Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Attorney General Announces Nonprofit Report: Recommendations Guided by the Leadership Committee for Nonprofit Revitalization

New York State Attorney General Schneiderman unveiled a new plan on Thursday to reform and revitalize New York's nonprofit sector.

Announced before an audience of nonprofit and business leaders, the plan includes legislation to eliminate outdated and costly burdens on nonprofits, strengthen oversight and accountability, and reaffirm his office's commitment to policing fraud and abuse.

Acknowledging that organizations throughout New York State face historic financial and strategic challenges, the Attorney General's plan also includes several new partnerships with the business and academic communities to enhance nonprofit governance.

"New York is the proud home of the world's most dynamic and vibrant nonprofit sector, but for too long, our state's regulatory framework has placed unnecessary burdens on these essential organizations. This plan will unlock the full potential of our nonprofit community, and improve the lives of the countless New Yorkers they serve every day," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "In these difficult economic times, it is more important than ever to make New York a hospitable environment so nonprofits can continue to carry out their vital work. At the same time, we must maintain the public's trust by ensuring that nonprofits are governed effectively, and with meaningful oversight."

"NYCON applauds the Attorney General for his leadership in putting forth a positive agenda for reform of state and nonprofit relations," said Doug Sauer, NYCON CEO. "In the spirit of cooperation and partnership, we are hopeful that the AG, Comptroller, Governor and Legislature can work together to further shape and support the recommendations."

In 2011, Attorney General Schneiderman convened a Leadership Committee for Nonprofit Revitalization with 32 nonprofit leaders, including NYCON CEO Doug Sauer, to recommend proposals that would reduce regulatory burdens on nonprofits, while strengthening governance and accountability.

Today's legislative and reform initiatives are responsive to the committee's recommendations.

They include:
The Nonprofit Revitalization Act, to be proposed by the Attorney General;
"New York on BOARD" and;
"Directors U" designed to improve nonprofit governance

More Details & Full Report

Sunday, February 19, 2012

State Arts Funding: Good News! There Isn’t That Much Bad News
Posted by Justin Knabb On February - 16 - 2012 on Americans for the Arts blog.

Justin Knabb
While state legislative sessions are just getting underway in the new year, perpetual campaigning for the election is no doubt leaving everyone already feeling cranky and cynical (or is that just me?).

But take heart, advocates! Despite the cornucopia of GOP candidate positions on public arts funding—ranging anywhere from mild tolerance to total abhorrence—President Obama just proposed an increase in NEA funding!

And on the state level, while some familiar faces are making waves, several states are receiving some great surprises and proposals for steady funding:

Last month, Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) announced the launch of a $3.1 million local-level creative placemaking initiative in July. Gov. Dannel Malloy’s FY13 budget recommends eliminating all direct art support and redirecting those funds to a statewide marketing campaign that would include tourism. The state’s budget office indicates that arts organizations will be able to compete for $14 million in funding with other programs in the DECD.

The state legislature is proposing an increase to Florida Division of Cultural Affairs Cultural and Museum Grants. These grants were appropriated $2 million for the current fiscal year, and for FY13 the House and Senate are currently recommending $3,025,000 and $5,050,000, respectively.

After zeroing out the state arts commission last year, Governor Sam Brownback reversed his decision and proposed $200,000 for the upcoming fiscal year. However, these funds would be for a new Kansas Creative Industries Commission, a merger of the Kansas Arts Commission and the Kansas Film Commission, housed under the Department of Commerce.

Governor Martin O’Malley is recommending level funding for the Maryland State Arts Council (MSCAC) in FY13. Funding for MSAC has remained steady at $13.3 million for several years.

Another level funding proposal comes from Governor Deval Patrick. The governor’s FY 13 budget requests a $9.2 million appropriation for the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The agency is also requesting a $500,000 supplemental appropriation for a creative education initiative. The House will present its budget in April, with the Senate’s to follow in May.

Additional arts funding could be coming to the state after Governor Rick Snyder recently recommended a threefold increase in funding for the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. The governor’s announcement comes on the heels of ArtServe Michigan’s release of the Creative State Michigan study that documents the multi-million dollar economic impact the arts have within the state.

After receiving no general fund appropriations from the legislature last year, Governor Jay Nixon is proposing $600,000 for the state arts council. For several years, the council has had to rely on funding through its cultural trust fund, drawing it down significantly. Advocates are requesting $3 million from the legislature for the council.

Arts funding received a $2 million boost for the FY12-13 biennium thanks to a bump in Legacy Amendment funding, but future funding could be in jeopardy as the governor and legislature try to find a way to fund a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.

New Hampshire
An early House committee attempt to eliminate the Department of Cultural Resources (DCR) failed, much like last year’s. However, DCR funding must still pass the full House of Representatives, and the Senate. Also in play is an attempt to defund the state’s percent for art program. These measures will be voted on February 21.

Governor Tom Corbett is recommending just over $9 million for the state arts council, level with the current year’s funding. Last year, the council’s budget survived a House of Representatives amendment to strip 70% of its funding.

South Carolina
In her new budget, Governor Nikki Haley once again calls for eliminating funding to the South Carolina Arts Commission. The legislature overrode her veto of nearly $2 million in funding last year, and a similar battle could unfold over the next several months.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Nonprofits Push Back Against Limits On CEO Pay

Nonprofit groups pushed back during a hearing today in Albany on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposals to combat excessive pay for top executives, saying the plans would do little to root out what they insist are rare cases of abuse.

Last month, the governor issued an executive order setting a $199,000 cap on state funding for executive salaries, while also requiring that 75 percent of state dollars are spent on actual services, not administrative costs. State agencies have three months to comply with the order.

The order came after a New York Times article last August, which detailed the story of two brothers who made close to a million dollars a year as top executives of a New York nonprofit for the developmentally disabled.

But at the hearing, James Lytle, a partner at Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, which represents more than a dozen nonprofit organizations, testified before the Senate Committee on Investigations and Government Operations that it made no sense to have a one-size-fits-all limitation — a cap he argued would hurt non-profit efforts to recruit qualified executives.

“No evidence has been advanced by anyone so far that would suggest that these abuses are either widespread or particularly unpunished when they have occurred,” Lytle said.

Nonprofit representatives acknowledged that some CEOs receive extravagant pay and benefits, but said the governor’s order wouldn’t change much, since the big players would use their influence to get waivers or shift pots of money around to minimize the impact.

Doug Saur, the CEO of the New York Council of Nonprofits, said that million-dollar executives wouldn’t see any changes because the state isn’t capping salaries, just how much state money can go into those salaries.

“That’s an accounting issue,” he said. “Who’s going to get hurt are the community action programs or some of the smaller organizations that don’t raise a lot of money, that are mostly government funded, and there are no alternative sources to go and do that.”

Those testifying from the non-profit world said that setting a specific limit on the state’s contribution to executive salaries fails to take into account the multiple factors that go into determining annual pay, from the size of an organization’s budget to the complexity of its structure, to comparable salaries for similar private sector jobs.

“None of the conversation today has been about performance,” Saur said.

Some lawmakers suggested other remedies to the abuses besides the Cuomo-imposed cap. Sen. Carl Marcellino, who chairs the Investigations Committee, said another solution was to demand greater accountability from the boards of nonprofit entities, which in some cases are made up of family members or appointees of the chief executive.

“It’s been my experience with a lot of these governing boards that a lot of the membership is appointed by the CEOs of the organizations themselves,” said Marcellino. “In many cases, they’re just rubber stamps.”

Link to article:


Monday, February 6, 2012

NYCON CEO Doug Sauer Testifies at Public Hearing on Executive Compensation at Not-for-Profits

Public Hearing: To examine executive compensation at not-for-profit organizations receiving State funding and the actions needed to prevent State tax dollars from being wasted on excessive salaries
Senate Standing Committee on Investigations and Government Operations
Chair: Senator Carl L. Marcellino

NY Council of Nonprofits CEO Doug Sauer shares feedback and testimony on the Governor's Executive Order addressing Executive Compensation for Not-for-Profits. You can hear Doug's comments beginning at 49:30. Watch for more from NYCON shortly. Interested in joining the NYCON mailing list? Subscribe here.