Sunday, June 24, 2012

U.S. Nonprofits Challenging the Federal Charity Rules to Remain In Good Standing & Rhode Island Provides the Homeless With the First State Bill of Rights

There were some big nonprofit moves covered in the news this week.  One nonprofit agency innovated and voted in new rights for the often unseen homeless American.  Yet some American places of worship and marijuana dispensaries are overtly (even provocatively) challenging the Internal Revenue Service and State Attorney Generals (who oversee nonprofit/charity organizations' behavior and reporting at the state level).  See...

In Historic Move, R.I. Nears Homeless Bill of Rights by Rick Cohen published June 22, 2012 Says, "The Rhode Island State Assembly has just passed the first Homeless Bill of Rights in the U.S."

" The purpose of the law is that, “(N)o person should suffer unnecessarily or be subject to unfair discrimination based on his or her homeless status. It is the intent of this [law]…to ameliorate the adverse effects visited upon individuals and our communities when the state’s residents lack a home.""

To read the rest of this article, click here.
As churches get political, IRS stays quiet by Nanette Burns published June 21, 2012 states that a La Mesa, California pastor will "... urge his flock to vote for or against particular candidates.

"He knows such pulpit pleading could endanger his church's tax-exempt status by violating IRS rules for a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. A charity can take a position on policy issues but cannot act "on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office." To cross that line puts the $7 million mega-church's tax break at risk.

"Even so, Garlow not only intends to break the rules, he also plans to spend the next four months recruiting other pastors to do the same as part of Pulpit Freedom Sunday. On that day each year since 2008, ministers intentionally try to provoke the IRS. ..."

"... The situation is fraught with peril for the IRS, which needs to be seen as apolitical. When it cracks down on political activities proscribed by the 501(c)(3) regulations, it is inevitably branded as partisan."

" "It will get worse unless the IRS takes action, and they seem reluctant," said Nicholas Cafardi, dean emeritus and professor of law at Duquesne University and the longtime lawyer for the Catholic diocese of Pittsburgh.""

To read the rest of this article, click here.

Dispensing Profit by Jose Mozingo published June 17, 2012 also questions the use of the nonprofit organization identification but this time the identification is being claimed by California pot dispensaries.

"...The discoveries and many others like them across California are starkly at odds with the image presented by medical marijuana providers, who label themselves as "compassionate caregivers" and say they work on slim margins, give away cannabis to the poor and comply with the law.

"But many medical marijuana dispensaries have been making huge sums of money even as they claim to be nonprofit, according to court and law enforcement records, industry insiders, police and federal agents. The Times found a cash-infused retail world unlike the one pitched to voters who passed the Compassionate Use Act for "seriously ill Californians" in 1996.

"Few would suggest that everyone in the industry is making huge profits; many dispensaries do struggle to stay afloat. Nor do the court cases capture the relief truly ill patients ascribe to high-quality marijuana they might have difficulty getting if these shops did not exist.

"One reason for the vast disparities within the medical marijuana trade is that the regulations governing it are hazy."

To read the rest of this article, click here.

Credit for For-Profit or Nonprofit Organizations That Hire U.S. Veterans

Will your nonprofit organization or for-profit business be hiring new employees soon?

The Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) To Hire Heroes Act of 2011 will provide either nonprofit or for-profit employers with a tax credit (going against the employer's share of the employee's social security tax) for any qualified veterans newly employed on or after January 1, 2013.

Only nonprofit organizations that hired a veteran employee who began work on or after November 22, 2011, and before January 1, 2013 may claim this tax credit for this earlier time period (in addition to being able to claim it for qualified new veteran employees employed after January 1, 2013, as stated).

To be clear, any new qualified employee veteran employed as of and after January 1, 2013 by either a for-profit or nonprofit entity (as defined by the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS)) can claim this tax credit.

For either for-profit or nonprofit organizations' requirements necessary in order to be able to claim this credit and more information, see the IRS's Expanded Work Opportunity Tax Credit Available for Hiring Qualified Veterans web page.

Hire a United States veteran!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Grants for Nonprofits Providing Local Workforce Development and Education

From The Foundation Center...

[If you are interested in this grant opportunity, click "Link to Complete RFP" at the end of this blog post for more information].

Deadline: July 2, 2012

Bank of America Charitable Foundation Seeks Grant Proposals From Nonprofits Addressing Local Workforce Development and Education Needs

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation is inviting U.S.-based nonprofit organizations to submit funding proposals for local programs that address the nation's high unemployment rate. The company will invest $15 million in workforce development and educational programs connecting individuals to employment success.

The funding is part of the company's three-year, $50 million commitment announced at the White House last summer to support workforce development and education initiatives leading to economic self-sufficiency through employment.

Bank of America's funding is aimed at creating impact by helping the unemployed and under served, including young people, gain the training and educational opportunities that translate into employment and post secondary success. Funding will support job-training programs such as community college access programs for middle- and high-school students, technical assistance and training for small businesses, and nonprofit programs that connect unemployed workers with available job opportunities.

Applicant organizations must have 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.

The workforce development Request for Proposals is an important component in Bank of America's intensifying focus on housing, jobs, and hunger. The company will issue an additional RFP related to hunger later this year.

For complete program information, eligibility quiz, and online application form, visit the Bank of America Web site

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Congress Today Is Considering Real Impendements To the Nonprofit Sector and If We Stop And Note Many Public Services and Institutions Are Nonprofits - These Proposals Could Effect Every American Life

The reality is that right now our nation's leadership is looking at the nonprofit sector not only as one that can do with less (or even wholly without) in the federal budget, it may be an American business sector that they turn to in order to raise new taxes - or both.

These potential broad swath impacts are not just the American nonprofit sector's issues but rather issues that potentially will effect every American life if we remember that hospitals, libraries, schools, and other basic American institutions are often nonprofit organizations.  This is big stuff that must be addressed and we must address these federal budgetary and legal proposals now.

Mark Rosenman Director of Caring To Change wrote an Opinion editorial for the Chronicle of Philanthropy June 6, 2012 called How Nonprofits Can Fight 'Taxmageddon' in which he asks us nonprofit volunteers, staff, and supporters to familiarize ourselves with what is currently going on in Congress that could on an unprecedented level introduce legislation that will not only significantly lessen how much federal funding different nonprofits causes receive (by both the Democrats and the Republicans) but it is stunning to understand that nonprofit organizations, a business entity that has operated in this nation tax free because we provide necessary services at no profit, are today facing taxation.

To quote Rosenman,

"...Our nation desperately needs nonprofit leaders to step up to help Americans understand the dangerous course lawmakers are pursuing and what it means for ordinary citizens and the organizations that try to serve them. ...

"...The stakes now are huge for charities, foundations, and communities across America. The way Congress and presidential candidates resolve the fiscal issues we face today will determine our future for years to come. Policy choices made now could sharply worsen the quality of life for the overwhelming majority of Americans. We may well find both government and nonprofits without the resources to moderate the gravely deteriorating circumstances we face as individuals and as a society. ..."

In this blog I have written twice on this same subject with the same concern and urgency that Rosenman feels and tries to impart.

Some U.S. States Considering Taxing Nonprofits To Make Up for Empty Coffers

and even more pertinent:

What Does A Nonprofit Do That's Facing Being Taxed?

To return to Rosenman's piece sourced above - not only does he report the very current issues the American citizens and communities and the nonprofit sector, as well, is facing today from he also provides suggestions (that are even legal for nonprofit or charity 501(c)(3) entities to do despite our being restricted from lobbying legally).

As I've stated in my two posts on the topic, before, and as Rosenman infers - the time is now for those of us in the nonprofit sector to: first, get current on federal budgetary issues and potentially proposed legislation; next, work together to clarify our unique sectors' value to this nation for our leadership and declare what this sector simply can and cannot do (both in fundraising and services provided); and then tell our organizations' beneficiaries, supporters, and our federal representatives what it is our sector needs... or rather, what we want to see happen in our nation's future where nonprofits (and their beneficiaries) are concerned.

This is important.  It is larger than our sector, as a whole.  What our sector does right now to act on its own behalf and speak up to our representatives may have extant and lasting effects on how much and how effectively Americans are served by our sector but, and even more ominously if they will even be able to access our organizations any longer.

Support to Promote Habitat Conservation on Private Land for Landowners Seeking to Optimize Wildlife Habitat Conservation

From The Foundation Center...

[If you are interested in this support opportunity, click "Link to Complete RFP" at the end of this post for more information]

Deadline: June 18, 2012 (Pre-proposals)

Conservation Partners Offers Support to Promote Conservation Programs to Private Landowners

Conservation Partners is a partnership between the United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and other regional/initiative-specific partners such as the Walton Family Foundation. The purpose of the program is to provide grants on a competitive basis to field biologists and other habitat conservation professionals (ecologists, foresters, range cons, etc.) working with NRCS field offices to provide technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, foresters, and other private landowners seeking to optimize wildlife habitat conservation on private lands.

Conservation Partners aims to better focus and increase the effectiveness of Farm Bill assistance funded through programs such as the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the Conservation Reserve Program, and others. In addition, Conservation Partners will consider funding capacity and outreach for organizations whose mission matches the goals of the program.

During the summer 2012 funding cycle, priority funding will be directed to proposals that target species and ecosystems of shared interest between NFWF and NRCS, including but not limited to Northwest Salmon Rivers, Northern Great Plains, California Sierras and Bay Delta, and Lesser Prairie-Chicken. In addition, grants can be awarded to any region of the country for conservation relating to the Conservation Reserve Program.

Eligible applicants include nonprofit 501(c) organizations, educational institutions, tribal governments, and state or local units of governments (e.g., state conservation agencies, counties, townships, cities, conservation districts, utility districts, drainage districts, etc.). Individuals, federal government agencies, and for-profit firms are not eligible.

Typical grant awards will range from $50,000 to $250,000. Each program priority area is expected to receive between $500,000 and $1,000,000 in funding. Projects will be funded for up to two years. A match of at least 1:1 non-federal cash or in-kind is required, but larger match ratios are encouraged.

For the complete Request for Proposals, application instructions, and archived webinars on the proposal process, visit the NFWF Web site.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

How Can A Nonprofit Streamline Its Operations While Increasing Them, Decrease Costs, and Increase Funds Raised While Doing So, Too? Here's How...

What Is A Well Run Non Profit Agency?  I'll Tell You...

Fundraising, Grant Writing, Mission-Success, Community Building; It's All the Same

Want To Spence Less On Your Non Profit's Fundraising?  Here's How...

Each and All Nonprofits Must Comply With The Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002

Here's A Handy Checklist For Nonprofit Operations and Fundraising Success...

Nonprofit Self Evaluation Leads To Efficient, Economically Trim, Effective, Increased, and Successful Fundraising and More...

Why Successes Or Having An Accomplished Track Record Is Important For Any Nonprofit To Be Able To Raise Funds

To Improve Your Nonprofit, Do What Nonprofits That Are Surviving This Economy Are Doing

Grants to Increase Health Care Access & To Include Children With Disabilities

From The Foundation Center...

[If you are interested in this grant opportunity, click "Link to Complete RFP" at the end of this blog post for more information].

Deadline: June 29, 2012 (Letter of Inquiry)

CVS Caremark Charitable Trust Offers Support for Programs to Increase Healthcare Access and Inclusion of Children With Disabilities

The CVS Caremark Charitable Trust seeks to support programs and initiatives in the areas of access to healthcare, and inclusion for children with disabilities and special healthcare needs.

1) Access to Health Care — The trust will support innovative approaches to expand access to healthcare for vulnerable populations, including support for mobile health innovations that enhance access to healthcare and bring healthcare to locations where people need it.

2) Children and Inclusion — The trust will support efforts to increase inclusive options for children with disabilities for physical activity, creativity, and play such as recreational programs, youth development programs, camps, and school-based programs, including support for physical accommodations and training of staff to allow more children with disabilities to actively participate in these programs; efforts to coordinate and improve healthcare services for children with disabilities and/or special healthcare needs, including providing a continuum of care between disciplines to provide a whole view of a child's needs (such as an occupational therapist and feeding specialist meeting with the child together) or technology needs; and efforts to increase access to and appropriate use of early intervention services for children of all abilities, including support to enhance training and education of pediatricians, parents, and others to improve services, referrals, and care.

Within these funding areas, the trust will support effective organizations through one-time grants to support capital needs (excluding bricks and mortar requests); build organizational capacity; expand or enhance an existing program with proven success; encourage innovative approaches leading to effective models; disseminate or replicate effective approaches or models; and/or leverage other resources (including other grant support, in-kind services, etc.).

To be eligible, applicants must have current tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and be recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a public charity under sections 509(a)(1) or 509(a)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code. Applicants must serve communities where CVS Caremark has a business presence. This includes organizations in the United States and Puerto Rico with the exception of Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Arkansas.

The trust will not provide funding for general operating support; support for direct healthcare services, support for staff salaries (unless staffing is needed to create or enhance a program, or increase the number of people or geographic areas served and there is a plan for sustaining salaries after the one-year grant period); fundraising events; sponsorships; scholarship programs; endowments; or capital campaigns.

Grants will range from $10,000 to $50,000 for one-year support.

Visit the CVS Caremark Web site for complete program guidelines and to submit an online Letter of Inquiry.