Friday, May 13, 2011

Ousted Feed the Children Founders Keep up the Fight

Remember Larry Jones?  He, along with his wife Frances, were the founders of Feed the Children.  The key word is were, as the Joneses had been ousted from their positions on the board nearly two years ago.  Although we recently reported that the legal troubles between Mr. Jones and Feed the Children have ended, it appears that is no longer the case.  In a story just published on The NonProfit Times, we have learned that Mr. and Mrs. Jones have just filed a lawsuit against the current owners of the charity, and their family.  The suit alleges they had a hand in removing them from their positions.  Here is an excerpt from the piece:

Claiming tortuous interference, defamation and civil conspiracy, the lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Oklahoma County District Court naming David Green as a chief defendant along with his sons Mart Green and Steve Green, and grandson David Tyler Green.

David Green is the founder and owner of the Fortune 500 company Hobby Lobby, a retail chain of arts and crafts stores. Mart Green is founder of Mardel, a chain of Christian bookstores.

The Joneses are seeking a cash settlement with the hope of charting a new charitable direction, said their attorney Gary Richardson. The suit seeks “more than $75,000,” which usually means the parties are seeking in the millions of dollars.

“If we could get back Feed the Children that would be fine, but I think there is already too much water under the bridge. I think what the Joneses have in mind is to start another charity focusing on feeding children,” said Richardson during a phone interview with The NonProfit Times.

Jones alleges that after being summoned to a meeting with Mart Green in July of 2009, Green wanted to “rescue,” the charity, even though Jones believed that charity did not need any kind of saving.

“During the meeting,” said Larry Jones, “Green told me that he had ‘stuff’ on me, and that after a dinner he’d organize benefiting the organization, he would present me with a plague honoring my service, and then he wanted me to simply ride off into the sunset. I then turned to him and said, ‘sorry, I’m going to have to fight you on this’.”

Very interesting stuff, indeed.  Hats off to Sam Fanburg, one of our writers here.  I heard him on the phone all day getting information for this story.  You can read the rest of the article by clicking here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Co-Habitation Leads to Savings, Collaboration

Check out the latest story posted on

Some 45 percent of nonprofit location in nonprofit centers saw an improvement in their organizations’ revenue. Similarly, 55 percent of nonprofits reported their co-location resulted in a significant improvement in quality of services to clients. About 59 percent of resident organizations found that nonprofit centers enhanced their visibility to potential funders.

These are among the results from a report prepared by The Nonprofit Centers Networks, Tides and Mt. Auburn Associates called “Measuring Collaboration: The Benefits and Impacts of Nonprofit Centers,” examining the effectiveness and community impact of nonprofits relying on nonprofit centers.

Research was conducted surveying 146 directors of nonprofit centers (63 percent response rate), a survey of tenants of 16 nonprofit centers (57 percent response rate), interviews with 15 center directors, four focus groups of center directors and five case studies.

As 23 percent of nonprofit centers have been around for more than 20 years, centers have established a norm of collaboration, imperative to the efficiency of this setting. More than half of center directors said that at least one-third of resident organizations collaborate on programs and services.

Read the rest of this story by visiting our website.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gaga Helps Robin Hood Foundation Raise $47 Million

Here's an update about that Lady Gaga collaboration with The Robin Hood Foundation we wrote about earlier:

Robin Hood Foundation’s 22nd annual gala, which featured performances from Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett and Kid Rock, hauled in more than 47 million for poverty-fighting organizations in New York City.

The $47.4 million total surpassed the $40-million goal organizers aimed for but well below last year’s record $87.8 million. The 2010 total included a matching grant from billionaire financier George Soros, who also contributed $27 million to the $73 million raised in 2009.

Costs of the annual gala are covered by Robin Hood’s 28-member board, which includes actress Gwenyth Paltrow, General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt and other titans of Wall Street. Last night’s benefit was co-chaired by Laurence Fink, co-founder and chairman of BlackRock, Inc., and real estate developer Richard LeFrak, and David Solomon, co-head of Goldman Sachs’ investment banking unit and a Robin Hood board member.

This year’s event at the Jacob Javits Convention Center sold out soon after it was announced that Lady Gaga would be performing. SCO Family of Services was the top vote-getter in a contest promoted by Lady Gaga. The organization is entitled to a grant of $1 million, distributed in $500,000 increments over two years. Four other nonprofits will receive grants over a two-year period: The Door ($200,000); Hetrick-Martin Institute ($150,000); Lawyers for Children ($100,000), and Safe Horizon ($50,000). All of the organizations focus on helping disconnected youth in New York City.

It probably shouldn't come as much as a surprise that the gala did so well, considering the star power that Lady Gaga bought to the event.  You can read the full article by clicking here.

Fear and Loathing in the Fundraising Office

Fundraising can be one of the most nerve-wracking jobs out there--at least that's what respondents to the latest AFP Quick Poll say.  The NonProfit Times just published a new story about that poll; here is an excerpt from it:

More than one-quarter (26%) of fundraising professionals are apprehensive about trying to get their boards involved in the process while 25% fear calling a perspective donor. Some 18% of fundraisers are most anxious when making an ask of a major donor, whereas 12% find writing a grant application as the most challenging aspect of the jobs.

These are among the results from the latest “Quick Poll” from the Association of Fundraising Professional (AFP) website asking fundraisers to indentify which part of the job makes them the most queasy. With information collected from 838 respondents and conducted in the months of March and early April, the poll was able to show that like most professions, fundraisers encounter tasks that fill them with anxiety on a daily basis.

Andrew Watt, FInstF, president and CEO of AFP believes that fundraisers feared talking to boards because of a boards’ unfamiliarity with fundraising in general. “Board members play an important role in fundraising because they are great spokespersons for the charity they serve and they can speak with authority on the impact of the organization,” Watt said via a prepared statement. “However, many board members focus more on the fiscal management and operations aspects of their responsibilities, and it can be challenging for fundraisers to get them involved in raising money.”
You can read the full article by visiting The NonProfit Time's website.

Reducing The Impact of Funding Cuts

While the jobs report that was released on Friday sparked optimism for the growth of the US economy, Federal and State governments are still struggling with budget crises.  Some of the budget cuts proposed on both the local and national level have targeted government grants to nonprofit organizations.  These cuts are going to be tough for nonprofits to deal with but, luckily, there are ways for them to survive.  The NonProfit Times recently posted an article with some tips on how to adapt to the funding cuts:

Consider establishing a separate finance committee that has a charter to review financial forecasts and possible variations within it. Other possibilities to consider: a conflict of interest policy will safeguard against the possibility that employees and their families might benefit from organizational decisions; a compensation committee will help to establish appropriate pay scales; and an audit committee can help increase organizational stewardship and accountability.

*Don't just budget; continually plan. One in five chief financial officers will tell you that by the time a new year begins, their budgets are already outdated; by June 30, an alarming two-thirds of CFOs admit that their budgets are obsolete. This is because they are simply budgeting, not really planning.

By using a continuous planning model, budgets and business plans continually reviewed throughout the course of the year help determine how you're faring at that point in your budget cycle and what adjustments need to be made. An effective plan answers such questions as: Where are we going?; How do we get there?; What resources are required?; What assumptions do we have about key internal and external factors impacting our business?; and, What happens if things don't turn out as assumed or planned?

*Embrace nontraditional, low-cost means of communication and staffing. Don't hesitate to use the Internet to cut your costs: non-traditional and free means of communications, such as JUMO, Twitter, and Facebook, can significantly increase public awareness and understanding of your nonprofit's cause.

While waiting for an economic turnaround, nonprofits will continue to deal with decreased federal and state funding and finding solutions to help them remain operational. For some, an increased reliance on volunteers and corporate partnerships have become a stop-gap to the human capital and fiscal crises they face. The nation's high unemployment rate -- which in December 2010 hovered at 9.4 percent -- has also been an indirect boon to some nonprofit groups, which have seen an increase in unemployed professionals volunteering their time, lending their professional prowess and keeping skills sharp while filling the needs of a local charity. Likewise, non-traditional and free means of communications, including such social media networks as Facebook and Twitter, are being used for increased public awareness and understanding of their cause.

To read the rest of the tips, visit