Another Bungled College Closing

All around the United States, in recent years, small liberal arts college are facing tough choices resulting from increasing costs but declining enrollments. Part of this is the result of a demographic trend: the post World War II population explosion that produced huge student pools of baby boomers a few decades ago has receded as boomers, themselves, produced far few children.   For these colleges , there have Read More

Goodwill Omaha: AG Issues Scathing Report

Back in 2016, the Omaha World-Herald ran a devastating series of articles about Goodwill Omaha, the well-known 501(c)(3) that is one of Nebraska’s biggest charities. Perhaps the most damaging element in this expose was the compensation level of the group’s top executives: They were the highest paid of Goodwill organizations in the United States at the same time that the workers of the thrift shop giant were paid 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

How Big is “Too Big” For a Community Foundation?

In this fourth part of a series arising out of the recently exposed travails of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, we consider the argument raised by a number of expert observers that, for a nonprofit organization, bigger is not always better. And, in the case of a community foundation, an unrelenting push to expand beyond the community from which the foundation takes its name, may be a particularly troublesome Read More

Observations About Silicon Valley Community Foundation From Outside Its Bubble

In Secrets and Lies at Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Scandal Erupts at Silicon Valley Community Foundation, we began a multi-part series on the spectacular implosion of the nation’s largest community foundation. The scandal that blew open the problems at this charity was a #MeToo tale of a toxic workplace that continued for over a decade. We continue now with a look at the findings of the independent Read More

Museum Diversity in the Spotlight

Several recent studies confirm a problem in the top leadership ranks of America’s museums: a dramatic gender and racial gap. It’s no coincidence that “[t]he demographic profile of museum board members reveals considerable ethnic and racial homogeneity along with minimal age diversity”; in other words, it’s mostly older, white guys. Two recent high-level appointments in the New York area have raised questions - Read More

Scandal Erupts at Silicon Valley Community Foundation

In just over ten years, a new community foundation in Silicon Valley - the result of a merger of two existing organizations - grew into one of the nation’s philanthropic powerhouses. With assets totaling $13.5 billion by February 2018, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation became not only the largest community foundation in the United States but also vaulted ahead of venerable philanthropies like the Ford and Read More

Secrets and Lies at Silicon Valley Community Foundation

“A scandal at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) has roiled the world of philanthropy," wrote philanthropy expert and consultant Alan Cantor on May 7, 2018. Just two weeks earlier, a drama unfolded in the Northern California enclave of tech billionaires; “[a] blockbuster story with dramatic elements worthy of an HBO mini-series…. There were “[a]n imperious and (until now) impervious CEO, secretive Read More

Governance: Invitation for Sector-Wide Discussion

The Nonprofit Quarterly, led by editor Ruth McCambridge, regularly takes the lead in sparking innovative thought and reflection in the nonprofit sector. On April 16, 201, NPQ launched the newest topic for sector-wide discussion and consideration: Nonprofit Boards and Their Relevance in Governance: An Invitation to Engage.  "One of the most rapidly advancing topics in the sector right now centers on the shape and Read More