Another Feeder Organization Denied Tax Exemption

In “All Profits to Charity?: Not a 501(c)(3),” we noted that from time to time, folks come into our office with the idea of doing something like Newman’s Own; that is, starting a business and donating all the proceeds to charity. They ask us to help them set up a 501(c)(3) organization. They are generally surprised to learn that Newman’s Own is set up as a for-profit business, and that giving all proceeds to charity Read More

Some Good News for Charities in a Time of Upheaval

For charities, there are daunting challenges these days; it’s good to be able to report some happy news as well. The first story is from San Francisco; there, dramatic spikes in commercial rental rates are forcing out some of the critical social service agencies needed to help struggling residents. The second report is from Minneapolis, where a major social services agency has been rocked by an embezzlement scandal, Read More

Charities in the Courtroom, Pt. 13: Creative Differences

Aspen Film, founded in 1979, is a “year-round film arts and education organization.” Appealing to “both the serious cinephile and casual movie lover,” the nonprofit group “organizes a major movie event in every season, offers an extensive education program, and hosts numerous special presentations. Each year, some 30,000 people participate.” It's a membership organization with a 10-member board of trustees and an Read More

Nonprofit Boards: How Effective Are They?

How well a nonprofit board performs is a critical factor in the ultimate success of the organization. Do nonprofit directors believe they are doing well enough? How do the experts evaluate the overall quality and performance? An important project from not too long ago is the “2015 Survey on Board of Directors of Nonprofit Organizations” by the Stanford School of Business. The findings suggest there is considerable Read More

Donor-Advised Funds: New Criticisms

The donor-advised fund (DAF), a charitable-giving format which has been around for many decades, has been surging in popularity for several years. But this massive growth has sparked a recent wave of critical comment from academics and other observers about the implications of the widespread use of DAFs on philanthropy and charitable giving. In The Better Choice?: A Foundation or a Donor-Advised Fund,” we explained Read More

Surge Donations for the Charitable Community

The events of November 8, 2016, were - not to put too fine a point on it - unexpected. The sudden reality of a GOP-controlled Congress and White House caused jitters around the nation including in the philanthropy community. Many nonprofits rely financially on a generous federal budget and their charitable beneficiaries face catastrophic consequences if services and benefits are slashed. Amidst this doom-and-gloom Read More

Bipartisan Philanthropy Bill Unveiled

During the 2016 election-campaign season, a key GOP talking point was a promise of  “tax reform.” Now in control of both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, Congressional Republicans and the White House are eager to move forward. The philanthropy community is alert to any signs or signals about proposals that may affect the nation’s charities, beyond the matter of the Johnson Amendment. In particular, there is concern Read More

Long-Awaited ERISA Decision Reached

Late last year, we previewed a pending Supreme Court case involving pension plans of religiously affiliated nonprofits. On June 5, 2017, the ruling was issued: All eight justices participating in Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton agreed that the “church plan” exception to ERISA coverage for employees is broad enough to include all religiously-affiliated facilities including ones that were not originally Read More

California Administrative Dissolutions

In early January of last year, the California Franchise Tax Board and the California Secretary of State launched something brand new designed to clear a lot of nonprofit organizations that are no longer operating off their rolls. California nonprofit public benefit, mutual benefit, religious, and registered foreign nonprofit corporations are now subject to administrative dissolution (California nonprofit Read More

Religious Nonprofits Score Big Constitutional Win

It all started several years ago on a playground at a church preschool in Columbia, Missouri. The saga concluded on June 26, 2017, when seven of the nine justices of the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the church. In Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer, Chief Justice John Roberts explains that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment “...protects religious observers against unequal Read More