Thanks for Your Generosity, But … (Part 2)

The devastating fire at the Cathedral of Notre Dame sparked a massive outpouring of financial support that reached $1 billion in a matter of days after the event on April 15, 2019. The fundraising drive was given a boost by immediate pledges from four French billionaires. So much money was raised in the first week or so that officials in Paris faced the unusual dilemma of having received a larger sum than French Read More

Thanks for Your Generosity, But … (Part 1)

“Everything for Notre Dame, nothing for Les Misérables”— protest sign The visual and emotional horror of watching The Cathedral of Notre Dame engulfed in flames on April 15, 2019, grabbed the attention of the world that day and for some time afterward. Media here and abroad stopped in their tracks, providing massive coverage led by the top news anchors.   The result was an immediate outpouring of philanthropic Read More

To Charge or Not to Charge: Admission Fees, That Is

Recent announcements from several cultural institutions highlight what may be a new trend around the nation to increase attendance by lowering - or eliminating - admission fees. This is a significant shift from the thinking just a year ago or so  when museums - including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (MOMA) - chose to deal with budget problems by raising those rates. In early January 2018, the MOMA Read More

Nonprofit Comes Clean: Our Program Doesn’t Work

In the face of a problem or failure, too many charitable organizations duck and cover: hiding serious dysfunction, glossing over a disappointing result, ignoring deplorable behavior. But in November 2018 “a major development charity did something remarkable: It admitted” that a pilot program “didn’t seem to work.”  Kelsey Piper at writes that this nonprofit's admission about its program "should be a Read More

Charity Bankruptcy: What are the Moral Considerations?

The remedy of bankruptcy is not an easy choice for any entity and -especially for a nonprofit corporation - the decision is gut-wrenching. But in some cases, it may be the only way to salvage some of the organization so that it can regroup and go on or to let it close down with as little pain as possible (to everyone concerned) under the sad circumstances. Recently, the word “bankruptcy” has become associated with Read More

Bold Move in SF on Housing Crisis

All around the nation, there are twin crises in housing: availability and affordability.  In the largest, most popular, metropolitan areas, the issue is the most dire; even high-salary professionals have trouble finding living spaces to rent. It’s no secret that San Francisco is a nightmare of shockingly high rents and limited housing supply for the many people who flock there for job opportunities or pleasant Read More

Big-Donor Dependence and Sexual Harassment

Last year, we told you about an incident of sexual harassment in the office of a New York philanthropist. It was notable because of the bold action by the young fundraiser for Hillel International. She returned to her organization’s headquarters, marched right into her supervisor’s office, and reported the misconduct. He reassured her that Hillel would not put up with that kind of behavior and that she would never 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

Why the Census is a Big Deal for Nonprofits

Article I, Section 2 mandates that there be a census taken every ten years to count everyone in each state. This is generally a low-drama process, but it's important because this count determines how the 435 districts of the House of Representatives are proportioned and how hundreds of billions of dollars of federal funds are allocated. The 2020 Census, though, is taking a high-drama turn and “shaping up to be a Read More

Nonprofits and the College Admissions Scandal

Few Americans would have guessed when they woke up on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, that the lead news story that day would be the FBI hauling Aunt Becky off in handcuffs. What next? Are we soon to learn that police have discovered a dead body in the backyard of the home once owned by Mr. Rogers? Information on the biggest college admissions scam in history unfolded rapidly that day. For the philanthropy community, a Read More