The Importance of Executive Sessions for Nonprofit Boards

BoardSource is a leader in inspiring and supporting “excellence in nonprofit governance and board and staff leadership.” Among its "best practices" advice for 501(c)(3) boards is holding “regularly scheduled executive sessions.” See Executive Sessions: Why, Who, What, & How.        What, Exactly, Are Executive Sessions? “Executive sessions are a special meeting-within-a-meeting.”  Attendees are Read More

Mission Creep Faced by Detroit Nonprofit

“Detroit was still smoldering from the 1967 riots” when civil-rights activists Father William T. Cunningham and Eleanor M. Josaltis took the first steps toward creating what has become Focus: Hope.   Now, fifty years later, the 501(c)(3) organization has an annual budget of over $30 million and a staff of about 200 people. The group has fought against racism and poverty over the span of its five-decade history Read More

Charity Conflicts, Self-Interest, and More

Along with the hordes of ghosts and goblins roaming the American landscape on Halloween were altogether too many nonprofit organizations and leaders out in plain sight committing brazen acts of chicanery and impropriety.  It’s probably no coincidence, then, that the folks at The Nonprofit Quarterly chose October 31st to launch its new Fall 2019 series on conflicts of interest and self-interest in the nonprofit Read More

Foundation Boards: Five Key Questions

Phil Buchanan wants American foundations to know that he has important advice for them as this tumultuous year in philanthropy (and the world) winds down.  In Five Questions Every Foundation Board Should Be Discussing Right Now, the president and CEO of the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) echoes the trademarked slogan of Farmers Insurance: “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two."  Mr. Read More

Attorney General of CA Targets Troop-Support Charity

The Attorney General of California issued a July 24th press release announcing the lawsuit against Sacramento-based Move America Forward, Inc. beginning in a remarkably understated manner. Xavier Becerra has moved against this nonprofit, formed in 2004, that “sends care packages to combat troops” and describes itself on its website as the “nation’s largest grassroots pro-troop organization dedicated to support Read More

Museums Accept Grant to Increase Diversity

About every two years, BoardSource conducts its “signature study” of the board practices and policies of U.S. charitable organizations. The most recent one, Leading with Intent: 2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices, includes participation by the nation’s museums in cooperation with the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). Leading with Intent prides itself with being the “only survey to gather information Read More

New Resource for “Keeping It Ethical”

We’re continually impressed by the scope and quality of online, free-of-charge, resources available to the philanthropic community on topics ranging from governance to fundraising rules.  As we periodically discover these gems of knowledge, we like to pass them on to you. For instance, last month we highlighted the Internal Revenue Service’s own web-based Exempt Organizations, The IRS, and YouTube (April 19, 2019) 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

New Chapter in U. of Louisville Foundation Saga

Last year, we wrote about the deep - self-inflicted - troubles plaguing the University of Louisville (Kentucky) Foundation.  At that time, in July 2017, The Nonprofit Quarterly wrote: “The last shoe may have dropped.” The University of Kentucky had commissioned a costly independent forensic audit covering the years 2014-2016 as well as certain earlier events. The 269-page audit report was released to the board Read More

Nonprofit Insurance Needs: Common Risks

The board of directors of a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization plays a critical role in guiding it along the path to achieving its mission. Good governance, including sound fiscal planning and oversight, is a key to success, as is prudent risk management - with adequate insurance coverage custom tailored to the organization’s circumstances. For many boards, the first mistake is neglecting the matter entirely. The Read More