Thursday, December 15, 2011

'Dismal' prospects: 1 in 2 Americans are now poor or low income

Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans — nearly 1 in 2 — have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.

The latest census data depict a middle class that's shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.

"Safety net programs such as food stamps and tax credits kept poverty from rising even higher in 2010, but for many low-income families with work-related and medical expenses, they are considered too 'rich' to qualify," said Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan public policy professor who specializes in poverty.

"The reality is that prospects for the poor and the near poor are dismal," he said. "If Congress and the states make further cuts, we can expect the number of poor and low-income families to rise for the next several years."

•Study: 1 in 5 American children lives in poverty
Congressional Republicans and Democrats are sparring over legislation that would renew a Social Security payroll tax cut, part of a year-end political showdown over economic priorities that could also trim unemployment benefits, freeze federal pay and reduce entitlement spending.

Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, questioned whether some people classified as poor or low-income actually suffer material hardship. He said that while safety-net programs have helped many Americans, they have gone too far, citing poor people who live in decent-size homes, drive cars and own wide-screen TVs.

With nearly 14 million Americans unemployed, a new child welfare study finds one in five children are living in poverty. Nearly one in three live in homes where no parent works full-time year-round. NBC's Chris Jansing reports.
"There's no doubt the recession has thrown a lot of people out of work and incomes have fallen," Rector said. "As we come out of recession, it will be important that these programs promote self-sufficiency rather than dependence and encourage people to look for work."

Mayors in 29 cities say more than 1 in 4 people needing emergency food assistance did not receive it. Many middle-class Americans are dropping below the low-income threshold — roughly $45,000 for a family of four — because of pay cuts, a forced reduction of work hours or a spouse losing a job. Housing and child-care costs are consuming up to half of a family's income.

States in the South and West had the highest shares of low-income families, including Arizona, New Mexico and South Carolina, which have scaled back or eliminated aid programs for the needy. By raw numbers, such families were most numerous in California and Texas, each with more than 1 million.

The struggling Americans include Zenobia Bechtol, 18, in Austin, Texas, who earns minimum wage as a part-time pizza delivery driver. Bechtol and her 7-month-old baby were recently evicted from their bedbug-infested apartment after her boyfriend, an electrician, lost his job in the sluggish economy.

After an 18-month job search, Bechtol's boyfriend now works as a waiter and the family of three is temporarily living with her mother.

"We're paying my mom $200 a month for rent, and after diapers and formula and gas for work, we barely have enough money to spend," said Bechtol, a high school graduate who wants to go to college. "If it weren't for food stamps and other government money for families who need help, we wouldn't have been able to survive."

About 97.3 million Americans fall into a low-income category, commonly defined as those earning between 100 and 199 percent of the poverty level, based on a new supplemental measure by the Census Bureau that is designed to provide a fuller picture of poverty. Together with the 49.1 million who fall below the poverty line and are counted as poor, they number 146.4 million, or 48 percent of the U.S. population. That's up by 4 million from 2009, the earliest numbers for the newly developed poverty measure.

Read more here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New York State Cultural Data Project Orientation Sessions

This month, New York State Cultural Data Project orientation sessions are being offered in New York City and via webinar, featuring a CDP Reports Orientation for Nonprofit Leaders, including board members. Join us to learn how to put CDP to work for you!

To register, please click on the corresponding link below. If you plan to attend multiple trainings, please be sure to register for each below.

New User Orientation
We recommend a New User Orientation if your organization is new to the CDP or if you need a refresher on data entry. This training session will provide an overview of the history and goals of the New York State CDP as well as an introduction to the types of data collected. During the session, we will walk participants through the process of entering data, applying to participating funders and generating reports.

New User Orientation, Brooklyn
Irondale Ensemble Project
September 20, 2011
10:00 am

CDP Reports Orientation
If your organization has already submitted at least one Data Profile into the system, we encourage you to join us for a Reports Orientation to learn more about the 77 trend and comparison reports available to your organization, at no-cost! This training offers tips for integrating use of these reports in your financial management, planning and evaluation.

CDP Reports Orientation, Brooklyn
Irondale Ensemble Project
September 20, 2011
1:00 pm

CDP Reports Orientation for Nonprofit Leaders
Is your board interested in analyzing financial trends? Is your executive director looking to set fundraising and marketing goals? CDP reports can help your organization's board and staff make operational decisions, build the case for support and facilitate long-term planning.
This reports orientation session is designed specifically for executive directors, board members, and other nonprofit leaders and will provide participants with an overview of the reports available through the CDP and how they can be used for key decision-making within your organization.

CDP Reports for Nonprofit Leaders, Manhattan
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs
September 21, 2011
10:00 am

Join a CDP training session from your home or office ONLINE via webinar!
New User and CDP Reports Orientation Sessions are offered monthly to all CDP users. You can participate in a WEB-BASED Training Session from your office or home computer. A CDP associate will conduct the training session, during which you will be able to ask questions and learn more about the Cultural Data Project. New User Orientations take place on the first Wednesday and Reports Orientations are held on the third Thursday of every month.

New User Orientation
1st Wednesdays
10:00 am and 2:00pm

CDP Reports Orientation
3rd Thursdays
10:00 am and 2:00 pm

One day prior to the training session, you will be sent a link to connect to this training session online.
Questions? Visit or contact the New York State CDP Help Desk at or 1-888-NYSCDP-1 (1-888-697-2371).

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Meet the Candidates: The Race for Dutchess County Executive and the Value of Nonprofits Set of Oct 27th

Dutchess County Executive Candidates Forum
Thursday, October 27, 2011
5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Locust Grove


This is an opportunity to meet the candidates in the race for Dutchess County Executive and hear their perspectives on the value and impact of Nonprofits.

The Members of the Dutchess County Coalition of Nonprofits are pleased to sponsor the Dutchess County Executive Candidates Forum to continue important dialogue relative to strengthening Government and Nonprofit relationships. All Nonprofits (Board, Staff), County Residents and Public Officials are invited to hear how the candidates for Dutchess County Executive plan to address policy reforms and other measures that will strengthen the partnership between County Government and Nonprofit service providers in recognition that this partnership is integral for the delivery of services to the citizens of Dutchess County who require assistance in their lives.

Special thanks to the League of Women Voters of the Mid-Hudson Region for moderating this forum.

The Dutchess County Coalition of Nonprofits purpose in hosting this non-partisan forum is to provide an opportunity to educate the local community on the Candidates for Dutchess County Executive respective opinions and positions on various issues relevant to the local nonprofit community. The Members of the Coalition do not endorse nor oppose any specific candidate running for this office. The forum is strictly for educational purposes only.


About the Candidates for Dutchess County Executive:

Dan French grew up in a working-class family from the Bronx and was 7 years old when his family settled here in Dutchess County. French graduated from Arlington High School in 1999. Dan French and his sister were the first members of his family to attend college; he graduated from Binghamton University in 2003. After the attacks on our country on 9/11 became interested in public service and began a renewed interest in political science courses. He was elected to his first term as Beekman Town Councilman in November 2004, at the age of 23. After 5 years as the only Democrat on the Beekman Town Board, he decided to run for Town Supervisor. French was elected by a majority and is now proudly serving his town as their chief executive.

Marcus J. Molinaro (born 1975), originally from Yonkers, New York, represents District 103 in the New York State Assembly. He is a Republican. In 1994, when he was just 18, Molinaro was elected to the Tivoli Village Board of Trustees—making him the youngest person ever elected to office in the State of New York. The very next year, he became the youngest mayor in the United States. He was re-elected mayor five times and elected four times to the Dutchess County Legislature. A graduate of Dutchess Community College, Molinaro is an active member of the Tivoli Fire Department and Rescue Squad. He resides in Red Hook with his wife Christy L. Cocker, a registered nurse in the OR at Northern Dutchess Hospital. He has one daughter, Abigail Faith and a son, Jack Henry.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tell Governor Cuomo About Your Nonprofit!

Let's Tell Them About The Good Work Of Nonprofits
Submit Your Testimonial to NYCON & the Governor Today!

On August 3rd the Governor announced the formation of a task force charged with investigating executive compensation at nonprofit agencies (full announcement from Gov. Cuomo below).

NYCON is in agreement with the Governor that activities like those recently exposed in the NY Times that were the impetus to the formation of this task force, can have significant detrimental effects on the relationship between nonprofits and the public.

However, we also know that these types of activities are not solely a "nonprofit issue" and, furthermore, that there are many more positive stories than negative ones occurring in nonprofits.

We want to make sure the Governor realizes this too.

We are asking you to help us remind Governor Cuomo that nonprofits employ hard-working New Yorkers who provide much needed services in communities across our state.

Let the administration know the services you provide are essential and are delivered in an ethical, honest and efficient manner that rivals any successful for-profit company. Let's remind them, and all taxpayers, that we're delivering services at costs far below our private sector counterparts, and take on contractual obligations from the State that they would never agree to, often times to our own detriment - because we exist for our mission, not profit.

Please submit your stories here.

NYCON is creating a web page dedicated to publishing your testimonials, and we encourage you to submit your stories which will be shared online and with the Governor's press office. You can also submit your comments directly to the press office at:

Please feel free to contact our membership office if you have any questions or comments.

Thank you again for all you do and for your continued dedication to the nonprofit sector and your community.

Doug's Signature

Doug Sauer

CEO, New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Nonprofits agree to merger: really not that rare

Crain's NY Business reported about a recent nonprofit merger, calling it a rare occurence. This actually isn't the case as many nonprofits pursue mergers and collaborations, especially with increasing economic pressures.

The article reports that: In an unusual move for the nonprofit world, Creative Center: Arts in Healthcare will become a program of University Settlement.

The Creative Center: Arts in Healthcare, a small nonprofit that finds artists to work with seriously ill people, is merging with University Settlement, a New York social services agency.

Under the terms of the agreement, The Creative Center will disband as its own 501(c)3 and become a program of University Settlement. Its longtime executive director, Robin Glazer, will continue to run the program as a University Settlement employee.

Mergers are rare in the nonprofit world. Even agencies that run similar programs like to stay in control. Ms. Glazer said that University Settlement approached her about coming under its umbrella a couple of years ago in the height of the recession. Though The Creative Center—which has an operating budget of $350,000—wasn't in financial trouble, Ms. Glazer wanted more stability for her nonprofit. University Settlement has an operating budget of about $21.5 million.

“(We) came at this merger from a position of strength and collaboration, and recognized that even excellent small and scrappy nonprofits are at risk in the current environment,” she said. “We wanted to ensure that all our excellent work would continue.”

The Creative Center was founded in 1994, and serves around 20,000 people a year. Through a grant from Lance Armstrong's Livestrong Foundation, its programs are being replicated in 22 hospitals around the country. In its new home at University Settlement, Ms. Glazer expects the program to expand.

“We are thrilled to welcome this high-quality program into the University Settlement family, bringing additional skills, services and reach to our wide range of programs,” said Michael Zisser, CEO of University Settlement, in a statement.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Governor Orders Review of Executive Compensation at Nonprofits

From the Governor's Website
Albany, NY (August 3, 2011) Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that he has created a new task force to investigate the executive and administrator compensation levels at not-for-profits that receive taxpayer support from the state. The task force will be led by the New York State Inspector General Ellen Biben, Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales, the Medicaid Inspector General Jim Cox, and the Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services Benjamin Lawsky.

"Not-for-profits that provide services to the poor and the needy have a special obligation to the taxpayers that support them. Executives at these not-for-profits should be using the taxpayer dollars they receive to help New Yorkers, not to line their own pockets. This task force will do a top-to-bottom review, not only to audit current compensation levels, but also to make recommendations for future rules to ensure taxpayer dollars are used to serve and support the people of this state, not pay for excessive salaries and compensation," Governor Cuomo said.

Governor Cuomo continued, "There is a whole range of compensation levels and extremes that have existed for too long and must be reviewed. The use of taxpayer dollars must be scrutinized at every level."

The Governor's task force will determine the protocol and scope of the investigation in order to target the audit to focus on ensuring that state taxpayer dollars meant to help and protect New Yorkers, particularly the poor and indigent, are going to that purpose and are not being diverted to compensation. It will also provide recommendations for State agency policies and procedures that will ensure that taxpayer dollars are not being diverted to excessive compensation.

Commissioners from the Department of Health, the Office of Mental Health, and OPWDD will also serve on the task force.

The Governor's action follows reports of startlingly excessive salaries and compensation packages for executives at not-for-profits that depended on state Medicaid funding through the Office of People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and other State agencies.

The State's Medicaid Inspector General has the authority necessary to exclude providers from participation in the Medicaid program if it is found that they have engaged in fraudulent or abusive practices.

There are currently no state rules governing executive and administrative compensation for not-for-profits that receive state support.

According to the Department of the Budget's January 2010 preliminary analysis of not-for-profit employees contracting with the mental hygiene agencies (Office of People With Developmental Disabilities, Office of Mental Health, and Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services), there were approximately 1,926 employees with annual salaries greater than or equal to $100,000. The total value of their salaries was $324.6 million, with an average salary of $168,555.

NYCON Statement on Governor's
Review of Executive Compensation:

"NYCON supports IRS and state enforcement efforts to root out those relatively few and often large institutional nonprofits, especially in health care and higher education, where charitable resources are used for the private and personal gain of executives. Such abuses are a stain on the sector and the Governor is right, public trust is integral to the mission and work of our state's charities. The Internal Revenue Service already provides compensation guidelines as set forth in the federal tax code and we believe those guidelines should be upheld.

It needs to be emphasized, however, that these cases are very much the exception.

The vast majority of community-based nonprofit employees are doing hard and challenging work at compensation levels that are far below public employees and often the for-profit sector. It should also be noted that the phrase "taxpayer supported nonprofits" is misleading as the state government contracts to buy services from nonprofits, just as it contracts with the for-profit sector; except the nonprofit is often expected to unfairly perform at below the actual cost of doing business. Perhaps it is also time to order an extensive review of the executive compensation levels of "taxpayer supported for-profit businesses."

NYCON asks the Governor to take this opportunity to go beyond the immediate executive compensation issue and take a comprehensive look at how the state's overall regulatory and business relationship with the nonprofit sector can be improved in the interest of all concerned."

Doug Sauer, CEO, New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc.
1-800-515-5012, ext 103

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Call for CPA Board Member Nominations for Annual Award

2011 Michael H. Urbach, CPA, Community Builders Award Now Accepting Nominations
Sponsored by the New York Council of Nonprofits (NYCON) and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA)

Submission Accepted through August 22nd, 2011

In recognition of the important role, talents and leadership that a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in New York State can provide as a board member for community-based charities, NYCON and NYSSCPA are pleased to announce the 8th Annual Michael H. Urbach, CPA, Community Builders Award.

The award is named in honor of the late Michael H. Urbach, CPA, former partner of Urbach, Kahn and Werlin, former NYS Commissioner of Tax and Finance and Chair of the State Employees federated Appeal, and board leader of a number of charities.

Award Criteria & Submission

Candidates must:

  • Be a CPA in good standing and a member of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants;

  • Have served as an Officer on at least 3 different charitable 501(c)(3) community-based nonprofits with service as President/Chair at least once;

  • Have demonstrated exemplary board leadership resulting in significant and positive organizational impact including, but not limited to, financial turn-around, growth, and/or organizational re-structuring; and

  • Preference will be given to nominees whose board leadership accomplishments have been with community-based charities.

Deadline - August 22, 2011
Nominations addressing the candidate's qualifications must be received by August 22nd. Nominators are strongly encouraged to address the candidate's qualifications related to the four (4) criteria's mentioned above and to include at least three (3) letters of support from the charities who have benefited from the candidate's volunteer leadership.

Send seven (7) packets of nomination materials to:
Urbach Community Builders Award Committee
New York Council of Nonprofits
272 Broadway
Albany NY 12204

or email the packet to Melissa Currado, Executive Assistant to the CEO at

Announcement & Presentation
The 2011 award will be formally presented at the Annual Member Meeting of NYCON slated for the afternoon of October 6th at Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, New York.

The Luncheon will take place during CAMP FINANCE, a two-day retreat that provides the very best in knowledge, skill and strategy sessions for your staff and volunteer leaders.

In honor of the late Harold Mandel, a certified public accountant who worked for Urbach, Kahn & Werlin in Albany, NY and retired in West Palm Beach, FL, the 2011 Urbach Honoree has the privilege to award one (1) nonprofit executive of their choice a Camp Finance scholarship in Hal's name. In 2009, Mr. Mandel's family accepted a posthumous Michael H. Urbach, CPA Community Builders Award in his tribute.

Past Urbach Award Honorees
Edward S. Mucenski, CPA of Potsdam
Lewis "Lew" Kramer, CPA of Chappaqua
Mel Zachter, CPA of Staten Island
Eugene H. Fleishman, CPA of Poughkeepsie
Craig Sickler, CPA from Kingston
Paul Battaglia, CPA from Batavia

For More Information
visit NYCON at or contact Melissa Currado at (800) 515-5012 or

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

NYS employee fee to impact nonprofits

Read below about the recent news about a new fee per employee for employers related to NYS Unemployment Insurance borrowing. As a nonprofit, there is another alternative, which you can learn about from NYCON:

Find Out if the Unemployment Savings Program for NYCON Members through First Nonprofits Companies can Save You Money.

Why pay a tax if you don’t have to? Many NYCON Members have switched from paying the state unemployment tax rates to First Nonprofit Unemployment Savings Program saving up to 60% of their unemployment costs annually. Find out if you can too. Take NYCON's FREE upcoming Beneft Spotlight: Unemployment Savings Program on August 23rd from 10 am to 11am. REGISTER HERE

A Big Bill for Employers
The Albany Times Union reported that Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday rolled out a sweeping plan to help revitalize the state's economy, complete with an ad campaign and competitive grant program designed to spark innovation.

But businesses have a more immediate concern: The bill is coming due for New York's unemployment insurance.

Citing the need to borrow more than $3 billion from the federal government to prop up its chronically empty account, the state faces a whopping $95 million interest payment on loans for the fund due Sept. 30.

As a result, the state Department of Labor is assessing businesses up to $21.25 per employee to cover the cost. That payment is due Aug. 15.

Complaints about what businesses describe as a hidden tax were rolling in Tuesday after numerous employers received the notices and as Cuomo expounded on his plans for the economy.

"This is something that could -- depending on the number of employees -- be a pretty hefty cost in this economy," said Mike Durant, New York state director for the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

When asked about the surcharge during a news conference outlining his revitalization plans, Cuomo stressed that the bill for interest is ultimately coming from Washington, D.C.

"It's a federal decision whether or not they'll waive the interest payments. I hope that they do," he said, adding that his office was pushing the state's congressional delegation on the issue.

The hefty tab illustrates what can happen as the federal stimulus program, enacted shortly after the recession started in 2008, runs out.

The Department of Labor noted that the stimulus program provided no-interest loans to the states in 2009 and 2010, but not this year.

Read more:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sauer Named to Attorney General's Nonprofit Leadership Committee

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman recently announced that NYCON CEO Doug Sauer would be one of the prominent nonprofit leaders appointed to the Committee for Nonprofit Revitalization. The task force, composed of 29 leaders in the nonprofit sector from across New York State, is charged with presenting a series of recommendations to the Attorney General to reduce the regulatory burdens and costs on nonprofits while strengthening nonprofit accountability.

"I'm honored that Attorney General Schneiderman has asked us to bring NYCON's statewide perspective and expertise to this important collaborative effort," said Doug Sauer. "We're proud to represent 3,000 small to moderately sized member nonprofits who provide critical services in communities across New York. It's a testament to the Attorney General's initiative that he is seeking the input of these grass roots groups as he strives to help improve nonprofit efficiency, make oversight more effective and help increase the public's faith in our sector."
In addition to providing critical services to New Yorkers, nonprofits are also a driving economic force. Statewide, nonprofits employ between 17 and 18 percent of the workforce. In New York City alone nonprofits employ 500,000 people.

"For too long, New York's regulatory framework has placed unnecessary burdens on nonprofits, which are simply untenable during these challenging financial times," Attorney General Schneiderman said. "We must modernize the rules of the road so the nonprofit sector can thrive. We can be tougher on policing fraud without imposing needless burdens and costs on this vital sector of New York's economy."

Based on the key issues that the nonprofit sector has identified to the Attorney General's Office, the Leadership Committee's activities will focus on the following:

Making recommendations on how to reduce regulatory burdens and more effectively address regulatory concerns;
Developing legislative proposals to modernize New York's nonprofit laws that would eliminate outdated requirements and unnecessary burdens while strengthening accountability; and

Proposing measures to enhance board governance and effectiveness, including through new programs to recruit and train nonprofit board members.
The Leadership Committee will be staffed by the Attorney General's Charities Bureau Chief, Jason Lilien, and will be charged with completing its work by the end of this year.

Stay tuned to our emails, as NYCON will be seeking the input of all current members on its website at beginning in August.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Unions Say City Opera Offer Would Gut Chorus and Orchestra

The NY Times reported that a day before New York City Opera was to announce its first post-Lincoln Center season, the company’s unions charged on Monday that the company had made proposals for a new contract that would gut the chorus and the orchestra, and turn the “people’s opera” into a freelance outfit.

The unions released City Opera’s terms, which call for ending guaranteed weeks of work and number of members, It would eliminate vacation pay, tenure, leaves and the current health insurance plans. In addition, instrument insurance — an important perk paid for by American orchestras — would stop.

Choristers and orchestra players would be paid only by the rehearsal and performance. The proposals promise that members of the chorus and orchestra rosters would be given preference for future jobs.

“It’s devastating,” said Gail Kruvand, the chairwoman of the orchestra’s negotiating committee. “It essentially eliminates the orchestra as we know it.”

The union officials said it was too early to respond with proposals.

The company has long been living beyond its means. The general manager and artistic director, George Steel, and the board chairman, Charles Wall, have said major cuts are needed to reduce fixed costs, like those for the labor force. They decided to move the company from its longtime home, the David H. Koch Theater (formerly called the New York State Theater), as another way of saving money.

Company officials did not immediately respond to a request for a comment. However, a spokeswoman, Maggie McKeon, issued a statement saying: “In light of a challenging economic climate, New York City Opera created and is executing a very difficult, but strategic new model that reverses a decadelong trend of debilitating deficits. As negotiations continue, New York City Opera will remain acting in good faith to find the best solution for everyone involved.”

Read more here.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Cultural groups rejoice as city restores proposed cuts

Crain's New York Business reported that despite threats of deep cuts to institutions from the Metropolitan Museum to Staten Island's Botanical Gardens, nearly all of the money was restored in the city's final budget.

After yet another year of in which local cultural institutions were threatened by proposed deep budget cuts from the city, nearly all the money was restored in the final budget for this fiscal year.

The cultural institutions group—made up of all the arts groups in city-owned building ranging from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden on Staten Island—received an initial restoration of $20.5 million of its proposed $33.7 million cut. Sources say Mayor Bloomberg is going to put in an additional $10 million from discretionary funds, nearly fully restoring the CIGs funding.

Funding for the hundreds of arts institutions that are not in city-owned buildings, like the Museum of Modern Art, received a restoration of $9 million, basically erasing their proposed cut.
Arts executives had expected little restoration this year because of the city's precarious financial state. Though they were thrilled with the final numbers, they questioned why they have been forced to go through this “budget dance” every year.

“We are very grateful for the City Council and the mayor's concern and commitment to the cultural sector,” said Norma Munn, chairperson of the New York City Arts Coalition. “There were people going without pay checks over the last few months because we were having such a tough time in the sector, so every dime counts.”

The New York Public Library, which waged an aggressive campaign to keep its city funding, received a restoration of $36.7 million of its proposed $40 million cut. Library officials said the final budget would allow it to avoid layoffs and keep all libraries open at least five days a week.

“When it comes to libraries, the real winners this budget season are New Yorkers,” a spokeswoman for the library said. “Thanks to a sizable restoration from the City, all of our 90 locations across the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island will remain open.”

Friday, June 3, 2011

CITGO Fueling Good: Your Nonprofit Can Win Gas for a Year

For the 2011 Fueling Good Program, we’re focusing our support on four charitable categories: Education and Social Investment, Energy Assistance and Conservation, Environmental Protection and Restoration, and Health and Well-Being. Your organization must serve one of these interests and have 501(c)3 status to be eligible to participate. Please choose a category during registration. Thank you, and best of luck!

Get an overview of Fueling Good:

How it works:
· Starting June 1, nonprofits will be able to register at to participate in the summer program. From July 14 – August 11, local communities will begin voting at that site for charities of their choice. (The full rules/details will also be available on the site starting June 1).

· CITGO will be awarding gas to 12 nonprofits at the end of August, with more to follow in the fall.

Who is eligible?
· 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations in the 27 states where CITGO operates.

Nonprofits brace for employment hit

Crain's NY Business related that Gov. Andrew Cuomo was hailed for shaving 2.3% off the state budget. But what was good for Albany may be bad for the city—especially social service organizations, which say the ripple effect could mean the loss of more than 11,000 nonprofit jobs here.

That estimate comes from the Human Services Council of New York City, an umbrella organization of nonprofits, which calculates that a job is lost for every $35,000 in cuts. The group says Mayor Mike Bloomberg proposes $400 million in social services cuts largely because Albany requires the city to provide certain services but does not always fund them.

“The city had to make up the differences in mandated services,” said Chris Winward, senior policy analyst at the Human Services Council.

Funding for social services has actually increased $218 million statewide since last year, but that doesn't cover the growing cost of providing mandated services, a mayoral spokesman said.

The Human Services Council said most of the lost jobs would be among social workers and case managers. Because the funding is expected to be cut at the start of the city's fiscal year on July 1, many organizations have already sent out 30-day layoff notices to workers, Winward said.

Predicting job losses is more art than science. Social services advocates are dusting off their worst-case scenarios from last year as the city's budget battle kicks into the homestretch. A mayoral spokesman could not comment on the layoff prediction, saying that the city funds services but does not tell organizations how to manage their work forces. Read more here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Dutchess County Coalition of Nonprofits Presents: "Strengthening Government & Nonprofit Relationships in New York State: Lessons Learned from Deb

As State and County governments are forced to make cuts in staffing and services, our citizens and our public officials are turning increasingly to non-profit organizations to fill the gap. To do so efficiently and effectively, government and the non-profit sector must communicate and collaborate as much as possible. However, in NY State and Dutchess County, there is little or no mechanism for this two-way dialog and cooperation. This presentation will present one possible model to bring government and the non-profits together to benefit our common constituency.

Together, we are going to tackle some important issues facing our sector and hopefully gain some important insight as to how we can encourage our State and Local leaders to make a strong statement about the nonprofit sector as they have in Connecticut.

Event Details:
Date: May 13, 2011
Time: 10am-12pm
Location: Locust Grove Estate
2683 South Road
Poughkeepsie, NY
Cost: FREE

Register HERE

Who Should Attend?

All Board Members, Executive Directors, Nonprofit, Staff Members, Nonprofit Funders and Public Officials are invited to hear how this ground breaking appointment will coordinate efforts to advise Connecticut's Governor regarding policies and other measures that will benefit the state/ nonprofit partnership.There will be discussion on ways in which Dutchess County and NYS could possibly establish similar liaisons.

Thanks to a generous donation of space from Locust Grove we will be hosted at the Locust Grove Estate. See below for details.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Boston is Pushing PILOTs for Nonprofits: What Will be the Impact

Tim Delaney, President & CEO, National Council of Nonprofits, posted to Huffington Post about the recent issue of PILOTS in Boston.

As he relates: Leaders of nonprofit organizations across America were stunned by reports this week in the Boston Globe and NPR's Marketplace that the City of Boston would turn its back on the nonprofit cultural, educational, and health care institutions that have played such vital roles in making that city great.

What stunned nonprofit leaders nationwide is that Boston sent letters essentially mandating that various nonprofits make "Payments-In-Lieu-Of-Taxes" (PILOTs) to the city based on the value of their property, even though Massachusetts law -- like the law in all 50 states -- prohibits local governments from taxing nonprofit property. What in turn shocked nonprofit leaders is how Boston intends to enforce its supposedly "voluntary" PILOT program: with a Scarlet-letter campaign designed to coerce compliance with the city's demand for "voluntary" payments.

Boston has concocted an Orwellian program that uses euphemisms -- such as "PILOTs" instead of "property taxes" and "voluntary" instead of "coerced" -- apparently attempting to hide what is really happening to evade what the law prohibits. The city, knowing the courts would strike down as an illegal act any attempt to directly impose property taxes on charitable nonprofits, invented a program to coerce "voluntary" Payments-In-Lieu-Of-Taxes. But slapping on a misleading label to cover a bad act does not render it any more acceptable; a payment based on property value is still a tax.

To enforce its legally unenforceable program, Boston has threatened to paint a Scarlet letter of shame on every nonprofit that does not comply with the city's demands for payments. Such coercion to obtain what the Commonwealth's law prohibits is outrageous and threatens everyone; who's next, when Boston -- or any government -- wants something the law prohibits?

The city's program also disregards unique aspects of nonprofit law, thus putting coerced nonprofits at risk of running afoul of the Massachusetts Attorney General, who has jurisdiction to oversee that funds donated to nonprofits are used as donors intend. By demanding that nonprofits pay the city 25 percent of their property's tax value, the city is whipsawing nonprofits, putting them in a lose-lose dilemma: either undergo the city's shameful public branding, or cave in to the city's demands to pay, only to have the Massachusetts Attorney General come after the nonprofit if donors complain that they gave their money for purposes other than transfers to the city treasury.

In trying to balance its budget on the backs of people served by charities and those who donate to them, Boston has disregarded not only the law, but also fiscal reality. The recession already has stretched nonprofits too far financially as demands for their services have skyrocketed while their revenues have nosedived, with corporate contributions declining, foundation grants down, and governments delaying payments and not paying full costs on legally-binding contracts. According to the IRS, even individual giving has sagged by 20 percent. Read more here.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Dutchess County Coalition of Nonprofits Event: "Strengthening Government & Nonprofit Relationships in New York State"

As State and County governments are forced to make cuts in staffing and services, our citizens and our public officials are turning increasingly to non-profit organizations to fill the gap. To do so efficiently and effectively, government and the non-profit sector must communicate and collaborate as much as possible. However, in NY State and Dutchess County, there is little or no mechanism for this two-way dialog and cooperation. This presentation will present one possible model to bring government and the non-profits together to benefit our common constituency.

Together, we are going to tackle some important issues facing our sector and hopefully gain some important insight as to how we can encourage our State and Local leaders to make a strong statement about the nonprofit sector as they have in Connecticut.

Event Details:

May 13, 2011
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Register Now

RSVP by May 6, 2011

The Dutchess County Coalition of Nonprofits and the Locust Grove Estate are pleased to sponsor this event. Ms. Heinrich will be asked various questions about her role and the nonprofit community including:

  • What led the Governor to create such a position in his cabinet?
  • Why is it in the best interests of states, counties, communities, to be concerned about the nonprofit sector?
  • How have the current economic conditions impacted the nonprofit sector?
  • What role do nonprofits play in the delivery of services and in the economy of Connecticut?
  • In what ways can the interests of nonprofits be promoted?

Thanks to a generous donation of space from Locust Grove we will be hosted at the Locust Grove Estate. See below for details.

Light refreshments provided by Appraisal One, Inc

About Our Speaker

Deb Heinrich is a scientist by training with a PhD in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. She served as the State Representative for Madison and North Guilford prior to being appointed to this position.

As a state representative, Deb worked very closely with the nonprofit providers, advocating on their behalf in the legislature. For her work in this area, Deb has been recognized for distinction by the Connecticut Association of Nonprofits and the Connecticut Community Providers Association.

Ms. Heinrich was appointed by Governor Daniel Malloy to interact and communicate with nonprofit providers and to advise the Governor on policy reforms and other measures to benefit the partnership of state agencies and private providers.

Governor Malloy established this important position in recognition that this partnership is integral for the delivery of services to the citizens of Connecticut who require assistance in their lives. Governor Malloy stated that in closing a 20% budget deficit in his State, he is committed to finding ways to spare the most vulnerable among the State's citizens.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nonprofit Compensation: What is too much? …and who decides?

Are you tired of hearing, "That nonprofit pays its employees too much!" If every nonprofit board followed IRS guidance on setting the compensation of its key staff leaders, perhaps we wouldn’t hear that refrain as often. So board members, please do your part by embracing your role as defenders of the nonprofit sector’s right to pay its employees reasonably and fairly. Help us change the conversation from, "What compensation is excessive?" to "What compensation levels will help our organization build its capacity by hiring and retaining terrific staff?"

First, know the process for reviewing the annual compensation of the executive director. Second, be aware of the downside of NOT engaging in an annual compensation review. (Bad press, lack of donor confidence, and potentially IRS penalties….need we say more?)

Background: Under federal law, a charity may not pay more than "reasonable" compensation for services rendered. Although the Internal Revenue Code does not require charities to follow a particular process for determining the appropriate level of salary and benefits, it is clear that compensation for board members, officers, key employees (and others in a position to exercise substantial influence over the affairs of the nonprofit) should be determined by persons who are informed about what comparable nonprofits pay their employees, and who have no financial interest themselves in approving the compensation. (Source: IRS, Governance and Related Topics - 501(c)(3) Organizations 3-4 (2008)). These are the general guidelines offered by the IRS – but the IRS Form 990 offers specifics.
The IRS Form 990 asks nonprofits about the three-step process used to approve the compensation of the executive director/CEO (and certain other key employees): Did the process for determining compensation of the following persons include a (1) review and approval by independent persons, (2) comparability data, and (3) contemporaneous substantiation of the deliberation and decision?(See Section VI, Part B, line 15, of the Form 990.) Nonprofits that follow this three-step process are generally able to take advantage of what the IRS refers to as a "rebuttable presumption" that the compensation is reasonable, thereby protecting the nonprofit and the board members from sanctions that can be imposed by the IRS if it finds that the compensation was not reasonable.
Visit the National Council’s website for more information on how to measure comparability of compensation, and visit the IRS website for background on what can happen if a board fails to demonstrate it followed this 3-step rebuttable presumption process [hint: intermediate sanctions].

Demonstrating that your nonprofit has approved the compensation of the executive director/CEO in a thoughtful, deliberative process is a basic fiduciary responsibility of every nonprofit board. Here are some pointers:
  • The process of reviewing executive compensation should recur whenever there is an adjustment to the executive director/CEO’s compensation.
  • The "executive compensation review" should be conducted by persons who are "independent" (not paid by the nonprofit). Many nonprofits use a sub-committee, such as a "compensation committee" made up of board members and volunteers, or the executive committee, to conduct the initial review and then make a recommendation to the full board.
  • Having the full board approve the compensation of the executive director/CEO is consistent with being a transparent and accountable organization.
  • Documentation of what the board’s decision was based on (such as comparability data) and of the fact that the board carefully deliberated and approved the CEO’s compensation is critical. Minutes of the meeting should include enough details so that if the board’s decision is questioned, the process the board used to determine that compensation is "reasonable" will be clear.
  • "Compensation" means both salary and benefits, so if an executive director receives a salary but also other fringe benefits such as insurance, or a car or housing allowance, all those elements must be totaled together to determine the annual compensation.
There are many more resources on the National Council’s website, including a sample Policy for Review of Executive Compensation and a link to a virtual seminar on this topic presented at a symposium at Columbia Law School for state charity regulators by legal experts on executive compensation for tax-exempt organizations.

Read about additional governance policies that your nonprofit’s board should be aware of.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Nonprofits Discuss Collaboration

More than 140 people representing over 70 nonprofit organizations converged on Bethel Woods Center for the Arts for a watershed summit that organizers hope will translate into more efficient and less costly organizations.

The day-long schedule of panel discussions and group brainstorming sessions drew executive directors, board members and representatives from organizations providing services ranging from arts education to support for people with developmental disabilities.

If nothing else, they heard one clear message: that collaboration could help nonprofits not only survive but thrive amid a retreat in giving by private donors and governments that is likely to endure.

"If we're all going to survive, we have to find new ways to collaborate and work together," said Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Jonathan Rouis, who has been pushing for a summit since 2009.

Summit organizers hope the face time and brainstorming will eventually spur collaborations or resource-sharing that could prevent the duplication of services and save money.

"The goal really was to take nonprofits off their islands," said Amanda Speer, Cornell Cooperative Extension's family and youth development team coordinator and chair of the summit's organizing committee.

"Before any of the ships start sinking, how do we work together to keep each other afloat," she said.

Jonathan Drapkin, Pattern for Progress president and chief executive officer and former Gerry Foundation executive director, laid out the challenges facing nonprofits as private and public funding shrinks.

He cited Greene and Columbia counties, which share a community college, and the merger of three school districts into the Sullivan West School District as examples of successful collaborations.

"Either you try to be the masters of your own fate or you wake up and find that fate has taken its own course," said Drapkin.

Darrin Raynor, assistant executive director for New Hope Community Inc., said he attended in hopes of sharing ideas and finding out about different organizations. "The opportunity to see the other organizations and hear what they have to say is priceless," he said.

Elena Goyanes, a board member for Catskill Arts Society, said, as she ate lunch, that she was already thinking of ways she could work with some of the groups represented at the summit.

"It's stirring thoughts of how we can further reach out into the community," she said.

From the Times Herald-Record online.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Building Opportunities 2011: The Nonprofit Shared Space and Services Conference

Join us for three days of practical tools to create successful nonprofit shared space and services.

Building Opportunities 2011 is the largest event in North America dedicated to creating and managing shared nonprofit workspace, administrative services, technology, and programs. Learn from The NonprofitCenters Network's ten years of collected best practices. Join leaders from the nonprofit, philanthropic, business, and public sectors as we discuss WHAT WORKS in shared space and services.

Gather comprehensive information on:

  • Nuts and bolts of creating and operating multi-tenant nonprofit facilities
  • Proven models of success for sharing administrative services, technology, and programs
  • Commercial and nonprofit financing options
  • Cost-saving solutions for quality, efficient operations
  • Tools to evaluate and amplify the impact of your collaborative space project
  • Successful strategies for community-building, ownership and governance, and cross-sector partnerships

View the Conference Agenda

What to expect:

  • Significant networking opportunities
  • Over 20 new workshops and discussions covering diverse topics, incuding community-building and facility operations
  • Dynamic speakers from across the design, real estate, and financial sectors, as well as nonprofit sector leaders
  • New conference ambassador program to foster peer-to-peer learning
  • Thought-provoking plenaries exploring proven impact and future directions for the shared space and services movement
  • Tours of nonprofit center facilities in the Los Angeles area
  • Valuable resource materials to take home

Learn more and register today.

May 9 - 11, 2011

Center for Healthy Communities at
The California Endowment
1000 North Alameda Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012


Early Bird through April 1
NCN Members: $295
Non-Members: $495

After April 1
NCN Members: $375
Non-Members: $575

Group Discount:
10% off total amount with 2+ registrants from an organization

Fiscal Sponsorship = Sharing Tax-Exempt Status

How can a nonprofit raise money if it is not tax-exempt?
An organization that is not tax-exempt (either because it has not yet been recognized as tax-exempt by the IRS or has had its exemption revoked) can arrange with another organization that is tax-exempt to serve as its "fiscal sponsor." The role of the fiscal sponsor typically includes handling the administrative responsibilities of receiving and administering charitable contributions on behalf of the sponsored organization. (The fiscal sponsor may be paid a reasonable fee for this administrative service.)
In essence, fiscal sponsorship is a relationship in which the tax-exempt status of one organization is effectively shared with a sponsored organization/program. The sponsored organization benefits because contributions are made to the fiscal sponsor (which is tax-exempt). This allows donors to receive a deduction for their contribution, which generally smooths the way for financial support.
  • Because of the administrative responsibilities involved, it is best to memorialize fiscal sponsorship arrangements in a formal written agreement.
  • There are other reasons to consider a fiscal sponsorship relationship in addition to fundraising. Many organizations rely on their fiscal sponsor for other functions, such as bookkeeping, human resources, and various administrative roles.
Did you know?
The IRS will soon release a list of nonprofits that have had their tax-exempt status automatically revoked for failure to file 990s with the IRS for three consecutive years. If a nonprofit loses its tax-exempt status but still wants to fund its operations on a temporary basis while it reapplies for tax-exempt status with the IRS, it will need a way to continue to attract deductible contributions in order to deliver its mission in the community. Fiscal sponsorship may be one answer.
Read all about fiscal sponsorships from the Resources section on the National Council’s website: what they are, why an organization might consider using a fiscal sponsor, and what risks and advantages they provide to the nonprofit serving as a fiscal sponsor.
  • Looking for a fiscal sponsor or willing to serve as one? Search or sign up using the Fiscal Sponsor Directory. Local community foundations and State Associations may also be helpful resources for finding fiscal sponsors. Some organizations that serve as incubators/fiscal sponsors are listed on our website.
  • Stay out of trouble with this post by NonprofitLaw Blog author Gene Tagaki, Esq., that offers advice about what to avoid when engaging in fiscal sponsor relationships: Fiscal Sponsorship – Six Ways to Do it Wrong.
  • If your organization is considering becoming a fiscal sponsor, or using one, read about recommended best practices for fiscal sponsors developed by the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors.
  • Put it in writing! Suggestions for what to include in a written agreement or memorandum of understanding between a fiscal sponsor and the sponsored organization are set forth on page 5 of this monograph: On Comprehensive Fiscal Sponsorship, by Joshua Sattely, Third Sector New England (2009).
  • Debunk the myths and learn about the untapped potential of fiscal sponsorships from this report, More than Money- Fiscal Sponsorship’s Unrealized Potential, BTW Consultants, (May 2007).
  • Before you take the plunge, learn from others: The experiences of 200 fiscal sponsors are described in the Fiscal Sponsorship Field Scan, a report based on the first-ever survey of fiscal sponsors conducted by the Tides Foundation (2006).
  • More fiscal sponsorship resources from CompassPoint.
How could a nonprofit lose its tax-exempt status?
A nonprofit could lose its tax-exempt status in a number of ways.
  • Read about risky activities that – when engaged in by a nonprofit – could jeopardize tax-exemption.
  • Most tax-exempt organizations, other than churches, must file an annual return (Form 990) with the IRS – if they do not, they face automatic revocation if they fail to file annual reports for three consecutive years.
  • Check the at-risk list. The IRS website provides a state-by-state list of organizations at-risk of losing their tax-exempt status. In some states there are over 12,000 organizations (just in that state) listed!
Guidance for donors to section 501(c)(3) organizations: You may rely on the organization’s determination letter or listing in Publication 78 to deduct contributions until the IRS publishes a notice on that the organization’s 501(c)(3) exempt status has been automatically revoked.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

NYCON CEO Doug Sauer Comments on Obama’s Proposed Budget Impact

WNYC featured an article on the proposed cuts from the Federal government and how they will impact nonprofits. NYCON's CEO Doug Sauer comments:

President Barack Obama's plans for cuts to domestic spending, as part of his $3.73 trillion budget for 2012, would directly impact local nonprofits that provide an array of social services. There would be less federal money to go around, and stiffer competition for a smaller pot of funds.

The proposed budget aims to slash $300 million, or 27 percent, from Community Block Grants, which fund affordable housing programs, infrastructure improvements and economic development projects.

“Nobody likes any cuts. The world we live in, it is clear, the federal government is going to spend less, state government is going to spend less and we have to find ways to live within that,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg said the White House called him several days ago to give him advance notice about the president's budget. A mayoral spokesman said officials are also looking at the effect the president's budget would have on mass transit and education.

Bloomberg presents his budget proposal on Thursday.

The National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities were hit with more than 10 percent in cuts, leaving both with $146 million each.

"If you looked at the arts situation, added to what’s going on in New York state and what the governor proposed, government involvement in the arts and funding the arts has just been dramatically reduced, and this just kind of adds to that," said Doug Sauer of the New York Council of Nonprofits. He said the Obama budget would also make it more expensive for nonprofits to hire workers.

Arts administrators said nonprofits tend to be more reliant on their National Endowment grants as a way of building credibility with foundations and donors. Loss of those federal grants will make it tougher to get other money.

Sauer said the president's budget also cracks down on how businesses, including nonprofits, use independent contractors to fill out their workforce. “There’s an increase in the unemployment tax that you’ll have to pay, which is part of the extension of unemployment benefits," Sauer said. "And that’s hurting nonprofits or small employers just as much as it’s hurting the small businesses."

He predicted that a tighter federal budget, along with austere state and city budgets, will force some nonprofits to go out of business or to merge.

Obama’s budget includes $451 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, but House Republicans want to cut funding to CPB entirely (Note: The Corporation for Public Broadcasting contributes more than $3 million to WNYC’s annual operating funds).

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New Arts Advocacy Group Announced: ARTS NYS Coalition

Times Square Chronicles featured the following post on a new arts advocacy group:

New York City is the heartland of arts and entertainment including commercial and non-profit theatre. In fact, it is the cultural center throughout the country. However, the NY State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) is proposing the largest cuts of any State agency. It seems like a small part of the budget, .0003%, but in reality, with current economic times as they are, perhaps it represents a good portion. Without having a complete budget at hand and someone competent to explain it, I’m like most New Yorkers . . . trying to figure it all out. What is known, however, is that funding for the State Council on the Arts has been consistently reduced by nearly 30% over the past 4 years, representing the largest cut to any state agency. If we’re to continue our place as a major cultural arts center, we must have the funds necessary.

As a state, we have many attributes of which to be proud, but the arts are the soul of New York. Everyday, artists and arts groups throughout the state provide New Yorkers and the multitude of national and international visitors with pleasure, education, new ways of seeing the world, and enormous economic benefits.

Nonprofit cultural organizations in New York City are major contributors to the city’s economy. This sector is the second-largest component of the arts industry and is closely tied to the commercial sector. These organizations also share a labor pool of artists and other creative workers with the commercial sector and often develop artistic products that transfer to Broadway or is otherwise utilized commercially. A similarly complex interaction occurs between museums and commercial galleries and auction houses.

The nonprofit arts industry is labor-intensive. Half of the direct spending by all nonprofit cultural organizations goes to wages and benefits, and about 11 percent is for fees and services, including outside artistic fees. The majority of the employees are city residents, and many of the vendors and workers who supply goods and services to these institutions are located either within the city or in nearby suburban counties.

New York City is also a mecca for those who work in commercial theaters also apply their artistic talent and technical expertise in nonprofit theater and in the motion picture and television industry.

Who is ARTS NYS Coalition?They are a group of colleagues who joined together to ensure that the public has access to information on the state of the arts in New York State. Currently, the coalition includes the New York City Arts Coalition and the Arts Councils of Dutchess, Greene, Onondaga (Syracuse) and Westchester Counties, Huntington, Northern Adirondacks, Saint Lawrence and Southern Finger Lakes regions, Arts Alliances of Harlem and Buffalo, New York Folklore Society, NYS Alliance for Arts Education, and Museum Association of New York.

Thus far, the coalition has established this website,, which will be a resource for data on the arts in New York State as well as information on pending legislation at the state and federal level. This website, in partnership with Americans for the Arts, will provide contact level providing information for elected representatives and will allow individuals to send their representatives customized messages.

ARTS New York State Coalition will also plan and coordinate state-wide advocacy events for 2011 which will provide the arts community with opportunities to meet with elected officials to discuss arts funding in the 2011/12 New York State Budget as well as other issues. A designated Arts Day in Albany is scheduled for Tuesday, February 8, 2011 in addition to many arts advocacy events planned in local districts during the week of February 7 – 13, 2011. Today we have a new governor, who is facing serious budget deficits, and we need him and his administration to be aware of the extent of the past cuts and the need for thoughtful care as they develop the budget for 2012.

It is very urgent that the Governor of our state hear from those who enjoy and treasure the arts in New York State. Send your message to Gov. Andrew Cuomo today.

Lest we forget, cuts to the arts is not only state wide, but on a Federal level as well. In addition to contacting your local representatives, do the same with State Senators and Congressional reps.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Historic Huguenot Street ED Job

Historic Huguenot Street is seeking a dynamic and experienced leader for the position of Executive Director for this unique historic site. This national historic landmark is located 90 miles north of New York City in the Village of New Paltz, and is comprised of 7 stone houses and more than 50 acres. As CEO, the Executive Director will have the exciting opportunity to spearhead the achievement of the organization’s educational mission to share with the public the inspiring story of an American Community as it evolved from the 17th century to the present day. Additional information is available at

This is a career opening for an experienced and broadly-talented individual who has demonstrated success in fundraising, financial management as well as staff leadership and supervision. The successful candidate will have a proven track record of effective organizational leadership in an ever-changing environment in either the non-profit or for-profit sector. In addition s/he will provide leadership in all aspects of the museum’s operations including, but not limited to, construction and renovation, building preservation, operations, maintenance; long range planning, membership development, exhibition development, program planning, collections management and board management and development. Compensation will be competitive and commensurate with experience.

The search will be directed toward an April 1 start date but applications will be accepted until the Executive Director is selected. Application review will begin in early February. A cover letter, resume and the names, phone numbers and email addresses of three references should be submitted electronically to

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Amid cutbacks, efficiency is priority

The Poughkeepsie Journal reported on the impact of the proposed NYS budget, which includes reactions from the arts, public universities, and local cities:

Issue: Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed cutting grant funding for New York State Council on the Arts by about 10 percent, from $35.2 million to $31.6 million.

Impact: Many community arts programs in Ulster and Dutchess counties are funded with NYSCA grants, said Benjamin Krevolin, president of the Dutchess County Arts Council. The Dutchess County Arts Council under the 2010-11 state budget distributed $20,250 in NYSCA grants to arts organizations in Dutchess and the same amount to those in Ulster. The funding went to such projects as a street painting festival in Tivoli, free concerts at Locust Grove in Poughkeepsie and the Wassaic Project in Amenia, which converted a former agricultural facility into space for artists.

NYSCA funding allocated under the 2010-11 state budget and distributed by the Dutchess County Arts Council also accounted for $13,945 more in Arts in Education grants, split among Dutchess and Ulster groups, Krevolin said. The money funded a mural project in Dover Elementary School and a rock opera at Onteora High School, among other projects.

"Someone is going to get left out," Krevolin said of Cuomo's proposed funding cuts. "Someone's not going to have the opportunity to build their community, to bring in a festival or an event or a program that's going to spur economic development or improve education."

Eve Biddle, co-director of the Wassaic Project, said the $2,000 her organization received each of the past two years was used for outreach and artists honorariums.
"A small cut," she said, "can have a big effect."

Higher education
Issue: Reductions in aid to the State University and City University systems would be 10 percent. Benefits under the Tuition Assistance Program would be kept at the same levels. Proposed legislation would enable SUNY to streamline its procurement processes and establish public-private partnerships.

Impact: Donald Katt, president of Ulster County Community College, said the 10 percent cut would represent a $500,000 cut in funding to the college. The figure, he said, would compound the effects of a $1 million budget cut from the prior fiscal year.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Spending Cuts, Filing Information, and More from Nonprofit Advocacy Matters

Cuts, Cuts and more Cuts
The National Council of Nonprofits reported in their newsletter, "Nonprofit Advocacy Matters", that Spending cuts were the consistent theme throughout Washington last week as the President, during his State of the Union address Tuesday night, called for a five-year freeze in non-defense discretionary spending. Also on Tuesday, the House adopted a resolution capping spending for the current fiscal year at or below the levels provided in fiscal 2008. This limit is expected to produce budget cuts this year of $55 billion to $60 billion. In addition, the recommendations of the Republican Study Committee to cut $2.5 trillion in spending over the next 10 years were incorporated in the proposed Spending Reduction Act. Among many items, that bill would block spending for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and for national service programs. The legislation is not expected to be brought up in the House, but it does provide a roadmap for the areas that are being targeted for reductions in the future.

Federal Regulations and Job Creation
Federal regulations are frequently criticized for frustrating job creation, and the President and House Republicans are taking steps to identify key problem areas. On January 18, President Obama signed an executive order on Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review calling for "a government wide review" of federal rules and regulations to remove those "that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive." The order was accompanied by an op-ed by the President published in the Wall Street Journal. In the House, Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has created a website asking employers to identify government regulations and practices that either help or inhibit job creation. The website asks for responses to the questions: "Where does Washington help, and where does it hurt?" The National Council wants to know your ideas about particular rules or regulations that need improving.

Form 1099 Filing Requirements
There is strong momentum for repeal of the new tax-reporting requirement in the health care law that, starting in 2012, will require nonprofits and for-profit businesses to report aggregate payments to vendors in excess of $600 for goods and other property. A bill introduced last week by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE), S.18, has bipartisan support and is paid for by rescinding prior appropriations. A second proposal introduced by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), S.72, has no offsets. A House bill, H.R.4, has broad bipartisan support. President Obama expressed support for repeal of the requirement during his State of the Union address.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Don’t get burned. File the 501(h) election!

With much of America gripped by below-freezing weather this winter, it’s nice to imagine being on a sunny beach, with white sand all around, gentle island breezes playing in your hair, and nothing for miles but a cloudless blue sky.

Did you bring your sunscreen?

Reality check – whether freezing or on a beach – you still want to protect your nonprofit from getting burned.

Filing the 501(h) election protects nonprofits from being burned.
By filing one simple form, IRS Form 5768, a charitable nonprofit can protect itself from penalties for engaging in "too much" lobbying. (Charitable nonprofits can lobby; read why lobbying is legal.) A charitable nonprofit can only spend an insubstantial amount of its activities on lobbying. But there is a hazy ill-defined line between what "activities" are considered "substantial" and which are "insubstantial." Here’s where the sunscreen comes in. By filing IRS Form 5768 (also referred to as "taking the 501(h) election") instead of being judged by the uncertain “substantial part” test that evaluates undefined "activities" -- your nonprofit will have the added protection of being evaluated with a more specific test called the “expenditure” test that offers a bright line based on how much money the nonprofit spends on its lobbying activities. If you don’t take the 501(h) election, it’s li! ke guessing how long to stay in the sun before you’ll get a sun burn.

Read all about the advantages of taking the 501(h) election on the National Council’s website. (Note: Private foundations, churches, and integrated auxiliaries of churches are not permitted to file the 501(h) election.)

It’s so simple and effective that some nonprofit practitioners have called it the "cheapest and best insurance on the planet." Indeed, we wonder why more nonprofits don’t use this easy process. Once a nonprofit files the 501(h) election by completing Form 5768, it simply reports annually how much money it spent during the year on lobbying activities on Form 990, Schedule C. As long as the nonprofit’s expenditures are within the acceptable (and generous limits) established by law, the nonprofit is protected. However, if it does not file Form 5768, not only is the reporting to the IRS more detailed, but the IRS will decide, based on uncertain criteria, whether the charitable nonprofit’s lobbying activities are “substantial” or not. Because the IRS has never defined how much is “too much,” the results of this analysis are uncertain. Why not file the! 501(h) election and be sure?

Start off the New Year by protecting your nonprofit with the 501(h) election – it’s easier than putting on sunscreen. (You only have to do it once!)