For Purpose Law Group Blog

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“Deaccessioning” – that is, selling off artwork for any purpose other than to acquire more artwork – is the “cardinal sin” of the museum world.  Before the pandemic, this was official policy of The Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), the professional group that “… serves as the industry’s referee and moral watchdog.”  For the last decade or so, the AAMD has enforced this proscription from time to time with a heavy…
After the first waves of generous federal COVID-19 relief last spring, there was a long and frantic wait in the nonprofit sector for desperately needed supplemental aid.  Finally, that assistance has arrived through emergency appropriations and legislation at historic funding levels in late December 2020 and again in mid-March 2021. Among the provisions of particular interest to the nonprofit community is the $16-billion Shuttered Venues Operators Grant Program (SVOG). It’s open to certain arts and…
It’s been quite a while since we last reported on any (non-pandemic) court cases involving nonprofit-sector plaintiffs or defendants. In any event, the nation’s courthouses shut down entirely last spring and have only slowly reopened with slow remote operations.  That takes us back to December 19, 2019: Recent Court Cases: Philanthropy Related.  It’s a post you may have missed: published just days before the Christmas break and hidden behind a remarkably bland title.  That…
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) is a remarkable legislative achievement, delivering “much-needed relief to many nonprofits on the frontlines of helping people in communities across this country….” It also gives desperately needed aid to state and local governments that fund and support the work done by the nonprofit sector. Among the permissible uses is “assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries,” as well as “funding services…
It’s been a year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic and the world as we knew it was turned upside down.  For this nation’s nonprofits, the past twelve months have been an unsettling journey through repeated phases of crisis planning and crisis management. Finally, though, we can see probable light at the end of the tunnel sooner rather than later. With three separate vaccines approved for emergency use, a ramped-up production and…
Well before the pandemic crashed into our national consciousness, there were murmurs and quiet discussions about the adequacy of the annual 5% (minimum) payout rule for America’s private foundations.  By the beginning of December 2020, these conversations had emerged from the shadowy edges of philanthropy thought leadership. They became part of the call announced on Giving Tuesday – December 1, 2020 – by “a powerhouse coalition of philanthropists, foundations, and academic experts” for significant changes…
Within weeks of COVID-19 sweeping through the United States, nonprofits like Philadelphia’s SEAMAAC, an immigrant-assistance organization, had to make decisive pivots for new circumstances and challenges. Unlike the groups we featured in Part Three of this series that largely shut down on-site operations because of the pandemic restrictions, SEAMAAC was classified as an essential-services agency to provide front-line aid to the community.  “Nonprofits have had to respond to probably an unprecedented rate of change and…
The pandemic has unevenly affected the nonprofit sector.  Some organizations – food banks and health agencies, for instance – were allowed to remain open as essential services to meet surging demand. There has been continuing revenue from government, funders, and private donors but not nearly enough to meet the skyrocketing extra costs.  Many other nonprofits, though, faced an entirely different reality. The COVID-19 crisis struck quickly and brutally; there were mandatory lockdowns and, in any…
The pandemic has “inspired us to be more agile, to pivot and approach issues more innovatively, and challenged us to look at our work differently going forward.”  That was the observation of one of the respondents to a survey late last spring on how COVID-19 was affecting nonprofits. Another executive noted that “…it’s been very difficult in many ways but also very positive in adapting our culture to be more fluid, nimble, and paperless.”  …
“Covid-19 is poised to become an extinction-level event for America’s nonprofits.”  That was the alarm sounded in the earliest days of the pandemic from many quarters. The only hope for avoiding this devastating result would be massive and ongoing aid from the government and from philanthropy. We’ve written in many posts since March 2020 about the mixed record on that front.  In the first surveys, there were results showing that about “a third of nonprofits…