Friday, March 25, 2011

Oaklan Nonprofit University Gets Hit By Budget Cuts

It looks like yet another round of state budget cuts are impacting a nonprofit.  This time, it's Patten University in Oakland, CA.

According to a story in the Mercury News, the Christian university (the only traditional nonprofit college in Oakland) will be affected by a series of cuts that were supposed to be only targeted towards for-profit colleges.  However, since Patten because they have high borrowing and default rates.  Because of this, they will be subject to a new rule that denies tax-payer funded Cal Grants to schools that have 40% or more students using federal loans, and where 24.6% of borrowers default on those same loans.  The new legislation as among $14 billion in state budget cuts signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Thursday; the cuts were mainly a result in growing anger at for-profit universities that get tax-payer money yet don't help their students prepare for jobs.

Patten's president, Gary Moncher, was still very shocked that his school was going to be affected by this new rule, and he said that he and his colleagues were trying to find a way around it.  He argued that a very small number of their graduates are skewing the numbers, and that most of the students who default on their loans take classes online, which makes it hard to discourage them from doing this. 

If Patten University finds no way around this rule, there will have to be a lot of changes at the school.  For one thing, there is speculation that they will cut back on online courses, as they tend to attract students with high borrowing and default rates.  Moncher says, however, that they are going to put all of their energy in getting Patten off the list.  As he says:

"If we are knocked out of Cal Grant eligibility, that will discourage students from coming to Patten.  And obviously it would be a loss of revenue, which is bad."
Read the full story over at Mercury News.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Proposed Budget in Maryland County Would Cut Nonprofit Funding

Rushern Baker, County Executive of Prince George's County, MD, has released his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2012.  And this budget contains news that is very relevant to Maryland non profits; Baker plans to cut funding to nonprofits by one-third.  Specifically, non-profits will receive $4 million in county grants, down from $6 million in Fiscal Year 2011. 

According to Thomas Himler, the county's budget director, this proposal was made in response to the fact that certain nonprofit organizations in the county received "some rather large grants" in the last few years.  He says that the county will work with nonprofits to find federal and state grants that will help redue the impact of the cuts. 

Not surprisingly, Prince George's County nonprofits are up in arms about the grant reductions.  Jerry Adams, director of the Prince George's Human Services Coalition, said that the planned cuts will severely effect his organization.  Specifically, he says that because of the cuts:

"...we're going to have more kids in gangs, we're going to have more people showing up at food banks who go away hungry and more homeless people because the foreclosure rate is not slowing down in this county."

Adams says that he and the 100 nonprofits in his coalition will appeal the county to restore the money to its previous levels.  If there is any update to this story, we will be sure to post it here.  In the mean time, read the full story at The Washington Examiner.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Laura Walker Talks to NPTtv About Public Broadcasting Cuts

During a recession, even one that is slowly ending, governments start to do some "belt-tightening" of their budgets.  One of the unfortunate victims of this process is a favorite punching bag of government budget cuts: the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio. Laura Walker, president and CEO of NY Public Radio joined NPTtv to talk about the hard times Public Broadcasting is enduring.

Walker explained that NY Public Radio gets about 6% of its funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Despite this significant percentage, she insists that her radio stations would still “survive."  However, this doesn't mean they won't have to make some very tough decisions.  Sh said that one of the affects of the reduced funds would be to cut a lot of positions and programs.  But this is nothing compared to the consequences some stations might endure.  According to Walker, there will be some public radio stations in the country that will simply not be able to continue running because of the severity of the cuts.

And that severity is one thing that Walker has noticed during the debate on this issue that is being waged on Capitol Hill.  Although she correctly notes this is not the first time cuts have been proposed for Public Broadcasting, this is the first time there has been a proposal to simply strike all funding.  That's right, if the current proposal issued by the House of Representatives were to pass, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and all public media outlets would receive no money from the Federal Government.  She also senses stronger rhetoric from those in favor of this proposal.

Still, Walker says that their audience remains passionate and loyal to public radio, and she believes that since now more Americans experience public media these days, there will be a huge backlash against the current House proposal.

To see the full interview with Ms. Walker, check out the video in the current webcast of NPTtv.  And of course, leave us your comments on the situation.

The Red Cross Jumps on the Charlie Sheen Bandwagon

It didn't take long for the American Red Cross (ARC) to take advantage of actor Charlie Sheen's newfound popularity.  After the organization used a Twitter 'hash-tag' that was inspired by Sheen's now legendary internet rantings, ARC found itself in the middle of the entertainment train wreck.

On March 2nd, ARC posted the following tweet on its official Twitter account:

We may not collect #tigerblood, but we know our donors & volunteers have fierce passion for doing good! #RedCrossMonth


It's amazing what adding popularity can do for a simple "thank you" tweet.  Soon after the tweet hit the internet, it was re-tweeted by more than 100 people, and it became the third result when you clicked #tigerblood on Twitter trends.

Wendy Harmon, director of Social Media at ARC, did have some explaining to do, however.  Although the tweet was popular, it also caused some outrage among the community.   In fact, the original tweet was soon removed, and a blog post was put up to apologize for it.  In explaining what happened, Harmon said the organization noticed #tigerblood was trending fast on Twitter, so it was spontaneously used in that tweet (which was meant to thank blood donors).

To micro-breweries across the country, however, the apology was not needed.  They were among the organizations that re-tweeted the original message, and they even suggested to their followers that they donate to the Red Cross.  Donors heeded this message, apparently, as ARC said they saw a slight increase in their overall donations.

NPTtv Summary: Another Nonprofit Manager Gets Jail Time

Not long after Robert Jones was sentenced to prison, another nonprofit manager has been sent to the slammer.  Sheila Kitchens, former book-keeper for Covenant Counseling and Family Resource Center, was sentenced to three years in prison for computer theft and several counts of first-degree forgery.  It certainly looks like March is not a good month to be a manager at a non-profit.

There really isn't too much to say here, other than to tell you more about the crime.  It is said that Ms. Kitchens stole nearly $75,000 over three years from the Snellville, GA organization. Police also say that she doctored checks so that it appeared they never arrived between the three year period (specifically, January of 2007 through October of 209).
 
Believe it or not, there is actually some good news that has come out of this (besides a criminal going to jail, of course).  The residents of Snellville, unhappy to see a great local organization going through these hard times, worked together to donate money to help Covenant recoup the amount of money and resources it lost.

NPTtv Summary: Donors Not Coming in Droves for Japan Tsunami Relief

Yes, it's true that million of dollars have been raised for earthquake and tsunami relief in Japan, but that money is still not nearly the amount that was raised for Haiti and other recent disasters.

In the first five days after the earthquake and ensuing tsunami in Japan last week, about $25 million dollars was raised to help relief in the disaster-stricken country.  Sounds like a lot, right?  Well check this out: Nearly $228 million dollars was raised five days following the earthquake in Haiti last January. And when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, nearly $248 million was rounded up by donors.  So why is Japan getting less attention?

The director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, Patrick Rooney, thinks he has an idea of what is going on here.  Simply put, he thinks Japan may be a victim of its own success.  Japan is a very developed country with a rich population, so donors--wrongly or not--might think it doesn't need as much help as, say, Haiti. 

Rooney also believes the media coverage of the tsunami may be to blame; coverage in the aftermath of the disaster did not focus as much on individual stories, as was the case in Haiti, which may also explain the lack of money flowing in.  Whatever the case, there is still time to donate, so reach into your wallets if you haven't already!

Watch the Newest Episode of The NonProfit Times TV!

The new webcast of The NonProfit Times TV is now up! It only takes 7 minutes, so check it out when you have the chance.

In this webcast:

Donors Are Slow To Respond For Japan Relief

While million of dollars are being raised for earthquake and tsunami relief in Japan, it is just a small fraction of what was raised for Haiti and other recent disasters.

Another Nonprofit Manager Heads To Prison

It’s prison time for a nonprofit manager.

• Red Cross Tweets Have a ‘Sheen’ To Them


The charity capitalized on actor Charlie Sheen’s Internet ranting with a Twitter hashtag ‘#tigerblood,’ propelling themselves into the middle of the mess.

Full summaries of the rest of the stories will be posted soon.

Economic Recession Continues to Hit Nonprofits Hard

Three years after the beginning of the Great Recession, it is common belief that the worst of the crisis is over; tell that to nonprofits.

According to the latest study by the Nonprofit Finance Fund, 87% of nonpofits said that tough economic times still impact the way their organizations are run.  So why, if the economy is getting better, are non-profits still feelig the sting of the recession?  One reason seems to be an increasing demand for their services.  With the high unemployment rate, general poverty, and government cuts (all resulting from the recession), more people are leaning on NPOs to help them then ever before.

St. Barnabas Senior Services, a nonprofit based in Los Angeles, has witnessed a 10% increase in demand for their services in only the past year.  And things don't figure to get any easier; 85% of the organizations surveryed in the NFF study say they believe that demand for nonprofit services will only increase during 2011.  And of these organizations, only 46% believe they will have the ability to meet these demands.

Things are not all gloomy, however; mostly because of the donations made by citizens.  In another study by the Nonprofit Research Collabortive, 63% of NPOs believe contributions to their organizations will increase in 2011.  In a story by the Huffington Post (where much of this information comes from), the president of Bank of America Charitable Foundations urges people to do whatever they can to help nonprofits "keep the lights on."  This can be anything from making a donation to your favorite nonprofit, or volunteering at one.

Want to read more about this story?  Read the full article at the Huffington Post.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Nonprofit Times Launches Jobs-By-State Page

21 March, 2011—Morris Plains, NJ—The NonProfit Times, the leading publication for nonprofit organizations, has announced a new addition to its Nonprofit Job Seeker service: jobs-by state pages. These pages will allow those interested in non-profit jobs to find the latest positions in their state.

One of the states that will particularly benefit from this new service is New York. Not-for-profit positions are very popular there, especially in Manhattan. With this new addition to the Nonprofit Job Seeker, New Yorkers will now have access to the very latest non profit jobs in their area, without having to sift through listings that might not be as recent. Every time a new NY non-profit job is added to the Nonprofit Job Seeker database, the New York page will automatically be updated with the link to apply to that position. The New York nonprofit job page can be found at http://www.nonprofitjobseeker.com/findjobs/newyork-ny.php.


The Nonprofit Job Seeker is a job board service that was recently launched by The NonProfit Times to help job-seekers find the highest quality non-profit jobs, as well as to help employers find top notch job candidates. To learn more about The Nonprofit Job Seeker, visit http://www.nonprofitjobseeker.com/.

More information can be found online at http://www.nonprofitjobseeker.com/findjobs/newyork-ny.php

Nonprofits to Get Secure Vault Payment Service

Today, eWise announced plans to expand its Secure Vault Payment service to the nonprofit sector.  The announcement, made at the 48th annual AFP Conference, also mentions that FamilySearch International signed a pilot agreement with a US Bank to be the first nonprofit organization to try the service.

Secure Vault Payment is a service that allows companies to make online payments in the safest environment possible.  The use of this in the nonprofit sector will be a huge boon to organizations that are concerned about the safety of their payments.  It will also be useful for NPOs because it enables donors to make all of their online donations through any financial institution's banking site without enrolling, registering or sharing any account information with the NPO.  As such, it will be beneficial for organization's to advertise the fact that they use Secure Vault Payment service, so that donors know that their information will be secure.

More information about Secure Vault Payment service can be found at their website, http://www.ewise.com/.

Drexel Organization Gets Nonprofit Status

According to Business First: Columbus, the organization formed to help the struggling Drexel Theater in Columbus, Ohio has received nonprofit status; this comes after the organization purchased the theater.  The organization, Friends of Drexel Inc, did not not disclose financial terms of the deal but said it has hired the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA) to manage the theater and the Drexel Radio Cafe starting on Friday. 

Despite the change in management Jeff Frank, the original founder of the theater, will continue to be the on-site manager. 

Friends of Drexel Inc was formed over a year ago as the future of the famed cinema became more and more uncertain.  Drexel Theater, despite all of its nostalgic appeal, had run into stiff competition from other big movie chains in the area, as well as a string of failed management deals with the Arena Grand and South Campus Gateway.  This deal should help extend the theater's lifespan for the foreseeable future, though it does remain to be seen how big of an impact it will have on its finances.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chemung County Nonprofit Raises Money for Veterans Monument

According to a report by the Star Gazette.com, a new nonprofit organization has been created to help raise money for a Veterans Monument in Chemung County, New York.  The organization, Chemung County Veterans Monument Inc, was created late last year, but just received nonprofit status this year.  The monument itself was planned four years ago by Bohdan Pankevych, a veteran who lives in Chemung County, and the organization was created to help him fufill that goal.

Although Pankevych has an idea in mind for what the monument should look like the chairman of Chemung County Veterans Monument, Robert Williams, will not commit to that final design:

"Is this the final thing that we want? We don't really know.  There's pros and cons to the big black monument. It may be harder to see than we want it to be.
Williams also says that his organization will probably have to raise about $500,000, though just half of that will be required to build it.  He says the rest of the money is needed for perpetual upkeep and maintenance, so that it never becomes a problem for the county.  The first hurdle for the monument is to buy land for it, which will hopefully be overcome soon.

Read the full article at the Star Gazette's website.