Saturday, April 5, 2008
Time is running out to comment on the FASB's draft FSP on 117-a. The draft FSP provides guidance on how charities will report their endowment funds on financial statements. The FASB will accept comments until April 18. As written, the guidance will apply to financial statements for years ending after June 15, 2008. Given that lots of charities, including many (maybe most) universities and colleges operate on a June 30 fiscal year, the new guidance will affect a whole lot of endowments. The guidance provides direction for reporting endowment funds under UPMIFA, but it also directs charities to provide disclosures for endowment funds, regardless of whether a state has enacted UPMIFA.
We lawyers tend to find accounting rules puzzling. The financial statements are supposed to reflect legal restrictions imposed on funds, so in theory the legal rules are applied first and the accounting rules follow. Under UMIFA (the older version of UPMIFA) the accounting rules seemed (to this lawyer) to go their own way. The more conversation between lawyers and accountants on this topic, the better. The FASB is interested in getting lots of feedback, so it's important for some of us to step up and provide that feedback. Jack Siegel has already posted a particularly helpful comment, and five other comments appear on the FASB website. More will likely arrive in the next week.
On Feb. 7 we blogged about UPMIFA, a new uniform act being adopted by state legislatures across the U.S. Thirteen enactments took place the first year, four jurisdictions - District of Columbia, Kansas, Virginia, and West Virginia - have adopted UPMIFA already this session, and this week UPMIFA bills moved to the governors' desks in Colorado, Georgia, and Iowa. Bills remain in the legislatures in ten states. The Uniform Law Commission has set up a website for UPMIFA, with up-to-date information on bill adoptions, a copy of the act, explanationory articles, and more.
From the Globe and Mail in Canada comes a story about a woman who lived a full life, enjoyed herself, and then left her $5 million estate to four charities without strings attached. Lucile Pratt died at 98, and a friend reminiscing about her described her as a "party girl." She enjoyed going to clubs and going on cruises and she also had a passion for philanthropy. Ms. Pratt and her husband, who died in 1969, had already contributed $6 million to the University of Toronto and supported many other charities. When she died, Ms. Pratt left her entire estate to four named charites, divided among the four in amounts the personal representatives determined. The charities submitted "wonderful proposals" of how they would use the money to the personal representatives, who in the end divided the estate equally among the four. Ms. Pratt was, it seems, happy to leave a legacy without the restrictions donors sometimes impose on the charitable recipients of their largess.
At the Critical Tax Conference at Florida State being held yesterday and today, Sarah Lawsky of George Washington presented a paper entitled, Money for Nothing: Charitable Deductions for Microfinance Lenders. The discussant was Rob Atkinson of Florida State. The schedule is posted on the FSU website.
The Section on Agency, Partnerships and Limited Liability Companies is calling for papers for the 2009 AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego. We are interested in presentations on the application of modern theories and empirical methods of business associations to agency and unincorporated firms. The program has two goals: First to show how these theories can be enriched by taking them outside the "box" of corporate law; and second to show the relevance of agency and unincorporated firms to the mainstream of corporate theory and empirics. A non-exhaustive list of possible topics includes the nature and function of fiduciary duties, agency theory, the role and enforcement of contracts, jurisdictional competition and choice of form, the relationship of federal and state law, jurisprudence, international and institutional comparisons, and legal and economic history.
Please email either a draft paper, if available, or if not an abstract and outline, to Larry E. Ribstein, University of Illinois College of Law, email@example.com by no later than September 1, 2008.
The Guardian (UK) includes an essay, "Who Is This Supposed to Help?" by Julie Bindel suggesting that using pornographic images to draw attention to charitable causes just isn't right. Ms. Bindel describes and then decries "charity sexism" which she notes seems to be escalating. She concludes by recommending that feminists organize against charities that use sexism as a marketing tool. The essay includes lots of examples - but no pictures.
Microfinance nonprofits have been doing terrific work helping people living in poverty develop businesses to become self-supporting. Using small loans, made without collateral, microfinance organizations help people living in areas traditional banks avoid. Microfinance nonprofits are active across the world, but at least one, the Mexican organization Compartamos, has become a profitable private bank.
The New York Times reports that Compartamos ("let's share" in Spanish), which became a for-profit in 2000 and issued an IPO about a year ago, has healthy profits and is currently serving a million borrowers. The founders argue that by going public they can tap into investor money as well as donor money, and that donor money simply isn't adequate to meet the demand for the loans. Others who have worked in microfinance for years worry that private microfinance banks will manage the business to benefit the investors, not the borrowers. Nonprofit groups, in contrast, are more likely to use profits to help the borrowers with their other needs. For example, Pro Mujer, a microfinance group with brances in Latin American countries, uses profits to provide breast cancer screening, advice on dealing with domestic violance, and financial education. Compartamos must keep an eye on the bottom line - satisfying its investors.
Sam Daley-Harris, director of the Microcredit Summit Campaign, a nonprofit microfinance organization, worries about the effect on microfinance organizations in general. He sees a risk that the concept of microfinance will become more about what's good for the investors and the institutions and less about the goal of ending poverty. He expressed concern about "mission drift."
For more about the IPO, issued April 20, 2007, see a discussion on microfinance.com.
Friday, April 4, 2008
Director compensation, especially compensation of directors of private foundations, will continue to be an issue for the Senate Finance Committee. The Principles of Good Governance issued last October by the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector suggested that board members should expect to serve without compensation. Not everyone agrees. William A. Schambra published "Compensating Foundation Directors?" in Philanthropy Magazine. His article takes a look at statistics on paid board service, sets out guidelines to determine reasonable compensation, and argues that compensated service may be appropriate for some foundations. The article appeared on Feb. 20, so it's not brand new, but it's worth a look. The Philanthropy Roundatable refused to sign on to the Principles, in part because of concerns about the one-size-fits-all nature of the Principles. "We're Not Signing It" written by The Philanthropy Roundtable president, Adam Meyerson, explains the reasons.
The Chronicle on Philanthropy has released the results of its survey of 2007 giving. The Philanthropy 50: Americans Who Gave the Most in 2007, starts with William Barron Hilton who gave $1.2 billion to charity in 2007. The numbers are staggering - over 7 billion dollars given by just 50 people, with 16 of them giving more than $100 million each, and many of those significantly more than $100 million. Twenty-three of the donors were on the list in 2006, too, and Peter B. Lewis has been on the list 10 times.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Forbes reports that the New York State attorney general's office has begun a formal inquiry into the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes Foundation, the Ossining, N.Y.-based veterans charity run by "nonprofit entrepreneur" Roger Chapin that has been a focus of unflattering congressional hearings and media coverage. According to Forbes, the subpoena seeks such things as "paperwork involving the coalition's claim that, during 2006, it distributed 1.5 million sports-scores-only telephone calling cards to the military and other nonprofits. The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance reported in January that the USO of Metropolitan Washington never received the 1 million cards the coalition said had been sent its way."
In a string of colorful rhetorical questions, Neely said: "Let us assume that the CEO of CAMC is Adolph Hitler, aided and abetted by Joseph Stalin as general counsel, and Benito Mussolini, Pol Pot and Tojo as department heads," Neely wrote in a reply to Hamrick expected to be filed today in Kanawha Circuit Court. "So what? Will this award come out of their salaries? No. Will this award cause them to be fired? No."
These were some of the same concerns that prompted Congress to enact intermediate sanctions as an alternative to revoking a charity's tax exemption -- the bad guys should pay for abuses, not the organization itself or its intended beneficiaries.
Robert Katz posts "`PAGING DR. SHYLOCK!' Jewish Hospitals and the Prudent Re-Investment of Jewish Philanthropy"
Professor Robert Katz has posted a paper entitled "`PAGING DR. SHYLOCK!' Jewish Hospitals and the Prudent Re-Investment of Jewish Philanthropy" on SSRN's Nonprofit and Philanthropy Law Abstracting Journal. It is slated for publication in a book on religious philanthropy to be published in 2009 by Indiana University Press entitled Giving: For the Love of God, edited by religious scholar and ethicist David H. Smith. Its abstract reads:
This paper explores the history of Jewish hospitals in the United States as a case study in how Jewish philanthropy (defined as charitable giving from a Jewish perspective) reflects both Judaic concepts such as tzedakah (righteousness, imperfectly translated as charity) and the experience of Jews as a discrete and insular minority living in a determinedly hostile environment. For most of American history, Jews used their philanthropy -- and above all Jewish hospitals -- to take care of fellow Jews, improve relations with non-Jews, counteract anti-Jewish stereotypes and prejudice, and provide enclaves from anti-Jewish discrimination.
The decline of anti-Semitism in the U.S. since World War II obviated most of the problems that Jewish hospitals were founded to address. Jewish philanthropy would be more robust today if more Jewish hospitals had sold their institutions and became grantmakers. Most Jewish communities can find more innovative and urgent ways to perform tzedakah and engage in tikkun olam (world repair) than by operating nonprofit hospitals. Additionally, the future of American Jewry would be more secure if foundations financed by hospital sales would devote more resources to Jewish education, religion, culture, and communal life. This grantmaking agenda advances what I see as the fondest and most fundamental hope of many founders of Jewish hospitals: to help American Jewry survive and thrive as a distinct community.
The denouement of Jewish hospitals and the opportunities it afforded for fresh and responsive Jewish philanthropy -- some pursued, others squandered -- offer a lesson for other communities of faith and fate. When designing philanthropic enterprises to help ensure their collective survival, they should consider how, should an enterprise's value to that future fall, its resources might be recouped and re-invested in ways they deem more conducive to that end.
Little oversight at Philadelphia nonprofit that recieved millions from city under former mayor, whose wife ran nonprofit
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports today that under former mayor John F. Street, Philadelphia directed tens of millions of dollars to a nonprofit organization once run by Street’s wife, Philadelphia Safe and Sound, to coordinate and fund youth anti-violence programs in the city. Safe and Sound’s budget grew from $3 million to $60 million over a few years, some through non-bid contracts, and some of the funds may have exceeded what the city council authorized. The nonprofit provided little oversight of the anti-violence programs even though its administrative costs grew rapidly, according to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Nicholas A. Mirkay III Publishes "Losing Our Religion: Reevaluating the 501(C)(3) Exemption of Religious Organizations that Discriminate"
Professor Nicholas Mirkay III posted an abstract of his Widener Law School research paper on the propriety and constitutionality of subjecting religious organizations to a nondiscrimination requirement on SSRN's Nonprofit and Philanthropy Law Abstracting Journal. The article is entitled "Losing Our Religion: Reevaluating the 501(C)(3) Exemption of Religious Organizations that Discriminate." Here is the abstract:
Religious organizations occupy an enviable legal stature in American society, receiving over 200 exemptions and other regulatory breaks in federal legislation over the last 18 years alone. Religious organizations enjoy numerous federal as well as state and local tax exemptions representing hundreds of billions of dollars in foregone revenue. The propriety of these lucrative tax exemptions must be questioned when religious organizations engage in discrimination against members of society. As illustrated in real-life occurrences contained in pages 3 and 4 of the article, ostensibly widespread discrimination by such organizations exists not only with respect to employment, but more importantly in providing services or engaging in activities for which the organization was originally granted tax-exempt status (e.g., education). The primary bases for such discrimination are currently sexual orientation and marital status.
In a prior article published in the WISCONSIN LAW REVIEW, I proposed a solution to the problem of discrimination by charitable organizations (a term commonly interpreted to include religious organizations) - enact a broad and well-defined nondiscrimination condition on tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Inherent in that proposal is the notion that discrimination by charitable organizations is intrinsically incompatible with such organizations‘ purpose and mission. Although my prior article briefly addressed the constitutional and other difficulties inherent in applying a nondiscrimination requirement to religious organizations, it acknowledged the necessity of additional and more thorough discussion on the issue - thus, the focus of this Article. Accordingly, this Article examines the propriety and constitutionality of subjecting religious organizations to a nondiscrimination requirement and crafting a more narrow church exception to that requirement. It proposes statutory and regulatory amendments to prevent certain church-affiliated organizations from avoiding the nondiscrimination requirement.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Nonprofits are being affected by the implosion of the subprime mortgage market, according to an article in The Non Profit Times, Mortgage Backed Investments Threaten Nonprofits. Brokers who lost nonprofit clients' assets in this market may be liable if the investment was not suitable for the nonprofit's net worth or overall portfolio, or if they misrepresented the risks.
The ABA Business Law Section today issued, for comment, the Model Nonprofit Corporation Act, Third Edition (January 2008 Exposure Draft). The full text and commentary are available in two parts:
It will be discussed at an upcoming meeting of the Business Law Section's Nonprofit Corporations Committee on Friday, April 11, in Dallas. Written comments may be sent to the Chair of the Task Force, at Stetson University College of Law, 1401 61st Street, South, St. Petersburg, FL 33707, with a copy to the Reporter at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, One Logan Square, Philadelphia, PA 19103.
For a critical first look, see Jack Siegel's reactions at http://www.charitygovernance.com/charity_governance/2008/04/not-ready-for-p.html.
Something Special for Anyone Teaching or Interested in Teaching Consumer Law. If you are currently teaching or want to teach consumer law, the Center for Consumer Law at the University of Houston Law Center has a Conference just for you. On May 23 and 24th, more than 30 experts from around the world will discuss issues of importance to any consumer law professor. The fourth such conference, entitled “Teaching Consumer Law - The Who, What, Where, Why, When and How,” will look at issues such as: what materials should be used; alternative methods of teaching; new developments in consumer law; innovative ways to look at traditional consumer problems; global approaches to consumer regulation; and how consumers can collect attorneys’ fees. On Saturday, a special session will be held exclusively for those who are interested in getting that first teaching position, either full-time or as an adjunct. The Houston Astros baseball will also be in town and all Conference participants are invited to see them play the Philadelphia Phillies. For more information and a registration form, visit http://www.law.uh.edu/ccl/ or give Professor Richard Alderman a call at 713-743-2165.
To: Reporters and Editors
Fr: Jill Gerber for Sen. Grassley, 202/224-6522
Re: Ministry responses
Da: Monday, March 31, 2008
On March 11, Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Committee on Finance, and Sen. Max Baucus, chairman, wrote follow-up letters to four ministries that had not provided information in response to Grassley's letter of Nov. 5, 2007, inquiring about various issues related to tax-exempt policy. The senators encouraged the ministries to cooperate and asked for a response by today. The latest accounting is:
On Friday, March 28, the Benny Hinn/World Healing Center Church delivered a second submission of information on cd and in hard copy form. This was the ministry's second submission in a "rolling production" of documents.
Also on Friday, March 28, Senator Grassley's tax staff spoke with a lawyer for Randy and Paula White, who indicated that the Whites' first batch of answers has been FedExed to Senator Grassley. The material was scheduled for delivery today but may take some time to get through Senate mail security screening.
The Eddie Long ministry said last week that it would be providing information in response to the March 11 letter on April 15. Senator Grassley plans to continue dialogue with the Creflo Dollar and Kenneth Copeland ministries. The committee is beginning its review of the material that has been received, as well. Senator Grassley made the following comment on the status:
"It's good to see the majority of the ministries offering information. They receive generous tax breaks as non-profit organizations. In general, the federal Treasury forgoes billions of tax dollars a year to tax-exempt groups. The ministries' sharing of material with the Senate committee in charge of tax policy shows an interest in accountability for their special tax status."
The Nonprofit Congress will hold its 2008 Annual Conference from June 1-4, 2008 in Washington DC. Registration is now open via the Congress' website. Here is the tentative agenda.
Sessions will include:
|Session Title||Presenter(s)||Priority Area|
|Capacity Building for Nonprofits - How do we fund it?||TBA||Advocacy/Grassroots Activities|
|Collaboration for Change - Town Hall Meetings||TBA||Advocacy/Grassroots Activities|
|Filing the New Form 990: Getting it right the first time!||Julie Floch - Eisner LLP, Ron Schultz - IRS Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division||Accountability/Best Practices|
|Growing Nonprofit Leadership Through Intergenerational Conversations||TBA||Leadership|
|Helping Nonprofits Implement Best Practices: Lessons Learned||Erica Greeley - Independent Sector, Jon Pratt - Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, Joan Ustin, Joan K. Ustin & Associates, LLC||Accountability/Best Practices|
|The Impact of Inefficiency: An Opportunity to Improve the Grantmaking Application and Reporting Process||Grantmakers Network||Accountability/Best Practices|
|The Nonprofit Congress: Engaging in Local Communities||TBA||ALL|
|Nonprofits VOTE!||Bridgette Rongitsch - Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network||Advocacy/Grassroots Activities|
|The Primary Project: Lessons from New Hampshire for you to use NOW||Mary Ellen Jackson - New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits||Advocacy/Grassroots Activities|
|Raising Public Awareness: North Carolina's Nonprofit Awareness Month||TBA||Public Awareness|
|Reframing Our Values - Our Worth||TBA||Public Awareness|
|Trying it On - An Intergenerational Conversation Exercise||Rosetta Thurman - Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington, Ruth Perry - Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers||Leadership|
Sessions will include:
|Session Title||Presenter(s)||Priority Area|
|Advocacy: A Gateway to Organizational Effectiveness||Larry Ottinger & Gita Gulati-Partee - Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest, Sheri Brady - W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Ron McKinley - Fieldstone Alliance||Advocacy/Grassroots Activities|
|Advocacy 101: Your Template for Results
||Kristy Hall - Universal Synergy Consulting||Advocacy/Grassroots Activities|
|Building Capacity at Each Stage of the Organizational Life Cycle||Shelly Kessler & Anne Sherman - TCC Group||Accountability/Best Practices|
|Can Marketing Create a Movement?||Bill Toliver - The Matale Line||Marketing|
|Empowering Your Volunteers||Tracie Linderman - Internal Builders||Human Resources|
|Finding Community: Mobilizing People and Resource for Change||Nancy Stutts - connectNetwork, Susan Davis - The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia, Sherry Magill - Jessie Ball duPont Fund, Deborah Barfield Williamson - Virginia Network of Nonprofit Organizations||Collaboration|
|Show Me the Money: A candid conversation about corporate partnerships||Erin Mote - The Coulter Companies, Laura Neito - Southwest Airlines, Jeffery Terrell - UPS, Sarika Sangwan - American Express||Finance/Fundraising|
|How to Turn Your Strategic Plan into Marketing Materials That Get Results||Dalya Massachi - Writing for Community Success||Marketing|
|How to Use the Web for Communications and Marketing||Jay Wilkinson - Firespring||Technology|
|Key Performance Indicators for Improved Organizational Performance||John Fovenesi, CPA - Cendrowski Corporate Advisors||Human Resources|
|Leading a Nonprofit Organization - Dealing with Shades of Gray||Rose Mary Fry - Texas Nonprofit Management Assistance Network||Leadership|
|Small Nonprofit Organizations and the Continuous Improvement Model||Elizabeth Holden - Prime Point, Conley Salyer||Leadership|
|Top Ten Innovations for the Nonprofit Sector||Tony Pipa - Urban Institute||Public Awareness|
|Session Title||Presenter(s)||Priority Area|
|Collaboration and Small Nonprofits: Lessons from the Field||Dr. David Garvey - University of Connecticut||Collaboration|
|Creating a Board Culture That Works in a Changing World||Ann W. Martin - Praxis Consulting Group||Accountability/Best Practices|
|Effective (and Legal) Nonprofit Advocacy||Mauricio Vivero - 501c Strategies||Advocacy/Grassroots Activities|
|Fundraising Strategies for Board Members||Kathy Kleiman - The Nonprofiteer/NFP Consulting||Finance/Fundraising|
|Fighting for More General Operating Support: Reframing the Ask||Aaron Dorfman & Melissa Johnson - National Committee on Responsive Philanthropy, Kathleen Enright - Grantmakers for Effective Organizations||Finance/Fundraising|
|Innovation, Interaction and the Future of the Nonprofit Community||Barbara C. Kelly - ammado Internet Services Limited||Technology|
|Message: Where Your Mission Connects with Your Market||Rebecca Leet - Rebecca Leet & Associates||Marketing|
|Preparing Tomorrow's Leaders Today: Successful Succession Planning||Charles C. Weathers, Sr. & Anita Garrett - The Weathers Group||Leadership|
|Shifts Happen: Generational Change in Nonprofit Leadership||Frances Kunreuther - Building Movement Project||Leadership|
|The Six Principles of Successful Board/Executive Partnerships||Jonathan D. Schick - GOAL Consulting||Human Resources|
|From Charity to Investment: Changing the Nonprofit Paradigm||Patrick McWhortor - Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits||Public Awareness|
|Using Free Internet Resources to Spread the Word and Find Allies||Putnam Barber - Idealist.org||Technology|
Tuesday June 3
- 8:00 - 10:00am - Morning Plenary "Political Party Platforms - How the Parties will Utilize the Nonprofit Sector's Expertise"
Tools, Resources, and Practices to Communicate the Value of Nonprofits - Chuck Bean, Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington and Andy Goodman, AGoodmanonline.com
Robin Hood Marketing, Part II - Katya Andresen, Network for Good
- 10:30am - 12:00 pm - Breakout Sessions IV – State and regional delegations meet to share lessons learned and plan for local follow-up activities
- 12:30 - 3:30 - Luncheon Plenary & Closing Session TBA – Top flight speakers will be invited to address attendees
- 4:00 - 5:30pm - Policy Cabinet – Strategizing for Lobby Day
- 6:00 pm - Reception - Celebrating 10 Years of Advocacy - A celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest
Mott House - 122 Maryland Avenue, NE Washington, DC 20002
Wednesday June 4
- 8:30am - 2:00pm - Lobby Day - Visits with Congressional representatives
Monday, March 31, 2008
Mark Sidel has posted The Promise and Limits for Collective Action for Nonprofit Self-Regulation: Evidence from Asia. Here is the abstract:
Self-regulation is a new mandate in American nonprofit life, both for the nonprofit sector itself and for its government overseers. In the United States, this new self-regulation imperative is the product of oversight and hearings by the Senate Finance Committee on nonprofit and philanthropic accountability and malfeasance, the rise of strengthened self-governance among highly networked and occasionally threatened nonprofit sector industries, the rapid strengthening of voluntary and educational efforts at the state level, and other factors. The National Principles on Self-Regulation drafted by an advisory committee of the Panel of the Nonprofit Sector are the most visible new product of collective action within the nonprofit sector toward self-regulation.
But the new self-regulation drive is not limited to the United States. Self-regulation is the product of collective action by the nonprofit sector that can have many and often overlapping motivations, and it is emerging throughout Asia as a means to defend against encroaching and increasing state pressures expressed through law, policy, and politics; to strengthen the quality of governance, services, financial management, and fundraising in the sector; to improve an public, corporate, media and other perceptions of nonprofits and charities; to organize an unruly sphere and marginalize lower-quality actors or other outliers; to access governmental or donor funding; as a market mechanism to exclude competitive or unproductive actors; and as a learning opportunity for nonprofits and their networks at state and national levels, a means to clarify and strengthen shared identity in particular parts of the nonprofit community.
This working paper reviews the history of nonprofit self-regulation in Asia and discussions of it in the academic literature, and discusses and analyzes the various forms of nonprofit self-regulation and private governance in Asia, emphasizing developments in India, Cambodia, the Philippines and Pakistan where nonprofit collective action toward self-regulation is most active. The paper analyzes the initial successes of this collective action in formulating standards and mechanisms for self-regulation, as well as the difficulty that the nonprofit sector has in collectively moving toward implementation, enforcement, and scale-up of these self-regulatory systems - a problem that occurs in the United States as well.