Overhead Aversion: Yes, There Really Is Such A Thing

Among the most important developments in 2019 in the nonprofit sector is that cracks are emerging in the disastrous Overhead Myth wall. This concept was first formally described ten years ago in The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle, a groundbreaking article in the prestigious Stanford Social Innovation Review. We've written about it several times including most recently in Smashing The Overhead Myth: A Step Read More

American Philanthropy: Biggest Myths

The year 2019 has been one of intense soul-searching for philanthropy. There are enormous problems that society as a whole must address. But that has led to legitimate questions on how to tackle them along with concerns about whether this nation’s philanthropic organizations, as historically and currently organized, should - or even can - take a leading role in the solutions.  As Deborah Elizabeth Finn Read More

A Plea for Higher Foundation-Payout Rules

The usually humorous nonprofit blogger Vu Le (writing at his blog, Nonprofit AF), takes on a more somber tone in The ethical argument for foundations to increase their annual payout rate beyond 5% (August 4, 2019). It’s the day after the deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. “The last few years,” he writes, “have been hellish on all fronts….”  “Nonprofits have been especially hard hit,” being Read More

Tainted Charity Trustees: The Dilemma

In October 2019, just days before the official reopening celebration for Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), protestors gathered near the entrance. The site had been closed all summer for a grand redesign costing $450 million. At that preliminary event, their target was Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, Inc. who is a MOMA board member. They and other critics charge that BlackRock invests in “prison companies, Read More

The Dot.ORG Sale: New Developments

In Your Dot ORG Domain May Soon Cost More (December 4, 2019), we reported stunning news that sent shock waves in November 2019 through both the philanthropy and internet communities. Since then, there have been new developments.    The Origins of the Dot.ORG Domain  In the 1990’s, in the earliest days of the internet, engineers and researchers created two 501(c)(3) in California - where else? - to bring some Read More

New State Laws for 2020

With the holiday festivities in the rearview mirror, we now highlight two California laws that became effective on January 1, 2020: New data security and privacy requirements (CCPA) Upward adjustments to the minimum wage laws (and other employment-related provisions) Although both are California statutes, they reflect and influence significant nationwide trends.    California Consumer Protection Act Read More

Poof! The Nonprofit Parking Tax is Gone

In mid-December, our Congressional representatives scurried to avert another government shutdown like the disastrous one a year ago. They made the deadline just in time for the Christmas recess. Tossed into the final appropriations package were a few surprise holiday gifts for nonprofit organizations.   Members of our sector were thrilled to learn that lawmakers had retroactively repealed the “hugely unpopular” Read More

What’s Up for Nonprofits in 2020?

It’s customary at the end of each year to take a look back at the big issues and in January of the next year to predict trends and challenges.  Coming up with those lists  - including deciding whether it will be a Top 10 or Top 5 of whatever - is surprisingly difficult. Collecting ideas and information from the lists of many experts in the philanthropy sector and reviewing the topics we’ve covered in 2019 led me Read More

Impact of the Nonprofit Sector: New Study

“Think you know everything about charitable nonprofits? Think again!”  That’s the teaser on the home page of the new micro site of the National Council of Nonprofits (NCN). It debuts an important new report:  Nonprofit Impact Matters: How America’s Charitable Nonprofits Strengthen Communities and Improve Lives. This 44-page publication, written by NCN leadership and staff, includes (at a single mouse click) “... Read More

Recent Court Cases: Philanthropy-Related

The “eds and meds” is a popular shorthand phrase for two types of powerhouse community institutions: higher education and medical centers. They are generally the biggest employers in a particular locale and strongly influence the economic vitality of a region.  Most - though not all - are nonprofit organizations exempt from tax under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3).  It’s been awhile since we’ve Read More