Nonprofit Data Giants Announce Merger

The name of the game in 2019 - across all sectors of the American economy - is data. For the philanthropy community, there’s a massive new data behemoth making its debut.  The new entity named “Candid” is the result of a long-planned merger of The Foundation Center and GuideStar. the two largest data and information nonprofit organizations in the United States. Candid does more than combine “vast troves of Read More

Nonprofits & Risk Management: Attitude Adjustment Advice

In  What’s Next After the Tax Exemption Letter? we noted that there’s lots of information available about how to start a nonprofit and get the all-important “determination letter” from the IRS awarding federal tax exemption. But what happens then? There is much less advice and direction about how to get from Point A, the formation stage, to Point B, the time when the group can and should start its program Read More

Gift Substantiation Final Regulations: At Last!

It’s taken an excruciatingly long time: almost 10 years. Treasury Regulations first proposed in 2008 are now approved and final as of July 30, 2018. They are published under the title “Substantiation and Reporting Requirements for Cash and Noncash Charitable Contribution Deductions,” designated as Treasury Regulation Sections 1.170A-15 (cash), -16 (noncash), -17 (qualified appraisals and appraisers), and -18 Read More

History of Anonymous Giving: A Forum

A few months ago, we posted To Give or Not To Give - Anonymously, That Is (March 27, 2018). With a light-hearted touch, we discussed the reasons why current-day donors choose either to give to charity with great fanfare or conceal their identities as benefactors of an institution or cause. Of the two paths, the more intriguing is that of anonymity.  Why do these privacy-minded donors make this choice? Researchers Read More

Lessons for the Nonprofit Board from SVCF Crisis

 “Recent events at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) have rocked the philanthropic community and left many wondering why things went so terribly wrong.” In April 2018, the largest community foundation in the United States (with assets of over $13 billion) imploded quite spectacularly when journalist Marc Gunther published a blockbuster expose in the Chronicle of Philanthropy. We covered this scandal in Read More

Stakeholder Revolts and Successful Comebacks

Back in 2015, we featured two stories about troubled nonprofit institutions on opposite coasts. The common thread in each tale was a stakeholder revolt which successfully challenged the board's apparent emergency decisions to shut down operations. The rebel force in each organization (bolstered by supporters in and beyond the local communities) not only averted a dissolution but also quickly regrouped. Old Read More

Troubling Policies at  Purdue’s (Formerly For-Profit) Arm

Since the end of World War II, “proprietary” post-secondary institutions have popped up around the nation, taking advantage of generous G.I. benefits to lure students into programs that often were shady and didn’t produce serious education or vocational training. Governments of both parties cracked down from time to time on these mostly small operations. About thirty years ago, it all changed. Suddenly, “large Read More

Charity Naming Rights: A Provocative Idea

Philanthropic naming rights “...are the charitable cousin of corporate - commercial - naming rights.” In Naming Rights: It's a Philanthropic Jungle Out There, we explained that “...huge amounts of money - donated, of course, instead of invested - swirl around the rights to have one’s name catapulted into philanthropic super-stardom. Billionaires jostle for the privilege of contributing to society and being publicly Read More

Corporate Governance: No Longer Just About Business

With the goal of closing the gender gap in corporate governance, in 2018 former Governor Jerry Brown signed into law requirements that all publicly traded corporations in California include at least one woman on their board of directors by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021, those companies that have five member boards must have at least two directors who are female. For boards with six or more directors the Read More

The Refrigerator Estate Plan

You're ahead of most of your generation; you know that an estate plan is vitally important, especially if you own property or have children. You have been proactive, and your current and comprehensive estate plan has helped you to lower your taxes, avoid the necessity of probate, and provide peace of mind and security for your family if the worst were to occur. But if you have young children, your plan might be Read More