Grantees Can Now Review Foundations

“Be the first on your block to review a foundation….” writes Ruth McCambridge, editor of The Nonprofit Quarterly. She describes as the “Yelp” of the foundation world. It’s a “brand-new platform,” in pilot phase, that “promises to be an essential breakthrough tool for foundation fundraising in the United States.”    Reviewing Foundations Anonymously is the brainchild of three Read More

Conflicts of Interest Can Lead to Big Problems

“The last shoe may have dropped,” according to The Nonprofit Quarterly in late July, which has been following the tumultuous tale of troubles from conflicts of interest at Kentucky’s University of Louisville Foundation. It’s not uncommon for major nonprofit institutions like universities and healthcare facilities to form foundations to help raise funds and support the important work of the main organization. Many of Read More

Can A Nonprofit Pay Their Workers Less Than Minimum Wage?

In a quiet corner in rural Maine, disabled workers employed by a nonprofit called Skills, Inc. spend their days “sorting items for its thrift store, cleaning area businesses, and packaging candle wicks and other goods.” The workers’ pay is “based on their determined productivity level, regardless of the state’s minimum wage.” Some earn as little as $2 to $3 an hour. This organization -- offers residential and day Read More

When is Local Intrusion into Nonprofits Too Much?

The relationship between a local government and area nonprofits is often complex. There is a continual push-and-pull between control and autonomy; it plays out each day across America. One such story comes from Hamilton County, Tennessee; Chattanooga is the county seat. The board of commissioners took a big step encroaching on the independence of the tax-exempt groups there. The organizations promptly and forcefully Read More

Charity Issues of Concern to CA Attorney General

Around the nation, state attorneys general have the key oversight responsibility for charitable organizations and property held in charitable trust in their jurisdictions. Historically, the most high-profile ones are from the biggest states. California’s Javier Becerra and New York’s Eric Schneiderman are carrying on this tradition of aggressive investigation and enforcement. This, of course, is in addition to Read More

Charitable Deduction Substantiation: Redux

“Redux”: Something “brought back.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) Back in February 2017, we posted “...a cautionary tale for everyone out there who wants to take a $65-million charitable deduction. Or a $250 deduction. Or whatever.” Follow the rules, we advised. “‘It is not exactly rocket science.’” There are hoops to jump through - not particularly complex or onerous ones - to substantiate a claimed deduction. Read More

Charities in the Courtroom15: NY Goes After “Bottomfeeders”

The New York State Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, has emerged as a key leader of state officials committed to going after fraud and abuse in charities. Doing so has been a big favor to New York’s nonprofits, as it draws a high-profile distinction for the public between legitimate and illegitimate activity in the sector.... He has named his office’s attempt to pursue scam artists that make use of 'shell' Read More

Leaving Words of Wisdom to the Next Generation

You come into the world a blank slate, and as you grow, you gain wisdom. You've planned your estate to leave physical assets to beneficiaries, so now think about leaving them something that’s just as important but less tangible: the hard-won wisdom you’ve accumulated over your life. Let your family and friends learn from your mistakes, and profit from your successes. Living and Other Trusts You probably know that a Read More

A New Way to Diversify Nonprofit Boards

A frequent criticism of the nonprofit world is that boards of directors are primarily populated with people far removed in wealth, background, circumstances, and experience from the people these organizations are formed to serve. There’s talk, of course, that this should change, but discussions about increasing board diversity often lead to little action. Now the City Attorney of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Wade Hinton, Read More

Controversial Decision for Berkshire Museum

“What kind of ‘ethical code’ tells struggling museums it is better to go bankrupt than sell even one artwork to cover operating expenses?" That’s the question posed by University of Kentucky law professor Brian L. Frye, MFA, JD, in a recent Twitter thread about a controversy involving Berkshire Art Museum of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Reports of a decision by the financially beleaguered institution to deaccession Read More