The "Sunsetting" Foundation: Trend of the Future?

The standard model of nonprofit corporate philanthropy is a nonprofit organization or trust created to last … well … forever. There was a time when families who were establishing private foundations rarely thought about an end to the foundation. They assumed what they had created would last (as intended) in perpetuity from generation to generation. What they discovered, as John D. Rockefeller observed years ago, is Read More

Class Action Lawsuit Against PayPal Giving Fund

In 2016, overall charitable giving rose 1%, but online giving jumped 7.9%, and all indications are using technology to facilitate donations will continue to grow rapidly. Paypal’s online platform, Paypal Giving Fund, has aimed to “create a network of donors, businesses & charities so all can participate in helping charities raise “new, unrestricted funds.” This Fund is a nonprofit that “raises new funds through Read More

New Select Committee on Nonprofits in CA Assembly

“The IRS is not the only sheriff in town.” That’s a key point made in last summer’s edition of the Nonprofit Quarterly magazine on the “New Nonprofit Regulatory Environment: What You Should Know.” One of the most dramatic developments of the past 15 years or so for charitable organizations in the United States has been the rise of the states as vigorous regulators of the nonprofit sector. Especially for charities, Read More

Fewer Regulations: Maybe Not So Good for Nonprofits

With the new Administration, there are lots of big issues being tossed around for discussion and action; health care, immigration, taxes - just to name a few. While these topics make the headlines almost every day, there are other items flying so low under the radar that they may soon crash into the ground. Nevertheless, the latter may result in almost as much chaos and confusion as the big news stories. In this Read More

What’s Up These Days with the Form 1023-EZ?

The Internal Revenue Service used to have a huge problem: it generally took 18 months to two years to process even a fairly straightforward 501(c)(3) tax-exemption application. That’s when a big change was proposed: the introduction of the Form 1023-EZ for the many new, smaller, organizations. We posted about that rollout in July 2014, and about the early reaction and results here, here, and here.  Tim Delaney, the Read More

San Francisco Charity Under Fire

She was everywhere on San Francisco’s social scene: the 78-year-old fashion diva with her enormous “statement” eyeglasses. Joy Venturini Bianchi was the face of nonprofit Helpers Community, Inc. Over 60 years ago, the respected organization was founded to assist people with developmental disabilities. For many years, it operated residential facilities for them in the city’s Richmond District. More recently, though, Read More

Charity Shenanigans of the Billionaire-Philanthropist Doctor

In “Patient-Advocacy Nonprofits’ Dark Ties to Industry,” we examined some practices in the nonprofit sector that need a huge dose of sunlight on them to expose apparent conflicts of interest. Specifically, we referred to the often too-cozy relationships between patient-advocacy organizations and drug companies or other healthcare businesses that fund them. This post tells the tale of  Patrick Soon-Shiang, M.D., a Read More

Charities in the Courtroom, Part 7: Yanking Money from Tight Fists

“You can’t get blood out of a stone.” Apparently, that idiom was “first recorded in Giovanni Torriano’s Second Alphabet, 1662: “To go about to fetch bloud out of stones, viz.  to attempt what is impossible.” Times have changed. There are much better lawyers in 2017.   Breach of Contract Lawsuit With a Marital Twist Like many other states, Illinois has had trouble recently making ends meet. For at least two years Read More

Patient Advocacy Nonprofits’ Dark Ties to Industry

In recent years, the secretive relationships between healthcare businesses and physicians have been exposed, leading to some much-needed reforms of the sordid practice of doctors being paid to direct patients to certain prescription drugs or to medical products or services. Two new studies - just announced in the national media - may bring needed sunlight to another unsavory trend: the incestuous connections between Read More

Executive Orders, Protest Rallies: What’s a 501(c)(3) To Do?

Recently, the big news about the politics ban on 501(c)(3) organizations is that it may disappear. Update: On May 4, 2017, the President issued an executive order that referred, in part, to the politics ban in section 501(c)(3), the so-called "Johnson Amendment." Whether that document will have any significant effect on the existing politics ban is being evaluated by, and discussed among, legal and philanthropy Read More