Parent-Subsidiary Structures – Part I: Control and Separateness

There are a variety of reasons that a parent-subsidiary structure between a nonprofit and for-profit entity can be an attractive corporate structure whether initiated by a nonprofit or for-profit. A nonprofit may desire to move a program that would otherwise be characterized as a substantial unrelated business activity into a for-profit subsidiary in order to […]

All Bark and No Bite: What it means to govern after the “Three Cups of Tea” scandal

When the scandal broke regarding Greg Mortenson and Central Asia Institute (CAI), many assumed “governance” was a rarely uttered word, let alone practiced concept, inside the walls or boardroom of CAI. However, when the Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock (“AG”) released his 31-page Investigative Report of Mortenson and CAI in April after a one-year investigation […]

Lessons Learned from Invisible Children and Kony 2012

Although "Kony 2012" may seem like a phrase of the past, it was only a couple months ago in March that the San Diego-based nonprofit, Invisible Children, took the internet by storm when it released Kony 2012, a 30-minute video documenting Invisible Children’s efforts to stop Joseph Kony, a rebel war leader of the Lord’s Resistance […]

Should Charities Be Protected from the Claws of Fraudulent Transfer Laws? – The Nonprofit Quarterly

I recently wrote for The Nonprofit Quarterly on a bankruptcy trustee’s ability to recover charitable contributions that were made with corrupt funds obtained through a Ponzi scheme. Recovery of these contributions to charitable and religious organizations is generally achieved through a legal action commonly referred to as a clawback suit under either federal or state […]

What it means to be a “B”: B Corp v. Benefit Corporation

In recent years, as the terms “B Corp” and “benefit corporation” have been used more frequently, they have also mistakenly been used interchangeably. The confusion is in many ways understandable as B Corp and benefit corporation sound similar, help similar types of mission-motivated ventures, and are largely associated with same nonprofit organization, B Lab, which […]

Top 10 Events in 2011

Here are our top 10 events of 2011 affecting the nonprofit sector (listed in chronological order): The Arab Spring NPR fundraising scandal The Great East Japan Earthquake 275,000 organizations lose tax-exempt status Mortensen and the ‘Three Cups of Tea’ scandal  501(c)(4) gift tax examinations halted Occupy Wall Street Steve Jobs dies  Corporate Flexibility Act of […]

Nonprofit Radio: Your Nonprofit in Politics

  Last Friday, I had the pleasure of discussing the political campaign activity prohibition on public charities with Tony Martignetti on Nonprofit Radio. The recorded version is available online and can also be downloaded in iTunes. Below are some main highlights from the show and additional follow up: Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) Prohibition on Electioneering 501(c)(3) […]