Thursday, August 30, 2012

Nonprofit Reaffirms That Money Will Get To Aurora Victims

The day after families of the victims of the Aurora, Colo. movie theater shooting said in a joint press conference that they have received little of the money raised for them by two nonprofits, one of the organizations tried to reassure them by announcing that all of the money will "eventually" get to the families.

According to a report in The New York Daily News, the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance (COVA) released a statement a day following the Tuesday press conference. The statement reaffirmed that "One-hundred percent of donations made to COVA in the aftermath of the Aurora shooting are going directly to the victims."

COVA could not go into further detail, citing a court gag order on the victims' personal information. The organization did confirm, however, that they have been able to help victims and their families with airfare, rental cars, and emergency funds. So far, $5 million has been raised by the nonprofit.

At the joint news conference in Aurora, 18 family members of the victims killed during the shootings told attendees that they have only received $350,000 from COVA and the other nonprofit, the Community First Foundation (CFF).

"When you generate donations for a fund called ‘the Aurora Victim Relief Fund’ (CFF's dedicated fund for victims) using pictures and names of our murdered loved ones, it would stand to reason the fund is for victims of the Aurora shooting," said Tom Teves, whose son, Alex.

As of August 23, CFF collected approximately $5,043,701 for victim. The last date those funds were distributed was August 17, when $350,000 was given to COVA to help meet "some of the immediate financial needs of the 70 victims" who were injured in the shooting.

Twelve people were killed and 58 others wounded when alleged gunman James Holmes opened fire at a movie theater during a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises." Holmes is currently awaiting trial for 24 counts of first degree murder and 116 counts of attempted murder, possession of explosive devices, and inciting violence.

You can read the full story in The NY Daily News.

Nonprofit Leader Sentenced In Wire-Fraud Scheme

The former head of a Philadelphia nonprofit for at-risk youth was sentenced Wednesday for a wire-fraud scheme that saw him fraudulently cash checks to benefit himself and his organization.

William Mackey, who ran the City Wide Youth Leadership Academy (CWYLA), was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $142,000, according to a report in The Philadelphia Inquirer. The check-cashing occurred between 2006 and 2009, when Mackey, among other things, cashed checks that were not meant for him to obtain services for himself and CWYLA. This included a $24,000 check in 2007 that the Philadelphia School District mistakenly sent to the organization's former fiscal agent.

He must report to prison by Oct. 15.

Mackey apologized for his crimes and asked U.S. District Judge Legrome Davis to sentence him to house arrest and probation. He tearfully told the judge that he did not want to let down a 7-year old boy named Khalil, whom he watches over after his biological mother abandoned him. Judge Davis declined his request, saying "Running good programs and helping people doesn't give you authority to do whatever you want," the judge said. "If you're going to be a leader, you need to be responsible and do the right things."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Pamela, in arguing for the prison sentence, said that Mackey had "betrayed" the trust of his community and that his crimes were intentional, not the result of a lack of knowledge. Federal Defender Maranna Meehan countered that although he was a "flawed" guardian of CWYLA's finances, Mackey was a positive role model for youth in North Philadelphia, and that he did not live a life of luxury.

You can read the full story in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Settlement Reached In Law Enforcement Nonprofit Lawsuit

A settlement was reached in a lawsuit Tuesday, setting the stage for a Texas law enforcement nonprofit's assets to be liquidated.

The Austin American-Statesman reported that the lawsuit, which was first filed in December 2011, alleged that the Texas Highway Patrol Association (THPA) in Austin defrauded consumers and misused contributions. Specifically, the group was accused of illegally soliciting charitable donations, and falsely claiming that they would be used to benefit the families of fallen state troopers.

A state investigation alleged that few individuals received this assistance, and that the THPA used up to $10,000 in donations a day to buy tickets to amusement parks, movie theaters, and to pay for airfare.

After the lawsuit was filed, Travis County Probate Judge Guy Herman ordered the organizations assets frozen at $490,000. Now, as part of the settlement, the assets at THPA and a museum it operates in San Antonio will be liquidated. The proceeds from the sales will go to the family members who claimed to have never received the financial assistance they were promised.

The settlement also fines THPA up to $2 million and forbids several of the nonprofit's leaders, including former state Rep. Lane Denton (D-Waco), from being involved with nonprofit or for-profit related to law enforcement.

You can read the full story in The Austin American-Statesman.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Featured Nonprofit Job: Director Of Major Gifts

All fundraising eventually boils down to getting the biggest contributions, known as major gifts, from donors. Being in charge of this aspect of giving is important, so nonprofits are always on the look-out for candidates.

The Jewish Foundation of Greater Washington in Rockville, Md. is the latest organization looking for candidates in this field. The nonprofit is looking to hire a Director of Major Gifts to lead a team of fundraisers to raise critical dollars for multiple projects. These include humanitarian aid, community building, and social service projects. The chosen candidate will help this team of three development officers to create and implement a moves management and corporate sponsorship plan.

In order to qualify for this position, applicants should meet the following requirements:

  • Intimate knowledge of and passion for the Jewish community, its customs and practices.
  • Ability to set and evaluate metrics.
  • Ability to motivate a team to meet and exceed target goals.
  • High level of customer service.
  • Exceptional organization and communication skills (both written and oral) with proficiency in English grammar and usage.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Outlook and Excel.
  • 7-10 years of related experience with management and supervisory responsibilities.
  • MBA or Master’s level degree in a related field preferred.
You can visit The NonProfit Times' career center to find out more about this job, including instructions on how to apply.

Colorado State University Sets Fundraising Record

Colorado State University (CSU) announced Sunday that it set a fundraising record for its campaign year that ran from June 2011 to June 2012.

According to a report in The Rocky Mountain Collegian, CSU supporters donated $111.6 million during the university's latest fundraising campaign, up 31 percent from the year before. The 2011-2012 numbers signaled the end of a seven-year campaign that saw 924,000 donors give a total of $537.3 million. Sixty-eight individuals gave $1 million or more.

The money from the campaign will go directly toward scholarships and faculty development.

“We basically doubled fundraising in two years,” said Brett Anderson, vice president for university advancement, in a statement. “This puts us up there with the big, nationally-known universities.”

CSU is not the only school to put up impressive fundraising numbers. The University of Colorado system announced at the beginning of August that it raised a record-breaking $228.6 million in the 2011-2012 fiscal year. It was revealed that colleges and universities raised a collective $30 billion in charitable contributions last year, an increase of 4.8 percent from 2010. In addition, the increase in giving to top 20 schools was $1.12 billion, accounting for almost half of the increase to all schools ($2.3 billion). This information appeared in the May 1 issue of The NonProfit Times,

You can read the full story about CSU's fundraising in The Rocky Mountain Collegian.

Monday, August 27, 2012

NY State Senator Charged In Nonprofit Cover Up

State Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Queens) was charged Monday with attempting to cover up the theft of taxpayer money that was supposed to go to a nonprofit she founded.

According to a report in The New York Post, the indictment was filed in a Nassau County Court alleging that Huntley, who is running for re-election this fall, falsified business records and tampered with evidence in an attempt to mislead investigators.

Huntley was released on her own recognizance after surrendering to authorities. She has denied any wrongdoing.

The charges against Huntley came after her niece, Lynn Smith, and two others were charged with stealing $30,000 in state funds that the senator had directed to Parent Workshop in 2006. The investigation into Huntley was started by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and state Controller Thomas DiNapoli.

Huntley founded Parent Workshop in 2006, eight months before she was elected. After the initial $30,000 grant, she tried to get another $125,000 to the organization a year later.

You can read the full story in The New York Post.

Reasons To (And Not To) Have Your Volunteers Fundraise

More often than not, it's the paid staff of a nonprofit who will be responsible for asking donors for money. There are, however, very good reasons to have your volunteers involved in fundraising.

In her book "Successful Fundraising," Joan Flanagan wrote that organizations should consider dividing fundraising work between professionals and volunteers. She listed the following advantages to using volunteers as fundraisers:

  • Volunteers are free. It is a labor of love.
  • Your volunteers can come from diverse backgrounds to allow the organization to reach many different economic, professional, geographic, racial, religious, social, political, and civic networks.
  • They can work for the largest employers in your community, with hundreds or thousands of co-workers.
  • Some volunteers might have more time during the day, an ideal time to ask for money.
  • Volunteers can be more aggressive about asking for money for the staff’s salaries and benefits.
  • If volunteers raise the budget, the professionals become literally accountable to the elected leadership and constituents.
  • Asking for money is the acid test of leadership. If volunteers do the fundraising you get an accurate measure of who cares most about the organization.
This all sounds great, but Flanagan did note there are some potential problems:

  • They might hate doing it.
  • They might lack expertise about your issues.
  • Volunteers might not be dependable.
  • Control.
At the end of the day, it seems that using volunteers as fundraisers is a great idea. Just make sure to consider the negatives before making a final decision. For more information like this, visit the management tips section of our website.

Prince William County To Change Nonprofit Funding Process

Prince William County in Virginia unveiled Thursday a new process that will change the way that nonprofits receive funding.

According to a report in The Washington Post, budget director Michelle Casciato announced a process that is designed to be more transparent and make nonprofits more accountable. Organizations would have to submit their public tax returns to the county, sign a "memorandum of understanding," and file audited financial statements. To be approved for funding, its activities must directly support the goals of county departments. Finally, if a group wants to re-apply for funding, it must submit a list of goals accomplished in the previous year.

These changes come after Prince William County's funding procedures came under heavy scrutiny. After the allocation of discretionary funds to nonprofits were criticized as using taxpayer money for political gain, the practice was banned in June. And this month, the Board of County Supervisors rejected a proposal from Supervisor Peter K. Candland (R-Gainesville) that would have required board members and their spouses to reveal any involvement with nonprofits.

The funding changes announced could potentially impact organizations that have historically received funding from the county, Casciato said, so groups should not expect to be approved automatically.

“We continue to become more clear . . . in terms of what the organizations expect from us and what we expect from organizations,” she said.

You can read the full story in The Washington Post.