Saturday, September 13, 2008

Current Issue of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly Publishes Variety of Articles on Nonprofits

The recent issue of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly has a number of interesting articles concerning nonprofits.  Here are abstracts from a few of the articles in the September 2008 edition:

"Looking for a Few Good Women": Volunteerism as an Interaction in Two Organizations

by Tiffany Taylor (North Carolina State University), Christine Mallinson (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), and Katrina Bloch (North Carolina State University)

A substantial body of research examines volunteerism via surveys of individual volunteers or volunteer organizations. The authors argue that researchers must expand this conceptualization of volunteering to include the interactive process between the volunteer and the organization. Using structuration theory as a guiding framework, the authors examine how volunteers' behavior is both shaped by and also affects the way in which two organizations are structured. In this comparative case study, the authors utilize participant observation, interviews, and archival analysis to illustrate this interaction in two organizations, a no-kill cat shelter and a resource organization for women who partner with women. They find that the character of the labor process, and specifically whether it entails the expenditure of emotional labor, leads to either burdensome or rewarding volunteer experiences. The authors further underscore the importance of examining emerging trends in "episodic volunteering" and shifts in nonprofit organizations toward more bureaucratized business forms.

Diaspora Philanthropy in an At-Risk Society: The Case of Coptic Orphans in Egypt

by Jennifer M. Brinkerhoff (George Washington University)

This article seeks to answer two questions: How can the potential gains from diaspora philanthropy be extended beyond individual households and sustained beyond one generation? And how can these gains be mobilized for poverty alleviation, justice, and development, especially in at-risk countries? Following reviews of potential diaspora contributions and the parameters of at-risk societies, the case of Coptic Orphans is presented. Coptic Orphans provides a model for channeling remittances to meet the subsistence and development needs of the poorest of the poor and sustaining these contributions beyond the first generation. It illustrates how diaspora organizations can effectively navigate the social and legal challenges of operating in an at-risk society. Finally, it suggests that diaspora organizations may increasingly overcome voluntary failures to become a significant sector in the international development arena.

Government Funding and Nonprofit Organizations

by William Luksetich (St. Cloud State University, Minnesota)

In this article, the author tests whether there is a simultaneous relationship between the number of nonprofits and government funding of nonprofit activity and whether the fundraising efforts of nonprofits are the means by which nonprofits affect the grants available to them. Estimates of the model are consistent with the proposition that government grants and contracts (program revenues) received by nonprofits are strong determinants of the number of nonprofits in a state. They lend support to the argument that nonprofit fundraising activities have an independent effect on the availability of the grants and contracts; however, although the number of nonprofit organizations per state has a similar effect on grants to nonprofits, they do not have an effect on the contacts they receive.

Serving Workers in the Human Services: The Roles of Organizational Ownership, Chain Affiliation, and Professional Leadership in Frontline Job Benefits

by Anna Haley-Lock (University of Washington) and Jean Kruzich (University of Washington)

A growing body of research has sought to understand forces shaping firms' approaches to employee compensation and the impacts of job benefits on both organizational performance and worker well-being. One such line of work has documented advantages from employers adopting generous compensation practices, as evidenced by more successful worker recruitment and retention. Little of this work, however, has attended to benefits provided within nonprofit and public human service settings or to low-level workers. Drawing on a sample of Wisconsin nursing homes, this study addresses this gap by examining the roles of ownership, chain affiliation, and professional leadership in compensation provided to nursing assistants. Results indicate that public and nonprofit ownership and chain membership are positively related to benefit levels. Workers fare unexpectedly less well with professional directors in for-profit and public settings but better within professionally led nonprofits.

Charity Brand Personality: The Relationship With Giving Behavior

by Adrian Sargeant (Indiana University), John B. Ford (Old Dominion University) and Jane Hudson (University of the West of England)

Charity brands have been found to assist income generation by enhancing donor understanding of an organization and what it stands for. Despite an increasing interest in this topic, few studies have addressed the dimensions of such brands and sought to explore the link (if any) with donor behavior. The authors report the results of a large-scale postal survey of donors to nine national nonprofits and conclude that traits associated with benevolence, progression, and conservatism are incapable of distinguishing between the study's participating brands. Traits associated with emotional engagement, service, voice, and tradition are capable of serving as the basis for differentiation and are also linked to facets of individual giving behavior.

For additional articles, see the September 2008 issue of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.

DAB

September 13, 2008 in Publications – Articles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NY To Consider Requiring Nonprofit Board Volunteers to Make Financial Disclosures

The September 13, 2008, issue of the New York Times has an article about the new York City Council's consideration of a proposal to require people who sit on nonprofit boards to make detailed public disclosure of certain personal financial information.  Here is an excerpt from the article:

Last month, the city’s Conflict of Interest Board, which administers the disclosure process, sent letters to the American Museum of Natural History (Mr. Michaels, the television producer, serves on its board), the Gracie Mansion Conservancy (where Mr. de la Renta serves), and dozens of other nonprofits, notifying them that their officers and directors may have to file financial information by October.

The conflicts board was doing so in order to comply with a provisions of a little-known state law called the Public Authorities Accountability Act of 2005.

Protest letters and calls soon followed. And at least three nonprofit organizations, one being the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, where David Rockefeller and Robert De Niro are trustees, challenged the finding and wriggled off the list.

Now Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who chafes now and then about how much he has to reveal about his own finances, has taken up the cause of the city’s civic-minded elite. He is pressing for city legislation at the urging of the conflicts board to take some of the sting out of the state law by authorizing a shorter form for the nonprofit groups.

For the entire story, see "Note to Civic-Minded: Prepare to Reveal Riches" in the September 13, 2008, issue of the New York Times.

DAB

September 13, 2008 in In the News, State – Legislative | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dean Spade Posts "The Nonprofit Industrial Complex and Trans Resistance"

Dean Spade (Seattle University School of Law) posted an abstract of his Sexuality and Social Policy research paper about incorporating critiques of the nonprofit industrial complex into trans political analysis on SSRN's Nonprofit and Philanthropy Law Abstracting Journal.  The article is entitled "The Nonprofit Industrial Complex and Trans Resistance."  Here is the abstract:

Transpolitics are gaining visibility and momentum, and increasingly trans activists are forming projects and organizations focused on promoting political change. Given this context, this article examines how critiques of the nonprofit industrial complex might be incorporated into trans political analysis and how they could inform this moment of trans political institutionalization. Taking tools and lessons from antiracist and feminist scholars and activists and recognizing the widespread critique of the neoliberal co-optation of the gay and lesbian rights movement, this article highlights alternatives to traditional nonprofit structures. The authors provide an in-depth look at one trans legal organization that operates with a collective governance model and centralizes the leadership of trans people of color, offering it as a potential model for emerging trans organizations.

DAB

September 12, 2008 in Publications – Articles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Hershey and Jarzab Post "The Property Tax Exemption for Nonprofits"

Nathan Hershey (University of Pittsburgh - Department of Health Policy and Management) and Christine M. Jarzab (Corporate Compliance Officer
Warren General Hospital)
posted an abstract of their draft Journal of health Law article about interlocking director issues on SSRN's Nonprofit and Philanthropy Law Abstracting Journal.  The article is entitled "Fiduciary Duties of Interlocking Directors within a Nonprofit Health System."  Here is the abstract:

In response to regulatory and financial pressures, entities participating in the healthcare industry have joined with others in order to maintain, even improve, their market positions. In the nonprofit sector of the industry, partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions have included arrangements whereby some corporate partners have interlocking directors. After review of the fiduciary duties of care and loyalty owed by corporate board members, and their application to traditional performance and conflict of interest situations, the authors address two scenarios raising interlocking director issues.

One scenario involves the acquisition of a community hospital by a health system; the other a "partnership" between a health system and a university with a medical school. Their analysis leads to the conclusion that the duality of interest created by interlocking directors should not ordinarily bar participation in corporate decisionmaking by such directors, because the key reason for establishing such interlocking directors is to create a mechanism for the entities, through their representatives, to participate the decisions of each other.

DAB

September 12, 2008 in Publications – Articles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Women Are Making More Charitable Donations

On September 12, 2008, the St. Petersburg Times reports that charitable giving by women has increased as women have advance in the corporate environment.  Here is an excerpt from the story:

"Women are traditionally volunteers, not philanthropists," said Deborah Kotch, president of St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation. "Their giving money, in addition to giving time, has evolved over the last two decades."

With more women earning college degrees and owning businesses, they've become prime targets for donations in their own name, separate from a spouse.

"They approach philanthropy decisions differently," continued Kotch, noting a $15-billion increase in women's charitable giving since 1996.

For the entire story, see "Growing financial independence opens doors for women beyond fundraising" in the September 12, 2008, issue of the St. Petersburg Times.

DAB

September 12, 2008 in In the News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

IRS Issues New Instructions for Form 990-EZ

On September 10, 2008, the IRS announced that it was issuing new revised instructions for IRS Form 990-EZ that (among other things) raise the threshold for filing the 990-EZ to allow for easier transition to the new IRS Form 990.  Here is the IRS announcement about the change:

The Internal Revenue Service has released instructions for filing the 2008 Form 990-EZ.  The new form is mostly unchanged; however, it has been updated to include certain schedules from the new Form 990, which replace previously unstructured attachments.  A Background Paper - 990-EZ is also available. 

Filing thresholds for Form 990-EZ  have been significantly increased for 2008 and later years to allow organizations time to adjust to the new Form 990. Review the filing thresholds to determine whether an organization is eligible to file Form 990-EZ or must file the new Form 990 for 2008

For additional information, see the IRS announcements website at http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=186630,00.html

DAB

September 11, 2008 in Federal – Executive | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

IRS Publishes Proposed Regulations that Eliminate the Advanced Rulings Process

On September 9, 2008, the IRS published temporary regulations that (among other things) eliminate the advance ruling process for new public charity organizations.  Here is the summary from the federal register publication:

This document contains final and temporary regulations necessary to implement the redesigned Form 990, ‘‘Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax.’’ The final regulations contained in this document make only nonsubstantive revisions to comply with Federal Register requirements. The temporary regulations make revisions to the regulations under section 6033 and section 6043 to allow for new threshold amounts for reporting compensation, to require that compensation be reported on a calendar year basis, and to modify the scope of organizations subject to information reporting requirements upon a substantial contraction. The temporary regulations also eliminate the advance ruling process for new organizations, change the public support computation period for organizations described in sections 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) and 509(a)(1) and in section 509(a)(2) to five years, consistent with the revised Form 990, and clarify that support must be reported using the organization’s overall method of accounting. All tax-exempt organizations required under section 6033 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code) to file annual information returns are affected by these temporary regulations. The text of these temporary regulations also serves as the text of the proposed regulations (REG–142333–07) published in the Proposed Rules section in this issue of the Federal Register.

For the full text of the temporary regulations, go to http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/tempregs_arpe_fedreg090908.pdf

DAB

September 11, 2008 in Federal – Executive | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

DiPietro Publishes "Duty of Obedience: A Medieval Explanation for Modern Nonprofit Governance Accountability"

Professor Melanie DiPietro (Seton Hall) has published "Duty of Obedience: A Medieval Explanation for Modern Nonprofit Governance Accountability" in the Duquesne University Law Review.  Here is an excerpt:

The United States “boasts the largest nonprofit sector in the world,” which has often been referred to as the “invisible sector,” and as “perhaps the biggest unknown success story in American history.”  The nonprofit sector, especially those public benefit charitable corporations enjoying federal tax exempt status as 501(c)(3) corporations, has become less invisible. Unfortunately, the success of public benefit charitable corporations has been overshadowed by scandal. These scandals have contributed to public skepticism concerning the effectiveness of the substantial benefit the public actually receives from the activities of these corporations--the raison d'être of privileged tax exempt status. In short, the public benefit charitable sector is “plagued by a ‘dangerous crisis of confidence’ that stems from a financial and economic crisis as well as a crisis in effectiveness.”

While there is much debate over how to improve the “transparency and accountability” of the sector, there is consensus that accountability is necessary. The need for accountability has engendered discussion of various remedies, including the utility of Sarbanes Oxley-type legislation for nonprofits and accountability for violations of fiduciary duties, without which the law is merely aspirational. Other commentators focus on director independence in the board room and establishing fiduciary duties for the directors of parent holding companies because of potential conflicts of interests arising from overlapping boards in related corporations. In addition, the Internal Revenue Service's Form 990--“Return of Organizations Exempt From Income Tax”--is another method of providing publicly available information concerning, in addition to financial information, information on “exempt purpose achievements in a clear and concise manner”--including “achievements that are not measurable.” The need for transparency and accountability has also sparked a discussion of the scope and the nature of the fiduciary duties of directors of public benefit charitable corporations.

The Proposed Principles of the Law of Nonprofit Organizations of the American Law Institute (ALI Principles) include the duty of care and the duty of loyalty, but do not employ the language of a separate duty of obedience. Evelyn Brody, the reporter for the revision of the ALI Principles, concludes that “[t]he law imposes on fiduciaries only the twin duties of loyalty and care.” There is general agreement concerning the separate articulation of the duty of care and the duty of loyalty. There is, however, less support among commentators concerning the necessity to reference a separate duty of obedience for directors of public benefit charitable corporations.

For the entire article, see Melanie DiPietro, "Duty of Obedience: A Medieval Explanation for Modern Nonprofit Governance Accountability," 46 Duq. L. Rev. 99 (2007).

DAB

September 11, 2008 in Publications – Articles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A U.S. Department of Philanthropy? It could happen...

On August 19, 2008, the Washington Post reports that a group of nonprofit organizations is urging government leaders to create a special federal entity, similar to the Small Business Administration, that would "boost the presence of philanthropy and community service in a new administration."  The group wants the new entity to "match nonprofit programs with government priorities, help successful community-based initiatives grow and organize a corps of service volunteers."  Here is an excerpt from the article:

Meanwhile, a coalition of nonprofit groups and entrepreneurs recently started America Forward, a similar campaign based on the idea that solutions to the nation's problems already exist, often conceived by small but innovative community-based groups. America Forward seeks to combine corporate pragmatism, charitable ethos and government investment to develop these solutions to address the biggest challenges.

"The philanthropic dollars provide us the money to experiment and try new things," said Kim Syman, an America Forward co-founder. "Philanthropy can fail in a way that government can't. But we can catalyze government investment in growing what works."

But these proposals have drawn skepticism from some philanthropists who pride themselves on their autonomy and are leery of government oversight.

. . .

"Some people think, 'Hey, it's a great idea,' " said Alan J. Abramson, a philanthropy scholar at George Mason University. "But there's also this other argument that . . . we don't want an agency that is going to over-regulate us."

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who chairs a key subcommittee, said Congress will study the proposals, but cautioned that an increased role for government may not be best for nonprofit groups. "Sometimes we can get in the way," he said.

For the entire story, see "Some Nonprofits Push for Increased Federal Involvement" in the August 19, 2008, issue of the Washington Post.

DAB

September 10, 2008 in In the News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Third Annual UPS Lecture on Nonprofit Leadership, Governance and Economic Stewardship - "Repeat After Me: 'It's the Board of Directors, Stupid'"

The Nonprofit Studies Program at the Andrew Young School at Georgia State is pleased to announce the Third Annual UPS Lecture on Nonprofit Leadership, Governance and Economic Stewardship on October 16, 2008, 3:00-4:30 PM on the 7th floor of the AYSPS Building, 14 Marietta Street.

Our distinguished speaker will be Reynold Levy, president of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.   Dr. Levy has titled his talk, Repeat After Me:  "It's the Board of Directors, Stupid", and will be sharing his expertise and insights regarding leadership and governance of nonprofit boards.  The event is an open forum especially targeted for nonprofit community leaders.

Reynold Levy's visit is co-hosted by the Woodruff Arts Center and the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta.  His lecture is sponsored and underwritten with the generosity of The UPS Foundation, and is co-sponsored by The Foundation Center.

Dr. Levy's latest book, Yours for the Asking: An Indispensable Guide to Fundraising and Management, has just been published.  Following the lecture, the Nonprofit Studies Program will hold a reception and book signing for Dr. Levy from 4:30-6 PM.

For more information about the lecture and our speaker, please visit our website at http://aysps.gsu.edu/nsp/UPS_lectures.html

We look forward to seeing you there.

Cheers,

Dennis R. Young
Bernard B. and Eugenia A. Ramsey Professor of Private Enterprise
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies
Georgia State University
Atlanta, Georgia 30302-3992
404 413 0126
404 413 0104  (fax)

DAB

September 10, 2008 in Paper Presentations and Seminars | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Provena Appeals Tax-Exemption Loss To Illinois Supreme Court

Provena-Covenant hospital announced today that it will appeal the recent decision by the Illinois 4th District Court of Appeals to uphold the prior revocation of the hospital's tax exemption by the Illinois Department of Revenue. Information about the case and the appeal are available here and here.

Hardly a surprising development, but since this case falls within the discretionary authority of the Illinois Supreme Court, we still have to wait to see if the court takes the case or not.

JDC

September 9, 2008 in State – Judicial | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sjoquist Posts "The Property Tax Exemption for Nonprofits"

Professor David L. Sjoquist (Georgia State - Dept. of Economics) posted an abstract of his draft Andrew Young School of Public Policy Research paper about gaps to be addressed in future research on the property tax exemption on SSRN's Nonprofit and Philanthropy Law Abstracting Journal.  The article is entitled "The Property Tax Exemption for Nonprofits."  Here is the abstract:

This paper reviews the existing literature on the property tax exemption for nonprofit organizations and identifies gaps to be addressed in future research. We start by examining justifications and existing eligibility criteria for the property tax exemption, followed by studies of the magnitude of the revenue loss from the exemption. We focus on theoretical and empirical studies of the economic effects of the exemption. We consider the effect of the tax advantage on nonprofit decisions about inputs, outputs and organizational form, decisions to rent or own, location decision, market share, and the effect of the exemption on neighboring property values. Finally, we evaluate research about the use of PILOTs and the implications of their possible expansion. We conclude that future studies need to examine further the magnitude of the revenues forgone, the advantages and disadvantages of PILOTs, and other solutions for distributing more evenly the burden of the exemption. Further studies are also needed to understand the economic effects of the property tax exemption, with opportunities for theoretical and empirical contributions.

DAB

September 9, 2008 in Publications – Articles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

IRS Streamlines TEO Application Process

On September 8, 2008, the IRS issued a press release announcing its issuance of new regulations that will streamline the approval process for entities seeking tax-exemption as publicly supported charities.  Here is the text of the news release:

IRS Streamlines Application Process for New Tax-Exempt Organizations

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department today issued new regulations that will streamline the approval process for organizations seeking tax-exempt status as publicly supported charities.

The new regulations do away with the so-called advance rulings that granted public charity status for an initial five-year period but required exempt organizations to demonstrate, after the initial period, that they in fact received a substantial part of their support from public sources to receive a final determination letter.

The IRS was able to eliminate the advance rulings process because of the recent redesign of the Form 990, the tax return filed by organizations exempt from federal income tax.

“The revised Form 990 enhances transparency for exempt organizations and makes it easier for them to show that they are ‘publicly supported’ charities, rather than private foundations,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman.

Private foundations under federal law are subject to more restrictions on the way they operate than publicly supported charities. To apply for exempt status either as a private foundation or as a publicly supported charity, an organization must file a Form 1023, the application for recognition of tax exemption.

Over the years, approximately 95 percent of exempt organizations that received advance rulings were later recognized as publicly supported charities at the end of the five-year period.

“Given the high ‘recognition’ rate and the redesigned Form 990, it makes sense to eliminate the burdensome advance ruling process” said Lois G. Lerner, Director of the IRS Exempt Organizations division. “Not only will the streamlined process aid exempt organizations, but it will also allow the IRS to redirect staffing to other program areas without compromising compliance.”

The IRS will use the new Form 990 and other traditional techniques to continue to ensure organizations are complying with the rules for publicly supported charity status on an ongoing basis.

Organizations that have already received an advance ruling under the old regime, but are still in their first five years of existence, can use their advance ruling letter as their final determination letter. In addition to the streamlined approval process, the new regulations include other modifications necessary to implement the redesigned Form 990.  Organizations will begin filing the new Form 990 for their 2008 tax year. 

For this and other IRS news releases, go to http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/.

DAB

September 9, 2008 in Federal – Executive, In the News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

College Presidents Defend High Tuition Costs and Speak Out Against Legislation to Require Endowment Spending

On September 9, 2008, the New York Times reports that a number of U.S. college Presidents are defending the rising cost of college tuition and arguing against legislation that would require them to spend down their endowments.  Here is an excerpt from the article:

But Senator Charles Grassley, Republican of Iowa, and Representative Peter Welch, Democrat of Vermont, who convened a round-table discussion on the subject, indicated that they would continue their effort to push universities to justify their tax exemptions by spending more of their endowment money.

“Tuition has risen at twice the rate of per capita income,” Mr. Welch said, “and this year it will cost just under $50,000 to attend the average private college. If the cost of milk had risen as fast as the cost of college since 1980, a gallon would be $15.”

. . .

Education leaders said Monday that many universities had been taking steps to make college more affordable.

“Total student aid provided by institutions has more than doubled in the last decade, from $11.4 billion to $26.3 billion,” said Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education.

Ms. Broad pointed out that despite all the attention to the richest universities and highest tuitions, most universities had small endowments. Only 3 percent of the nation’s college students are at institutions costing $25,000 a year or more, she said, and just 75 universities control 71 percent of all endowment assets.

For the entire story, see "College Presidents Defend Rising Tuition, Lawmakers Sound Skeptical" in the September 9, 2008, issue of the New York Times.  For prior Nonprofit Lawprof blog coverage on this endowment spend-down issue, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

DAB

September 9, 2008 in In the News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 8, 2008

ADF Calls for "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" - A Day When Ministers Are Asked to Violate the Ban on Endorsing (or Opposing) Candidates for Elective Office

The Alliance Defense Fund has called on pastors and ministers to violate the statutory prohibition against tax exempt charities endorsing or opposing candidates for elective public office.  The so-called "Pulpit Freedom Day" is set for Sunday, September 28.  The basis for the call to endorse or oppose is ADF's belief that the statutory ban violates the religious organization's First Amendment constitutional rights.  The call is designed to bate the IRS into challenging the religious leader's actions in federal court so that the U.S. Supreme Court can finally rule of the constitutionality of the 54-year-old ban on political endorsements by churches and other tax-exempt charities.  Regarding ADF's reasoning, the article says:

Defining its latest mission, the ADF declared that pastors have "too long feared" the loss of tax exemptions.

"We're not encouraging any congregation to violate the law," Stanley said. "What we're encouraging them to do is exercise their constitutional right in the face of an unconstitutional law."

Interestingly, an opposing group of Church and Jewish clergy are asking religious leaders not to engage in the call because such action would be "an assault on the rule of law and the separation of church and state."  The group also wants the government to determine whether the ADF should lose its tax-exemption by organizing a supposedly "illegal" activity.  Regarding the opposing groups reasoning, the article says:

Joe Conn, a spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, calls "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" a "stunt" that is part of an effort by the religious right to build a church network that will "put their candidates into office. It's part of the overall game plan."

"This is an extraordinarily reckless scheme that they are promoting," Conn said. "The federal tax law is clear. Churches are charitable institutions that exist to do charitable things. That does not include politics. Political groups do politics."

I think it's about time that this murky line of where constitutional freedoms end and compliance with statutory law begins gets clarified.  Unlike those cited in the Washington Post article as opposing the ADF action, the law in this area is not at all clear.  Granted, the statutory prohibition is clear in that it prohibits campaigning for (or against) candidates for elective public office.  But just reading that language out of context misses some very important aspects of charitable existence.  It is not enough, in my mind at least, to say that tax-exemption is a privilege and not a right.  To the extent that there is true value in the exemption itself, which I contend has significant monetary and non-monetary value, an aspect of the exemption law that effectively silences religion in a significant way is constitutionally suspect.

For the entire story, see "Ban on Political Endorsements by Pastors" in the September 8, 2008, edition of the Washington Post.

DAB

September 8, 2008 in Church and State, Federal – Executive, In the News | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Will the Government Takeover of Fannie and Freddie Mean Less Philanthropic Giving?

The Washington Post reports on September 8, 2008, that the recent government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac might have an adverse impact on charitable giving.  here is an excerpt from the article:

Last year Fannie Mae dissolved its foundation -- an organization that has put more than $1 billion into education, affordable housing, education and economic development programs since 1979. The company said its philanthropic activities would be handled in-house, and it continued to give to local organization and initiatives. Among its 2007 programs, the company pledged $10 million to improve infrastructure in D.C. schools and $1 million in grants to help revitalize D.C. neighborhoods. Its annual Help the Homeless walkathon raised more than $7 million last year to support 175 local homeless service providers, such as Reston Interfaith, last year.

There was hardly any mention of mortgage giants' philanthropy at yesterday's news conference, only that government "will review the charitable activities."

But Bo Sims, a staff member at DC Central Kitchen, feared the worst. "I don't suspect the government will take up their slack."

For the entire story, see "Wondering What's Next for Fannie and Freddie - Business Leaders, Charities Uneasy After Federal Takeover" in the September 8, 2008, issue of the Washington Post.

DAB

September 8, 2008 in Federal – Executive, In the News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Gustav and Other Tropical Activity Cause Financial Difficulties For Nation's Disaster Charities

On September 6, 2008, the Washington Post reports that Hurricane Gustav has caused the American Red Cross to face sever financial difficulties.  Here is an excerpt from the story:

The Red Cross has raised less than $5 million toward its Gustav expenses, officials said. To recoup its Gustav cost -- most of it borrowed money -- the nonprofit organization plans to roll out an aggressive national campaign Monday.

In 2005, the Red Cross borrowed money for the first time in its 127-year history when it took out a $340 million loan to help pay for its $2 billion response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The nonprofit organization quickly raised the money to cover the debt.

But because Gustav weakened as it churned onto the Gulf Coast, Americans struggling in a soft economy have not responded with an outpouring of giving as they did three years ago when Katrina left indelible images of devastation and suffering. Gustav spared New Orleans the death and destruction that forecasters predicted but dampened donations to the Red Cross, which mounted one of its largest mobilizations in years.

Fundraising is "nowhere near the pace that we would need it to be," said Joe Becker, senior vice president of Red Cross disaster services. He called the situation "daunting."

For the entire story, see "Gustav Relief Sends Red Cross Into Debt" in the September 6, 2008, issue of the Washington Post.

DAB

September 8, 2008 in In the News | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Will Baby Boomers Fill the Need for "Leadership" in the Nonprofit Community?

The August 28, 2008, issue of the Dallas morning News has an interesting article about how baby boomers (Bill gates among them) are shedding their corporate jobs for careers with nonprofit organizations.  This is apparently happening a the perfect time since there is a dearth of qualified leaders in the nonprofit sector.  Here is an excerpt from the story:

Boomers' interest in charitable work comes as nonprofit agencies face a serious leadership deficit, said David Simms, an executive with the Bridgespan consulting group. A surge in retirements and a proliferation of nonprofit agencies will create a need for 640,000 senior managers over the next decade – more than double the current number, he said.

. . .

But making the move isn't always easy. The pay is less; the hours can be long. And workers used to companies' fast-paced decisions may become frustrated by the collaborative style at nonprofit groups, Mr. Simms said.

Still, many of those who have traded their jobs with for-profit companies to work for nonprofits have no regrets.

For the entire story, see "Baby Boomers Find Meaning in 'Encore Careers' at Nonprofit Groups" in the August 28, 2008, issue of the Dallas Morning News.

DAB

September 7, 2008 in In the News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Atlanta Says "Don't Give Directly to the Homeless, Give to Charity Instead"

The September 7, 2008, issue of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has an article about Atlanta's attempts to reduce panhandling in that city.  The idea is to encourage citizens not to give change to panhandlers and to, instead, give money to charities.  Here is an excerpt from the story:

“You want to stop enabling them,” said Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, whose district includes downtown. “When people are losing their lives over pocket change, we have to do something.”

Hall was referring to a killing last week at a Midtown gas station where police said a man was shot to death after arguing with a panhandler. A suspect was arrested and charged with murder.

The newest campaign follows last month’s police operation to arrest aggressive beggars. The roundup was the largest since the city passed an anti-panhandling ordinance in 2005. The arrests coincided with attempts to stem loitering at Woodruff Park and Barbara Asher Square near the Five Points MARTA station.

. . . .

Starnes said the public education effort —- which will be rolled out at downtown hotels, businesses, residences and convention centers and in radio spots —- will suggest the names of organizations where people can contribute and help the homeless. Also, the city will try to bring the homeless into programs for counseling and treatment.

I understand the concern to protect citizens and businesses, but what does this say about compassion?  Is giving to charity a good substitute for the immediate relief afforded by directly donating to those in need?  let's see how Atlanta's plan works.

For the entire story, see "City Urges Tough Love for Beggars - Plea to Public: Save it for Charity so Pushy Panhandling Won't Pay" in the September 7, 2008, issue of the AJC.

DAB

September 7, 2008 in In the News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)