understand private enterprise, NFIB starts the education department, the predecessor to the NFIB Education Foundation, and later, the Young Entrepreneur Foundation.
William Dunkelberg produces the first NFIB Quarterly Economic Report, which becomes the Small Business Economic Trends (SBET), the most sought-after information on small business by lawmakers, the Federal Reserve, Department of Labor, financial institutions, and others.
NFIB creates its first press department. NFIB hires Rich Farana, a public relations professional, to create NFIB’s outreach to the media.
NFIB hires James D. “Mike” McKevitt, a former member of Congress and assistant U.S. attorney general, to lead NFIB’s Washington, D.C., office.
NFIB issues the Guardian of Small Business Award to members of Congress, who vote in support of NFIB Key Votes determined by the Member Ballot, “One member, one vote.”
NFIB hires William J. “Denny” Dennis Jr., to lead and expand a research department that grows out of the success of the Quarterly Small Business Economic Trends Report.
NFIB PAC starts, raising $12,454 to support 54 candidates in the ‘78 congressional races.
In a victory that showcases the rising influence of NFIB in Washington, D.C., the Regulatory Flexibility Act is signed into law by President Carter.
NFIB creates the Telephone Sales Region in Florida to renew memberships.
Johnson pens the “Small Business Angle,” a column on small-business issues for small publications across America.
Later, it becomes the “Small Business Focus.”
The “NFIB Guardian Program” is established, consisting of members NFIB could rely on to write, call, and visit their legislators.
A daily radio talk show on small-business issues, aired on 231 stations across the country, is launched.
NFIB further activates grassroots with the “Guardian Advisory Councils,” which lead to the creation of the state Leadership Councils.
NFIB research department establishes the Small Business Problems and Priorities, a survey to evaluate the relative importance of business problems as small business owners see them.
New President John Sloan is selected as the 3rd NFIB president.
NFIB launches the Member Services Corporation.
NFIB reaches a long-held goal, a lobbyist in every state capital, with Wayne Campbell leading the state government relations department.
The Business Edge, an NFIB membership newsletter, serves as the primary communication to NFIB members.
Later, it becomes the Independent Business, and then MyBusiness, and then Small Business Playbook.
NFIB plays a major role in the White House Conference on Small Business, placing emphasis on state member activism.
NFIB Wisconsin holds a state capital Small Business Day.
The annual state capital lobby day continues today across the nation.
New President Jack Faris is selected as the 4th NFIB president.
NFIB headquarters moves from San Mateo, Calif., to Nashville, Tenn.
In Washington, D.C., NFIB holds its 50th Anniversary.
President Bill Clinton addresses NFIB members.
The Clinton healthcare plan is defeated.
A lion’s-share of credit is given to NFIB’s grassroots strength, NFIB members.
“…the NFIB’s role in the demise of Clinton’s sweeping overhaul plan marks a major shift in Washington’s – and the nation’s – political culture. No longer do a handful of lobbyists for corporate titans … call the shots for conservatives on big economic issues. The era of grass-roots-oriented, small-business lobbying has emerged from the rubble of health care reform.” U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT, “THE LITTLE LOBBY THAT COULD.” SEPTEMBER 12, 1994
NFIB establishes a political department, urging members to become active in voting for pro-small business candidates.
NFIB holds Campaign ’96, a three-day event for members, providing members with information about running a campaign.
All eight GOP presidential candidates speak to participants
NFIB holds its first national sales conference in Washington, D.C., and ends with staff being snowed in by the blizzard of ’95.
NFIB launches a digital presence with NFIBonline.com.
The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) is signed into law.
NFIB unveils the Small Business Works for America campaign.
NFIB launches a campaign to Abolish the IRS Code in Independence, Mo. In 1998, NFIB the campaign continues with, “It’s Our Money, Not The IRS” day.
NFIB creates the Leadership Trust, NFIB’s major donor program.
The first NFIB Congressional Small Business Summit is held in Washington, D.C.
NFIB’s rank in the annual Fortune magazine “Power 25” moves up to No. 2, as the top business lobby on the list.
The NFIB Legal Foundation is established to represent the interests of small business as the voice of small business in the courts and a legal resource for small business owners nationwide.
NFIB Legal Foundation files the legal challenge to the ergonomics rule in the D.C. District Court. The rule is overturned under the Congressional Review Act.
“NFIB Road Team” is established. NFIB staff is deployed to congressional special elections in Pennsylvania and Virginia, encouraging NFIB members to vote.
NFIB supports Small Business Health Plans or Association Health Plans for small business owners and their employees to access more affordable health insurance.
Bipartisan legislation to repeal the Death Tax makes it to the U.S. Senate floor.
NFIB hosts the 4th National Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C., where President George W. Bush addresses NFIB members.
New President Todd Stottlemyer is selected as the 5th NFIB president.
NFIB’s mission statement is revised, “To promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate, and grow their businesses.”
NFIB’s political department launches the Presidential Candidate Teleforums.
NFIB Small Business Legal Center files an influential amicus brief in Davenport v. Washington Education Association.
In a unanimous ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds a Washington State law requiring unions to obtain the consent of non-member dues payers before using their dues for political purposes.
NFIB successfully stops unions from being allowed to organize with a card-check system, instead of a secret ballot union election.
New President Dan Danner is selected as the 6th NFIB president.
NFIB Small Business Legal Center files a U.S. Constitutional challenge, NFIB v. Sebelius, to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare.
In an historic election year for small business, a record high of 25 NFIB members are elected to the U.S. Congress.
NFIB leads the first successful repeal of part of the ACA, the mandated IRS Form 1099 reporting, and President Obama signs it into law.
NFIB Small Business Legal Center challenges the NLRB’s “Notice Posting Rule” and successfully overturns the NLRB rule.
In NFIB v. Sebelius, the U.S. Supreme Court rules the ACA is constitutional. Although disappointing, NFIB will be successful at repealing the individual mandate and healthcare-related taxes.
NFIB launches, “I Built My Business,” bus tour after President Obama states, “You didn’t build that.”
Seven new NFIB members are elected to the U.S. Congress, for a total of 31 NFIB members in the U.S. Congress.
NFIB further ramps up grassroots and establishes the Advocacy Academy and Fly-In.
NFIB Small Business Legal Center successfully stops the EPA’s so-called “Clean Power Plan” rule that would have given the federal agency unprecedented and unconstitutional control over the energy sector.
NFIB successfully lobbies to permanently increase Small Business Expensing (Section 179) and extend the vast majority of the ‘01 and ‘03 tax cuts.
New President Juanita Duggan is selected as the 7th NFIB president.
NFIB Small Business Legal Center successfully stops a Department of Labor rule from taking effect that would have doubled the salary threshold for overtime eligibility.
NFIB fights for small business tax relief in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and successfully creates the Small Business Deduction (Section 199A), a 20 percent deduction for small businesses.
As part of the TCJA, a longstanding priority is finally achieved with the repeal of the individual mandate, which was established in the ACA.
NFIB holds its 75th Anniversary. President Donald Trump addresses NFIB members.
NFIB Small Business Legal Center successfully stops a mandatory paid sick leave law from taking effect in Austin, Texas.
NFIB Small Business Legal Center successfully stops a mandatory paid sick leave law from taking effect in Austin, Texas.
New President Brad Close is selected as the 8th NFIB president.
The COVID-19 pandemic and government-mandated shutdowns leave small businesses fighting to keep their doors open, and NFIB becomes even more crucial.
NFIB’s research and COVID-19 survey series guides NFIB’s response in shaping the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program, a much-needed lifeline for Main Street.
NFIB is the guiding voice for policymakers in Washington, D.C., and all 50 state capitals, as small businesses across the country struggle to survive. NFIB holds its first virtual Fly-In, earns thousands of national and local media appearances, and creates a critical bi-weekly webinar for small business owners.
NFIB state and federal teams lead the fight to allow small businesses to reopen and get relief from harmful mandates.
NFIB Small Business Legal Center challenges OSHA’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate in NFIB v. OSHA, and the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of NFIB.
OSHA withdraws the vaccine mandate.