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Politics and the uses and abuses of nonprofits
From Nonprofit Quarterly
In January, such secular nonprofits as Public Citizen and the Center for American Progress joined with religious nonprofits like the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and the Alliance Defending Freedom to call on the Internal Revenue Services to issue guidelines giving greater clarity to what nonprofits and religious groups can do or not do in the realm of political activity.
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IRS chief: I don't want to be seen as influencing 2016
From Bloomberg
Rules from the Internal Revenue Service that would limit nonprofit groups' involvement in politics may not be enforced before the 2016 election, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. The tax agency's first attempt at those rules — released in November 2013 — flopped amid criticism from groups across the political spectrum, which complained that limits on pre-election ads and voter guides would constrain free speech. The IRS withdrew that plan in May 2014 and hasn't offered a new version.
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Congressional tax reformers take aim at donor-advised funds — what are they after?
From Inside Philanthropy
While private foundations have a minimum distribution rule, donor-advised funds (DAF) can operate without any distributions to charity for years. Some have referred to this ability as a form of tax shelter rather than a charitable vehicle. When the DAF retains funds, those funds are not benefiting needy charities. Others argue that the DAF has democratized endowed giving by making a private foundation-like philanthropic vehicle available to people of lesser means.
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Charities fear donations will drop if Boston hosts Olympics
From The Boston Globe
It's a key selling point of Boston's Olympic bid: The Games would largely be paid for by private funding, not taxpayer money. But that financing plan is sending ripples of anxiety through the city's nonprofit sector, which worries the event would soak up philanthropic dollars that might otherwise go to charity. And, in a potential double-whammy, a Boston Olympics could strain local nonprofits by putting more demands on social services, as happened in Atlanta when the Summer Games were held there in 1996.
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When scientific research can't get federal funds, private money steps in
From The Chronicle of Philanthropy
In an era of stagnant federal funding for science programs and medical research, large donors are stepping in to help. But philanthropists are doing far more than just filling in gaps in federal funding; they are tackling important work shunned by the federal government because it is too obscure, too experimental or too uncertain.
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Not all nonprofits are created equal in LePage's plan to tax them
From Bangor Daily News
Nearly a month after Gov. Paul LePage released his 2016-17 biennial budget proposal, lawmakers, lobbyists and the public are still working to understand some of the provisions it contains. One issue that continues to cause confusion is LePage's proposal to allow municipalities to collect property taxes from large nonprofit organizations, which would make Maine the first state in the nation to do so.
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MacArthur Foundation awards go to 9 nonprofits
From The Associated Press via ABC News
An Illinois prison watchdog group and a Montana organization that tracks campaign contributions in 50 states are among the nine winners of the 2015 MacArthur Foundation grants to nonprofit groups. The John Howard Association of Illinois and eight other nonprofits are receiving the MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions grants ranging from $350,000 to $1 million, the Chicago-based foundation announced.
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Are you the 'up periscope' for your nonprofit organization?
By William D. Pawlucy
The nonprofit world is seeing a downturn in volunteerism, a squeeze on its revenue streams and rising competition. How can you be the one who sees what is ahead and makes important course changes to maintain your organization's relevance? During a recent board training session, an executive director was asked about his role. His response led me to write this article. He said, "I need to be the 'up periscope' for my organization. That is my most critical role." Here are five ways to be proactive rather than reactive and be the "up periscope" for your organization.
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The Americans who gave away the most money In 2014
From Forbes
A list released by The Chronicle of Philanthropy lays out the donations made by the 50 most generous Americans in 2015. At the top of the list: Bill and Melinda Gates, who gave at least $1.5 billion worth of Microsoft stock to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust in November 2014. The trust manages the foundation's endowment. According to Gates Foundation spokeswoman Amy Enright, the foundation hasn't yet put together a total for the Gates' giving in 2014, which will be greater than $1.5 billion.
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