For Purpose Law Group Blog

Latest from For Purpose Law Group Blog

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…
It’s almost always election season in the United States. As soon as the votes are tallied in a just-completed cycle, the chatter begins about re-election bids and new opponents.  America’s charities – expressly prohibited from engaging in any partisan political campaign activity – walk a continual tightrope trying to avoid running afoul of this section 501(c)(3) restriction, the so-called “Johnson Amendment.” The lobbying rules and regulations in the federal tax code are less stringent than…
Set against the background of the continuing, high-profile, debate about donor-advised funds (DAFs), the California Assembly in 2019 considered – but temporarily tabled until early next year – the nation’s first attempt at proposed regulation.  Assembly Member Buffy Wicks  (D-15) introduced AB 1712, “donor-advised funds,” on February 22, 2019, as a “spot bill” to meet an end-of-month legislative deadline for new filings for the session. That type of  “placeholder” filing – to be amended…
Charity fraud is a major problem, draining enormous amounts from organizations and their beneficiaries as well as eroding trust in our sector.  In the past, we’ve written quite often about this worldwide problem, most particularly on the specific topics of cyber crime and insider fraud.  The week of October 21 – 25, 2019 was the second annual International Charity Fraud Awareness Week (ICFAW).  We weren’t aware of it until about Wednesday of that week, so…
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 sector.    Self-Interest in Charities: Good and Bad In an introductory…
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. Buchanan and his colleagues “have…
It was just ten years ago, in 2009, when Bridgespan’s Ann Goggins Gregory and Don Howard published their groundbreaking article, The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle, in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.  Their premise: It takes money to achieve charitable purposes, and nonprofits must spend enough in overhead to avert being in constant financial straits.  And it was just 6-½ years ago when activist Dan Pallotta first railed against the demonization of overhead in his…
For nonprofit leaders today, it’s no longer good enough to have programs and activities that are popular and apparently well-received or to have services that beneficiaries often use.  Recently, more and more funders are insisting that grant recipients demonstrate “impacts” of the funding they provide. That’s according to a recent “benchmarking survey,” Nonprofit Standards (June 2019), from BDO’s Institute for Nonprofit Excellence. It asks board chairs and chief executives about “key issues and trends”…
In Philanthropy Thought Leaders: Hot Topics (June 24, 2019), we explained how our online feeds each day bring us a continual flow of “tantalizing information; … “intriguing articles and writings with a “philosophical ‘big-ideas’ tone.” That June post highlighted a few of them discussing the nature and future of philanthropy itself. In More Thoughts from Philanthropy Thinkers (July 23, 2019), we included selected commentary on the issue of tainted donations.    The Challenge of  Climate…
Wayfair is a giant retailer of home furnishings and decor that sells products online.  If you watch at least 15 minutes of television a day, you will have heard its ubiquitous jingle – “Wayfair, you’ve got what I need.” It’s a pleasant-enough tune but the sheer repetition all day every day turns it into a cloying, demonic, force eventually compelling you to log on to Wayfair.com and look at lamps and area rugs you don’t…