Monthly Archives: June 2011
June 30, 2011, 3:07 pm
A Minnesota judge’s ruling on what key state programs would continue if a budget impasse forces the government to shut down omits most nonprofit contractors, leaving groups facing a sudden loss of income, Minnesota Public Radio reports.
Judge Kathleen Gearin ruled on Wednesday that “only the most critical functions of government involving the security, benefit, and protection of the people” would be financed if the governor and legislators fail to reach a deal on closing a $5-billion deficit by Friday, when Minnesota’s next two-year budget cycle begins.
While many charities do important work and provide jobs, Judge Gearin said, ordering the state to continue paying them through a shutdown would be “over-extending [the court's] authority.”
Jon Pratt, director of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, called the decision “very unfortunate” but said many organizations will …
June 30, 2011, 7:20 am
Contributions to Michigan food banks, homeless shelters, and community foundations will no longer entitle donors to state tax credits, says the Jackson Citizen Patriot.
The state’s new budget eliminates the credit, which allows individuals to get up to $100 in credits and married couples up to $200 for a year. About 269,000 Michigan taxpayers claimed the credits in 2009.
Kyle Caldwell, executive director of the Michigan Nonprofit Association, said he was disappointed that state leaders had “picked this particular route” to make budget sacrifices and predicted a decline in giving.
But Michael LaFaive, an analyst at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said he did not believe the tax break was a key motivation for shelter, food-bank, and foundation donors. “I don’t see it having a major impact on giving in the state,” he said.
Tell us what’s going on in your…
June 29, 2011, 11:14 am
Facing a multibillion-dollar budget deficit, the state of Illinois has borrowed more than $1-million this fiscal year from money state taxpayers had designated for charities, according to the Associated Press.
The $1.17-million borrowed was done at the behest of state legislators, who agreed to the plan to help close Illinois’ budget gap. A spokeswoman for the state’s Office of Management and Budget said the state is due to repay the funds, with interest, within 18 months. The state residents can designate the money on their tax forms each year.
However, officials from some of the charities that were designated as beneficiaries for the money expressed doubt about the plan.
“My concern is that the taxpayers don’t know that they’re donating to charities that don’t even get their money. It just seems really inappropriate to use charities to pull money in, and then…
June 29, 2011, 9:20 am
Massachusetts is considering a financing approach for social-service projects that would require charities and philanthropists to obtain private financing and show results before getting state money, says The Boston Globe.
Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration is examining more than two dozen proposals it has received from nonprofit groups since issuing a call for ideas on ways to adopt the “social-impact bond” approach that Britain is testing.
Investors in social projects could reap healthy returns if governments adopt and begin financing the programs but would lose their stakes if the efforts do not meet predetermined benchmarks.
“We have a new fiscal reality in state government,’’ said Jay Gonzalez, the state’s secretary of administration and finance. “We have to find a way to become more effective.’’
Read two Chronicle of Philanthropy opinion columns on the …
June 28, 2011, 2:08 pm
Planned Parenthood went to court Monday to stop Kansas from stripping its government aid, The Kansas City Star writes.
The latest legal volley in the burgeoning battle between state houses and the reproductive-health group came three days after a federal judge blocked Indiana’s effort to cut off money to Planned Parenthood clinics that provide health care to Medicaid recipients, notes The New York Times.
The lawsuit, filed Monday by Planned Parenthood of Kansas and mid-Missouri, seeks to nullify a provision in the 2012 Kansas budget, which takes effect Friday, redirecting state-administered U.S. family planning funds administered to state and local health clinics.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback defended the measure, saying, “The law currently says the plaintiff does not qualify for public subsidy because of its business practices, and Kansas taxpayers have made it clear they do not…
June 20, 2011, 10:01 pm
Nonprofits in Minnesota are now sweating out their own version of a budget showdown.
Minnesota’s state government could close if the Democratic governor, Mark Dayton, and Republican-led Legislature fail to reach a budget deal before July 1.
The two sides are so far apart that nonprofits are preparing for the worst. The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits has been holding a series of workshops across the state to give charities advice on issues like financial planning, emergency loans, and crisis communications in case their government money dries up.
The group is also pressing government officials to contain the damage.
Jon Pratt, the council’s executive director, sent a letter on Monday to a state district court judge who is considering…
June 10, 2011, 9:59 am
North Carolina could soon join a growing list of states that prohibit their governments from providing money to Planned Parenthood.
North Carolina’s law, however, would stand alone: It includes language that specifically names Planned Parenthood as its target.
The bill, which has been approved by North Carolina’s Republican-controlled Legislature, has been on the desk of Gov. Bev Perdue for days. While her aides said they did not know her immediate plans, Ms. Perdue, a Democrat, has expressed misgivings about other budget cuts in the measure that names Planned Parenthood.
“I am prepared to veto this budget if my review indeed shows what I fear—that North Carolina will move backwards under this budget plan,” she said. Still, her veto could be overridden in both chambers, which have Republican majorities.
Lawmakers this spring introduced bills to eliminate money for Planned…
June 7, 2011, 9:25 am
As Massachusetts lawmakers near passage of a measure to prohibit nonprofit groups from paying their board members, leaders of both charities and foundations are figuring out how the new restriction would apply to them.
Until recently, grant makers thought they were exempt. However, foundation officials who have been looking at the fine print, say they are paying just as much attention to the legislation as other charitable groups.
The measure arose from a proposal backed by Martha Coakley, the Massachusetts attorney general, that followed a public outcry over five-figure stipends for directors of the state’s four nonprofit health insurers, two of which voluntarily suspended board compensation.
The bill has moved swiftly in recent weeks after it was attached to the state budget bill that passed the Massachusetts Senate last month
Beth Smith, executive director of the Hyams …
June 3, 2011, 9:49 am
Community foundations have traditionally preferred to influence public policy with a light, often unseen hand. They have been happy to let the community’s more partisan voices paint their protest signs and shout out their sharp demands.
But the times may be changing, as The Chronicle noted in an article in its latest issue.
In Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Foundation sprang into action after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett proposed cutting $4-billion from state programs to close a budget shortfall.
The foundation believes too many of those budget cuts are coming from programs that help young children, disabled and elderly adults, and women who have suffered domestic violence.
As a result, it staged a protest rally in downtown Pittsburgh last month with the United Way of Allegheny County. About 300 protesters carried red signs: “Why cut what works?”
The 2011-12 state…
June 2, 2011, 10:55 am
The federal government has told Indiana that its new law barring Planned Parenthood from getting Medicaid money violates federal rules, according to the Indianapolis Star.
The Department of Health and Human Services said in a letter to state officials that states cannot choose where recipients of Medicaid receive their care, it writes.
The decision could mean Indiana will lose federal Medicaid dollars if it does not change the law, the paper writes. A spokesman for the Indiana attorney general told the Star that his office would examine its options, “but we will continue to defend the statute.”
Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, called the letter “a strong rebuke to Indiana” and serves as a warning to other states, the newspaper reported. But Sue Swayze, legislative director at Indiana Right to Life, said the Obama administration was…