Monthly Archives: August 2011
August 31, 2011, 10:49 am
County fairs in California are increasingly establishing nonprofit fund-raising arms as the state government withdraws subsidies for the events, says The Modesto Bee.
Sacramento has paid a portion of the fairs’ costs since 1937, using taxes on gambling events, but it recently redirected that revenue into the state’s general fund, except for fairs that still hold horse racing.
State officials are in the process of deciding whether it will continue to own county fairgrounds or will donate or sell the property to fair boards.
In the meantime, fairs in Calaveras, Merced, Stanislaus, and other counties have already begun to prepare for the transition by setting up fund-raising foundations to make up for lost state money.
“It’s going to sting, but it’s not going to kill us,” Chris Borovansky, chief executive of the Stanislaus County Fair, said of the state cuts. “We saw the …
August 31, 2011, 9:19 am
Mary Beckman, a former lawyer for a nonprofit Boston hospital, has been named to lead the Massachusetts state agency that regulates charities, The Boston Globe writes.
Ms. Beckman previously worked as a lawyer at Children’s Hospital in Boston, and was the state’s assistant secretary for health policy from 1999 to 2002.
She replaces David Spackman, who served four years as head of the nonprofit and public charities division of the state attorney general’s office.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said Ms. Beckman would continue the agency’s focus on health-care costs and insurance access amid a wave of mergers involving charity hospitals and controversies over executive and director pay at nonprofit insurers.
In a statement, Ms. Beckman listed “the important effort to create more transparency around issues of board and executive compensation” as an issue on…
August 26, 2011, 12:11 pm
Connecticut arts groups will face continued money woes as they look for state aid, writes the Hartford Advocate.
The fiscal 2012 budget in the state includes $1.4-million for the arts, the same total as last and down from about $4-million in 2009.
Gov. Dannel Malloy, who touted the economic benefits of arts investment during an address in Hartford last week, allocated $15-million more this year to the state’s culture and tourism office, which handles arts grants, but the extra cash is earmarked for a new promotional campaign for Connecticut.
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August 26, 2011, 12:03 pm
A new Florida law expanding corporate tax breaks for contributions to a scholarship program was drafted by the nonprofit group that offers the student aid, says The Florida Times-Union.
Step Up for Students, in Tampa, composed and submitted the bill to Republican state Rep. Mike Horner, who subsequently asked the organization to break down each provision in the measure on a “cheat sheet” so he “would not embarrass myself or you” in legislative debates, according to e-mails reviewed by the Jacksonville newspaper.
Step Up for Students pays for private-school attendance for thousands of low-income youths in northeastern Florida, and is the only organization that offers the tax-credit scholarships.
The measure signed into law in June raises the amount companies can give to the program from 75 to 100 percent of their corporate income tax liability.
An analysis the charity…
August 24, 2011, 1:34 pm
AIDS charities in Massachusetts are issuing urgent calls for contributions after learning this month that the state has lost one-quarter of its budget to prevent the disease, writes The Boston Globe.
The Centers for Disease Control is shifting resources from states with low HIV infection rates to those with high or growing rates, resulting in a $4.3-million cut in Massachusetts’s federal aid.
The new regulations require Massachusetts to move money from groups that distribute condoms, exchange needles, or advertise prevention techniques to those that conduct HIV tests in clinics and provide services for those already infected.
Charities such as Boston’s Fenway Health and Tapestry Health, which serves poor communities in western Massachusetts, are calling on supporters to step up donations and urge federal officials to rethink the policy shift, which critics say punishes states …
August 24, 2011, 12:13 pm
New Jersey’s top consumer-affairs official is revamping the agency to pursue charity scams more aggressively, according to The Record.
Thomas Calcagni was formally confirmed in late June as head of the state Division of Consumer Affairs, which oversees nonprofit groups, after leading the department in an acting capacity.
The former federal prosecutor said he has taken “seasoned investigators” off routine regulatory work and moved them into dedicated enforcement units. The moves mark a major change in approach for New Jersey, which, unlike neighboring Pennsylvania and New York, has not been known for a tough regulatory stance on nonprofit groups.
“There are specific investigations we’ve got going on the charities side,” Mr. Calcagni said, including probes of “a number of car-donation schemes, horse-rescue charities, medical-device charities.”
Tell us what’s going…
August 19, 2011, 10:47 am
New Jersey regulators have decided not to pursue a proposal to require charities to tell donors they can earmark their contributions for specific programs, an idea that had drawn strong criticism from nonprofit leaders.
Thomas R. Calcagni, director of the state Division of Consumer Affairs, which drew up the proposal, said commenters had pointed out “the cost and difficulty in implementing such a concept.” He said his agency would work with nonprofits to explore alternative ways to educate donors about their right to designate how their money is spent.
The draft plan would have required charities with at least $250,000 in annual contributions to provide forms allowing donors to specify which programs their money should pay for—and to tell them that any undesignated money could go to administrative and fund-raising costs. The proposal would have applied to telephone or written …
August 19, 2011, 9:21 am
Discretionary grants to charities doled out by Rhode Island lawmakers are coming under increasing scrutiny as the state battles budget problems, the Providence Journal says.
Senators and representatives handed out more than $1.5-million to libraries, land trusts, youth sports leagues, and other nonprofit groups out of $2.3-million allocated for such grants in Rhode Island’s new budget. The grants ranged from $250 to $100,000.
The House’s Republican minority has challenged the constitutionality of the grants in court, and some Democratic lawmakers have joined GOP colleagues in refusing to recommend grant recipients.
“In my view, the whole point of the grant program is to allow people to do things in their district to help them get reelected,” Brian C. Newberry, the House Republican leader said.
Tell us what’s going on in your state. Contact Suzanne Perry to share your …
August 18, 2011, 5:51 pm
The state of Illinois on Tuesday denied property-tax exemptions to three nonprofit hospitals, saying they did not provide sufficient charity care to warrant tax breaks, The Chicago Tribune reports.
The institutions–Decatur Memorial Hospital, Edward Hospital in Naperville, and Chicago’s Prentice Women’s Hospital–reported spending 0.96 percent to 1.85 percent of their revenue on free care in applications for tax exemptions. The state’s Department of Revenue reviews nonprofit hospitals’ tax status when the facilities expand or change ownership.
In a statement, the revenue agency said it was following the guidance of the Illinois Supreme Court, which last year upheld the rejection of another medical center’s tax break over charity care.
“The fundamental question is whether hospitals operate as businesses or as charities,” the department said.
Officials with the…