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There’s an important conversation these days in the nonprofit community on a somewhat unexpected topic: Exploring the Problems and Benefits of Self-Interest in Nonprofits.  That’s how the editors of The Nonprofit Quarterly launched its new series on Halloween 2019. In separate articles published over the next week or so, distinguished experts – Professor David O. Renz, Vernetta Walker, and Ruth McCambridge – offered historical background and provocative commentary.  (We’ve posted on these developments; see,…
Donor-advised funds (DAFs) have enjoyed spectacular success in recent years, and the most current data show this trend not only continuing but accelerating.  But along with this popularity has come considerable criticism from many quarters as well as attempts by federal and state lawmakers to regulate them.  Recently, two of the philanthropy sector’s leading scholars, Professors Roger Colinvaux (Catholic University of America) and Ray D. Madoff (Boston University) published A Donor-Advised Fund Proposal
During the whirlwind 2019 legislative session in California, lawmakers considered hundreds of bills including one that, if approved, would change the law on how charitable gifts-in-kind (GIFs) are valued for accounting purposes.  Assembly Bill 1181, backed by Democratic Attorney General Xavier Becerra, “easily passed the Assembly in the spring….” In late summer, the Senate also gave its approval by a wide margin. The legislation then moved on to the desk of California’s new, first-term,…
On January 1, 2020, the new federal overtime regulations that affect employers around the nation – including nonprofits – go into effect. We’ve followed the tumultuous progress of these significant changes in federal labor from the time they were first proposed during the Obama Administration through to the official adoption and publication on September 24, 2019. See Overtime Rules – Final … At Last! (October 8, 2019). These are complex provisions that necessarily raise questions…
As if there isn’t enough already for nonprofit organizations to juggle and worry over this holiday season as the biggest fundraising period draws to a close. Now, there’s word that the annual cost of your all-important internet “dot ORG domain” name may soon skyrocket – perhaps dramatically.  Why? There’s a drama currently unfolding involving three nonprofits that are part of the “Internet ecosystem” created by pioneering scientists and engineers in the 1990s and early 2000s.…
Some time ago, Andy Robinson, an experienced nonprofit consultant and author, attended a 501(c)(3) event that gave him a perspective different from his usual expert perch. He trained for a day as a volunteer for a local hospice.   In that setting, there are standardized guidelines and checklists to evaluate when it’s the right time for a patient’s family to help him or her make an orderly exit from life.   It suddenly struck him that…
Over the summer of 2019, there were important showdowns around the United States against certain charitable healthcare systems acting in decidedly uncharitable (and unlawful) ways. The hospital behemoths with overflowing coffers relentlessly hounded patients for every last nickel and dime. The victims included those least able to afford it; people earning just at or above the minimum wage – some of them the hospitals’ own employees! By summer’s end, the avaricious health providers were “humbled”…
Every few days or so, there’s another hate-group-fueled shooting rampage in the United States. In a long-overdue move, the FBI recently designated the white-supremacy movement as the greatest domestic-terrorism threat of our era.  Along with growing public concern about the rising death toll is a sense of outrage against the extremist organizations that promote and encourage these violent acts. And many of these groups have a federal tax exemption. The American people have questions: Why…
“Finding funders has never been easy work,” writes The Nonprofit Quarterly’s Martin Levine in How Nonprofits Consider Donations Differently as Donor Challenges Proliferated (September 4, 2019). But it’s much harder now “… in this time of public accountability for societal malefactors and philanthropic money launderers….”      Tainted-Donor Predicament Mr. Levine describes the current tainted-donor dilemma facing charitable organizations: walking the tightrope of “finding reliable, substantial sources of funding” while “ensuring they will not be
There are two intriguing and important recent articles about the history of the U.S. charitable deduction and how it can – and should – evolve in the future.  The first paper is by Dr. Nicolas J. Duquette: Founders’ Fortunes and Philanthropy: A History of the U.S. Charitable-Contribution Deduction (August 27, 2019), Cambridge University Press.  Professor Duquette argues that, despite significant changes in the philosophical underpinnings and textual provisions over the 100 years of the…