Thursday, August 2, 2012
The Chronicle of Philanthropy is reporting that the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund returned contributions of $176,000 from the Deborah and Andrew Madoff Foundation and $79,000 from the Mark and Stephanie Madoff Foundation in early 2011, two months after the groups made the gifts to help meet their legal obligation to distribute 5 percent of their assets. Both organizations were founded by the sons of disgraced financier Bernard Madoff.
According to the Chronicle, Fidelity declined to comment on its decision to return the donations. However, experts said the firm may have concluded it was risky to take money linked in any way with the Madoff name.
Now, that's interesting!
New Hampshire Attorney General, Michael A. Delaney, announced today that the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies (NHCPPS) has issued its report on executive compensation at New Hampshire's nonprofit hospitals. The Attorney General commissioned the NHCPPS to conduct the study in 2011. The review was to determine whether the trustees of New Hampshire's nonprofit hospitals are meeting their fiduciary responsibilities in setting executive compensation, and to examine the types and variations in executive compensation among the hospitals.
According to a press release from the New Hampshire Department of Justice,
The report finds that most hospitals follow the process established by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for determining executive salaries. However, these hospitals do not necessarily follow the same process in determining other forms of executive compensation including hiring and retention agreements, bonuses, and perquisites. These additional forms of compensation can, in some circumstances, constitute a significant portion of an executive's pay package. The Report also finds that for most hospitals there is a correlation between hospital size and levels of compensation paid to the chief executive officer (CEO). The data does not however show a significant correlation between CEO compensation and hospital performance measures such as quality of care, cost of care, or charitable care provided. Given these hospitals exist to provide quality health care and are required to provide community benefit and charitable care in light of their non-profit status, the lack of such a correlation is a significant concern.
The Report found that in using IRS guidelines to set compensation, there is a potential "log-rolling" effect created. As long as other hospitals are "moving the log forward" with similar levels of compensation, the industry remains in compliance with the IRS guidelines. Hospitals are supposed to use a range of salaries when setting their CEO compensation. In actual practice hospitals tend to target the 75 percentile, and often higher, in setting their CEO's compensation. This creates an upward spiral and executive compensation can grow at a rate disproportionate to relevant measures of achievement, or to increases experienced by other sectors of the population. This appears to have been the case even during the significant economic downturn experienced since 2008.
All of New Hampshire's 23 nonprofit hospitals were included in the review.
The Columbia Law School Charities Project has released two new webinars for public viewing: “The IRS and Charities Regulation: A Primer,” and “Social Enterprise and Hybrid Corporate Forms: Emerging State Regulatory Perspectives and Responses.” According to the Charities Project, the webinars are designed to help inform the nonprofit sector, regulators, practitioners and academics about topical issues at the intersection of state regulation and the charitable sector.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Today's Philanthropy News Digest is reporting that a new study indicates that "urban schools are systematically neglecting and losing their best teachers every year, even as they retain many of their lowest-performing teachers, with serious consequences for students, schools, and the teaching profession."
According to the Digest,
Issued by TNTP, a national nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that all students are taught by excellent teachers, the report, The Irreplaceables: Understanding the Real Retention Crisis in America's Urban Schools, estimates that the nation's fifty largest school districts lose ten thousand high-performing teachers every year. These are teachers who are able to advance their students' learning by an additional two to three months in math and reading compared with the average teacher — and five to six months compared to low-performing teachers — while their students go on to demonstrate better educational and employment outcomes. What's more, when an "irreplaceable" teacher leaves a low-performing school, the chances of a potential replacement being of comparable quality is only one in eleven.
Now that is sad...
The Federal Times is reporting that in its final report, the CFC-50 Commission has made several recommendations to fix chronic problems afflicting the Combined Federal Campaign. According to the panel of experts tasked with improving the federal government's annual charity drive, the Campaign's "financing should be overhauled, collections should be expanded to federal and military retirees, and the campaign season should be extended a month."
The Obama Administration assembled the panel last year amid declining campaign receipts. According to the Federal Times,
Funds donated to CFC have declined each year since hitting an all-time high of $282.6 million in 2009, reaching $272.7 million in last year’s campaign. And while the average federal employee pledge has risen over the last 50 years — hitting $284.27 last year — the participation rate has steadily trended downward to 24 percent.
In its final report released last Friday, the commission stated that to arrest the decline, the Office of Personnel Management "must increase donor participation, strengthen the campaign’s infrastructure, and increase transparency and accountability."
These are honorable goals, but let's face reality: we are all facing difficult times and maybe, just maybe, charitable giving is not as important as it once was to Americans. A sign of the times....