Friday, January 16, 2009

PA Nonprofits: Fall-out from Fumo Trial

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that some Pennsylvania nonprofits claim that State Senator Vincent J. Fumo's federal criminal trial has caused many blogs to describe the nonprofit sector as corrupt. In response, many nonprofits are taking steps to protect their reputations through greater transparency and accountability. Fumo has pled not guilty to charges he misused more than $3.5 million from the state Senate, a South Philadelphia charity called Citizens' Alliance for Better Neighborhoods, and a museum.

The Inquirer reports that almost daily there have been new revelations of how Citizens' Alliance for Better Neighborhoods used its funds to benefit Fumo, such as spending $1 million on political polls, power tools, vacuum cleaners, and a bulldozer. The Inquirer reported on much of Citizens' Alliance's alleged misdeeds largely on the basis of public financial records the nonprofit group was required to file with the IRS.

The Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO) provides guidance to nonprofit organizations on best practices and has adopted an ethics and accountability code - Standards for Excellence - patterned on a similar code established by the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations.

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