Posts filed under ‘Economic Issues’

First States, Now Cities

As we’ve note before (here, here, here, and here), states are looking to nonprofits to pick up slack as the economy sputters along and government budgets are stretched further and further.

In a report from the New York Times, we learn that cities are now feeling the squeeze as well:

Boston has been sending letters to its largest nonprofit institutions this year, telling them the value of their land and asking them to begin making annual payments that would eventually rise to a quarter of what they would owe if they paid property taxes. Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel of Chicago wants the city to begin charging water fees to nonprofits, which have been spared them in the past. And the mayor of Providence, R.I., Angel Taveras, cited Boston’s example this month when he called on nonprofits to pay more money to the city.


May 14, 2011 at 7:18 PM Leave a comment

Garbage Levy Trashed

Passing on a report from the Wall Street Journal, the Chronicle of Philanthropy says the New York City Council “expressed strong opposition Thursday to a proposal by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s administration to charge charities and religious groups a fee for garbage collection.”

The city claims the levy could raise over 17 million dollars a year in revenue, but that burden would fall on “houses of worship hard-hit by the recession,” claim council members.

May 14, 2011 at 7:14 PM Leave a comment

Empire State to Ease Nonprofit Regulations

From Reuters: “New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced plans on Tuesday to reform cumbersome laws and regulations burdening the state’s charities in a bid to ease what he called a looming funding crisis.”

Schneiderman is pushing the proposal as an ameliorative measure in anticipation of “the effects of cuts at every level of government.” Anticipating that demand on nonprofits will rise, the AG is claiming the lowering charities’ overhead will leave them more funds for operations.

April 27, 2011 at 7:05 PM Leave a comment


The Nonprofit Quarterly‘s Rick Cohen reports that advocate Chuck Collins advises legislators, governors, and other politicians to step back, think for a minute, and ask themselves, “What would Jesus tax?

Collins suggests that Jesus “would be alarmed about financial and commodity speculation driving up the cost of food and worsening hunger.” He (Collins, not Jesus) [nicely clarified – ed.] proposes “sin taxes” that would “discourag(e) financial speculation and environmental destruction-while reducing the huge canyon between rich and poor.”

Nice to see that partisan clowns urging radical social change in Jesus’s name aren’t all on the right.

April 16, 2011 at 7:10 PM Leave a comment

More State Budget Woes

Cynthia Boyd of discusses the limitations of what nonprofits can do when state and federal budgets cut social services.

As we’ve note before (here, here, here, and here), this an issue that is going to be at the forefront in many states.

April 16, 2011 at 6:55 PM Leave a comment

Giving Increased in 2010

Reuters reports that amid the economic downturn, foundations upped their grants 20 percent last year:

Foundations worth up to $100 million boosted their giving to charitable causes by nearly 20 percent last year…The actual number of grants made in 2010 rose nearly 9 percent, after a 15 percent jump in 2009, found the analysis of the organizations, which gave more than $269 million in 2010.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that foundations increase their giving as need increases in difficult economic times. However, the increase wasn’t 0nly in social services and the like: Giving to the arts was up dramatically as well.

The amount of money given to arts and culture soared 67 percent in 2010 from 2009, Foundation Source said after analyzing more than 900 foundations for which it provides support services.

The report also notes that “foundations boosted the value of giving to public affairs/society benefit causes by a third.”

March 14, 2011 at 7:27 PM Leave a comment

Aloha State Charities Can’t Take Up Slack

Add Hawaii to the list of states which will have to wrestle with the roles of government and the nonprofit sector, if we can judge from Hawaii Community Foundation president Kelvin Taketa’s editorial in the Star-Advertiser:

What is clear…is that there are no sacred cows left in our federal, state and county governments’ scramble to balance their budgets. As Gov. Neil Abercrombie has put it, we will all need to sacrifice to make it work. Certainly, the conversation needs to consider what services are essential to our community and how best to deliver them, regardless of the impact on any given nonprofit organization.

Taketa goes on to point out ways in which the nonprofit sector is not well positioned to take up all the slack of slashed state budgets. For example, nonprofits tend to provide services not otherwise funded; resources to fill a sudden vacuum aren’t there.

While Hawaii residents are among the most generous in the country, charitable dollars coupled with foundation and corporate giving represents substantially less than half of the total revenue for the sector. Simply put, government action trumps generosity.

March 13, 2011 at 5:20 PM Leave a comment

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