Friday, December 2, 2011

Bowling Green Raps About Big Donors

Who knew that you could make a great rap about donors?

If you are subscribed to our Instant Fundraising newsletter, you probably read about Bowling Green State University's rap tribute to the donors to its new athletic facility, The Stroh Center.  Here are some of the highlights from the rap, which proves that you can make decent rhymes in the name of philanthropy:

In the case of Miles, he “gave cash in piles/Sportin Charles Taylors, rockin’ argyles/He knows the game ya’ll, he ain’t no amateur/back in the 50s he was the student manager.”

Frack “made cash in stacks – snap – he’s given some back/2 cold million. Mad Falcon support!/He’s laying it down for the Bill Frack Court.”
If you are like me, you probably wondered what the rap sounded like.  It's one thing to read the lyrics, it's another to hear them in action.  Well luckily for you, the video was posted on YouTube.  We now present it to you in all its glory.  Enjoy!

The Second Mile Settles Lawsuit

We posted an article yesterday about a civil lawsuit filed against The Second Mile, the charity founded by former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky.  It's the first civil lawsuit filed in the Penn State child sex abuse scandal, initiated by St. Paul, Minn.-based Anderson & Associates on behalf of an alleged victim who is not one of the eight mentioned in the state Attorney General's grand jury report.  While that suit is ongoing, it was reported last night by MyFox Philly that the beleaguered charity has settled another lawsuit by an alleged victim of Sandusky.

The suit, which was filed by "Victim Four" in the grand jury report that laid out the charges against Sandusky, had sought to freeze Second Mile's assets in anticipation of a civil suit.  The settlement that was reached Thursday states that the charity must get court approval if it wants to transfer assets or shutdown.  The plaintiff also must be informed before any movement of funds.  The Second Mile has about $9 million in assets as of Aug. 2010, as we reported in our story yesterday.

You can read additional details about the settlement on MyFox Philly's website.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jacksonville Jaguars Owners Stay, To Relief Of Charities

When does the sale of a football team rock the nonprofit world?  When the owners of said football team are major philanthropic figures in the community.

If you are a fan of the NFL, you are probably aware that the Jacksonville Jaguars sold the franchise yesterday.  You might not be as aware that the owners of the team, Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver, are the most visible and active philanthropists in Jacksonville.  In an article published yesterday in The Florida Times-Union, nonprofits reacted with relief that, despite the sale, the Weavers will be staying in Jacksonville.

Words like "Thank God" were thrown around by various nonprofit executives when The Florida Times-Union approached them with the news.  And it's not just because of the money they donated ($55 million to local causes since the mid-90's) that has Florida charities thankful; the Weavers changed philanthropy in the city of Jacksonville.  The couple donated $27 million to The Community Foundation in 2007, most of which went to agencies in need, but $11 million of it was used to create endowments for 22 local nonprofits.  Until the Weaver's gift, few Jacksonville nonprofits were endowed.

It's because of stories like that why nonprofits were excited to learn the Weavers will continue to be active in Jacksonville philanthropy through the Weaver Family Foundation.  Time will tell if the new ownership of the Jaguars will be able to turn the team back into contenders.  But with all this uncertainty, at least nonprofits know that their favorite football owners are staying where they are.

Make sure to read the full article on the Weavers at The Florida Times-Union.

The Future Of National Service

As you are probably aware, the Dec. 1 issue of The NonProfit Times was just released the other day.  Included in that issue was a special report entitled "2012: The End Of The World Or Nonprofit Renaissance?"  This report features six columns by major nonprofit personalities like Adrian Sargeant of the Center on Philanthropy and Ben Duda of AmeriCorps Alums. 

Duda, who works as executive director at the organization, wrote a piece about national service and volunteerism.  And sticking with the end of the world theme, he discussed what place they have in America in the future.  He argues that they will endure as long as citizens demand that they do.

AmeriCorps was kind enough to blog about the piece he wrote for us, which we are very grateful for.  You can read the entire article in his blog post, but here's an excerpt from it to whet your appetite:

I’m not buying the “end-of-days” hype. I’m fully confident the Mayan Calendar will join the list of dubious doom predictions, alongside Harold Camping’s end of the world timing in 1994 or May 21, 2011, no, wait, Oct. 21, 2011, the hysteria of the Y2K computer failures, and those classic National Enquirer cover stories from the supermarket checkout line. But since we’re talking predictions, here’s where I think we’re going as a sector and as a country.

There’s a new wave of critics on the value of national service, as the (Mayan) calendar turns to 2012, with some in the House of Representatives advancing a zero budget going forward for AmeriCorps. That is not a very good idea. Its not very good for our country, especially for a generation of young Americans who want to serve their nation, and who will one day lead this country.

Is it the end of the world? No, although it certainly feels like a re-run of a bad sitcom. National service will endure and we’ll be thankful it does as a generation of nonprofit leaders, elected officials, and entrepreneurs ascend with a common career arc that is rooted in volunteerism and defined by national service.

More than 700,000 Americans have served in AmeriCorps since 1994. For 1,700 hours in service to the country this year, a member gets $5,550 toward loan repayment or future education. That’s a good investment in our future workforce and future leaders. Best of all, it represents a $2.01 return in essential services for every federal dollar, nearly unmatched when analyzing government spending.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gleason Gras Tackles ALS

Five years ago, Steve Gleason experienced one of the high points of his football life.

The former New Orleans Saints safety participated in one of the most dramatic moments in the NFL on September 25, 2006.  His blocked punt against the Atlanta Falcons highlighted the re-opening of the Louisiana Superdome, which had been closed since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.  Five years after that memorable game, Gleason announced that he had been diagnosed with ALS (or Lou Gehrig's disease), a fatal disease that damages the nerves that control muscle movement.  There is currently no cure, but that hasn't stopped Gleason from trying to raise awareness.

A day before the Saints' 49-24 win over the New York Giants on Monday Night Football, The Louisiana Hospitality Foundation hosted the first annual Gleason Gras, an all day festival featuring music, games, food, and other entertainment.  WWLTV covered the event, which raised $200,000.  That money will go to the Gleason Family Trust to help offset the costs of living with ALS.

Yet for Gleason, this was just the opening act.  He told WWLTV that the ultimate goal is to raise global and national awareness about ALS.  That's a big part of why he founded his own nonprofit, Team Gleason.  That organization has multiple arms, including the Gleason Initiative Foundation, which works to help other patients struggling with Lou Gherig's Disease.

History tells us that Steve Gleason will lose his battle with ALS, as many have done before him.  But maybe, just maybe, his efforts can pave the way toward a cure in the future.  To read more about Gleason Gras and Team Gleason, head on over to WWLTV.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Facts About Fundraising Staff

Cross-Posted From The Nonprofit Jobseeker

Staff turnover is a fact of life for any nonprofit manager. A very costly fact of life. This is even more of an issue when it comes to fundraising staff. Not only is the work they do very valuable, but finding a replacement can be very difficult and expensive. And to add insult to injury, the time spent finding a replacement can be a prime period for fundraising opportunities. That's why it's so important to improve the retention of your fundraisers.

The NonProfit Times attended this year's Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International Conference on Fundraising where Penelope Burk, president of Cygnus Applied Research, Inc., spoke on the topic of staff turnover. She said the key to retaining great fundraisers lies in knowing more about them. She shared some facts gathered through a survey of fundraising employees of nonprofits:
  • Why they chose a fundraising career. Most fundraisers entered the profession “accidentally” (i.e., through other work they were hired to do), rather than intentionally. Some take an opportunistic view, coming into the field as leverage to other jobs in the sector.
  • The profile of a loyal fundraiser (one who intends to stay). Key characteristics include a belief in the mission, having personal/family needs accommodated, being included/respected as an active participant in planning, creative discussion, working with a team.
  • Why fundraisers left their last position. Salary or increase in salary is always the primary reason why fundraisers left their last jobs or intend to leave the current one. Flexibility on salary plus offering benefits that fit the times is a first practical step to lengthening their tenure.

Private Donations For Public Schools

Most cities or towns have multiple public schools in their district.  So is it right for one public school to receive an influx of private donations while others don't get as much?

That is the question raised in a recent article in The Los Angeles Times.  The idea itself doesn't seem too controversial.  If a group of parents want their students to enjoy higher quality learning, why shouldn't they donate money so they can buy things like new computers?  The situation becomes fuzzier when you consider that there are schools in the same district that lack many of these same amenities.

The Times piece offers the case of the Santa Monica-Malibu United School District as the poster child for this discussion.  PTA donations add up to more than $2,100 per student at Point Dume Marine Science Elementary School in Malibu.  McKinley Elementary in Santa Monica, on the other hand, gets only an average $96 per student in donations.  Only 2% of the students at Point Dume are poor, and the school uses the money for, among other things, classroom aides, a reading program, and choral music.  About 46% of the student population at McKinley is considered poor.

The drastic difference in donations between the two schools has sparked a debate in the district, where the school board is considering some changes.  This includes creating a district-wide nonprofit that would collect donations for personnel and distribute them evenly amongst the schools.  Donations for supplies would stay with individual schools.  Under this system, half of the donations to Point Dume would be in the hands of the nonprofit.

Parents of children at wealthier schools argue that it's their money, and they should be able to do what they want with it.  But, as the article mentions, California courts have continuously ruled that there must be an equal distribution to all public schools. 

Read the full article in The Los Angeles Times, and chime in with your thoughts on the topic.  For additional reading, check out this article from NPT about public school foundations.

The NonProfit Times' Dec. 1 Issue Is Out!

Now that's Thanksgiving is over we can begin the countdown to Christmas.  Although it's not quite December yet, The NonProfit Times has an early present for everybody: The Dec. 1 issue has now been posted online!  In fact, you may have already received it in the mail.  But if you haven't, you can now have a peek at what's in the latest edition:

Special Report:
  • Pick One: Nonprofit volunteers are often put in positions where their own personal safety can be endangered or where they could pose a threat to others.  Learn how to manage these risks in this column by guest authors Ronald Taylor, Jeff Tenenbaum, and Thomas Strong.