Charities Project Updates
Charities Project Lead Counsel Lott Participates in Roundtable Discussion on Philanthropic Transparency at the Aspen Institute (May 9, 2012)
On May 10th, Senior Counsel, Cindy M. Lott participated in a roundtable discussion on Philanthropic Transparency: How Public Should Private Philanthropy Be? The roundtable discussion was be hosted by The Aspen Institute Justice And Society Program. Other panelists include: Rick Cohen National Correspondent, Nonprofit Quarterly; Jack Horak, Founder, Nonprofit Organizations Practice Area, Reid & Riege, P.C. and John Tyler, General Counsel, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Video of the discussion may be viewed here. Lead Counsel Lott's remarks begin at approximately 43:36.
Charities Lead Counsel Lott Named to National Board of the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance (Jan. 24, 2012)
Charities Regulation and Oversight Project Lead Counsel Cindy Lott has been named to the Board of Directors of the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. The Wise Giving Alliance assists donors in making informed giving decisions by producing evaluative reports on national charities and publishes a quarterly magazine, the Wise Giving Guide. Lott’s membership to the national Board is for a three-year term. The Wise giving Alliance website may be accessed at http://www.bbb.org/us/Wise-Giving/.
Charities Project Posts New Webinar Featuring Former Director of I.R.S. Exempt Organizations Division (Dec. 14, 2011)
Charities Project Lead Counsel Cindy Lott Presents at ARNOVA’s 40th Annual Conference (Nov. 19, 2011)
Charities Project Lead Counsel Cindy Lott attended and presented at the 40th annual conference of the Association for Nonprofit Resources and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), held November 17-19. ARNOVA is the premier association for the international academic community studying the nonprofit, voluntary and philanthropic sector. The title of this year’s conference was “Diversity in the Voluntary Sector: Who Are the Participants, Funders, Beneficiaries, and Volunteers?” Lott’s presentation at the annual conference follows her participation in previous invitation-only ARNOVA meetings and symposia focused on determining future charitable sector research projects to be undertaken by the academy.
NASCO 2011 Conference Focuses on Emerging Charitable Regulatory Issues (Oct. 5, 2011)
The National Association of State Charities Officials held its 2011 conference from October 2 – 4 in Silver Spring Maryland, addressing a range of emerging regulatory issues, including charities' responsibilities in the use of new technology and how regulators should respond to protect the public and charitable organizations from fraud and deception. Conference participants included state and federal regulators, private attorneys and consultants, and members of the charitable sector. Assistant State Attorneys general led a number of presentations and breakout sessions on topics including the legal implications of social media (Bob Carlson, MO), privacy (Mark Pacella, PA), international fundraising solicitation (Karin Goldman, NY), alternative corporate structures (David Spackman, KY and Elizabeth Grant, OR), board oversight (Eric Carriker, MA), the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (Terry Knowles, NH), and charities registration (Chris Cash, CO and Hugh Jones, HI), among others. View the final agenda for the 2011 conference here.
Charities Project Lead Counsel Cindy Lott Speaks at Indiana Nonprofit Capacity Building Conference (Sept. 28, 2011)
Charities Project lead counsel Cindy Lott attended the Indiana Nonprofit Capacity Building Conference on September 28, co-leading a workshop on the legal implications of charitable fundraising via social media. The Conference, held at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, is designed to assist nonprofits in their governance, administration, and delivery of services. These goals are accomplished through the discussion of issues and innovative strategies, professional networking and the recognition of outstanding nonprofit leaders. In her presentation, Lott discussed the role of states and the federal government in regulating charities, including the activities and jurisdiction of attorneys general, and introduced attendees to the primary legal issues implicated by the use of social media by charities, with a focus on fundraising. Some of the issues raised by social media fundraising and discussed in the workshop include: maintaining control over branding, privacy concerns, the potential for defamation claims, and proper management of intellectual property and proprietary information. The Indiana Attorney General’s Office, which oversees the regulation of charities in the state, served as a program partner for the conference. The Attorney General’s Charities website includes information and resources for charities, donors and professional fundraisers. View the conference website.
Charities Project Hosts Meeting and Webinar Filming on Social Mission / Hybrid Organizations (June 29, 2011)
On June 28 and 29, 2011, the Charities Law Project of the National State Attorneys General Program, led by Senior Counsel Cindy Lott, convened state regulators, academics and private attorneys for a meeting and webinar filming on the subject of social mission / hybrid organizations, a topic of increasing importance as states propose and adopt new organizational forms blending charitable and for-profit missions and methods. Attendees included attorneys from the Federal Trade Commission; state regulators from attorneys’ general and secretary of states’ offices; academics from Harvard University, George Washington University and Brooklyn Law School; and private sector affiliates who advise and represent business and nonprofit entities.
Hybrid entities, which may take many different shapes and names - including low profit liability companies (L3C), benefit corporations, and flexible purpose organizations - pose a variety of challenges to state and federal officials in the areas of charities regulation, consumer protection, taxes and business associations. The meeting supplied participants with a review of the economic and legal context for hybrid organizations, regulators’ jurisdiction over hybrids, and the policy implications of current and future state legislative activity in this area. California, which has three pending bills that would establish new hybrid forms, was examined in particular detail as a case study. Regulators then conveyed their observations and concerns, leading into a facilitated Q & A and discussion. The meeting concluded with a closed-door session for regulators only.
The webinar filming on June 29 featured several experts from the larger meeting and was designed to provide a base of information for states seeking to develop and improve their regulation of social mission / hybrid organizations. The webinar will touch on regulators’ jurisdiction over hybrid organizations; the origins, purpose and characteristics (legal or otherwise) of these entities; and issues of concern for the sector, regulators and private attorneys.
Charities Project Lead Counsel Lott Attends Meeting on Public Policy for Nonprofits (June 3, 2011)
On June 2 and 3, Charities Project Lead Counsel Cindy Lott attended an invitation-only symposium hosted by the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) in Washington, D.C. The Symposium, “Public Policy Issues in Nonprofit Financing,” was a follow-up to ARNOVA’s larger October 2010 Symposium, which produced a “Proposed Research Agenda” identifying areas of inquiry where new research is needed. The most recent Symposium took as its starting point two research priorities identified in October’s event: the need to better understand different forms of nonprofit financing and the need to better understand the effects of regulatory and tax policies. Sessions addressed the relationship between government and nonprofits at the level of funding, contracting and provision of public services, and the purpose and impact of tax exemptions for charitable organizations.
Charities Project Lead Counsel Lott and State Assistant Attorneys General Serve as Faculty in Georgetown Program on Tax Exempt Organizations (April 29, 2011)
Charities Project Lead Counsel Cindy Lott, advisory committee members Victoria Bjorklund and Marcus Owens, and state assistant attorneys general Bob Carlson (MO) and Belinda Johns (CA), served as faculty for the 28th annual Georgetown Law School Continuing Legal Education Program “Representing & Managing Tax-Exempt Organizations.” Lott, Carslon and Johns led a Friday April 29 session entitled “Anatomy of a State AG Investigation” on the purpose, authority, structure and operation of state attorney general oversight of charitable organizations. Specifically, the panel explained the process by which a state attorney general office may institute and carry out an investigation pursuant to its mandate to protect charitable assets within the state.
In addition to the session featuring Lott, Carlson and Johns, Charities Project Advisory Committee Member Marcus Owens co-led a session on “intermediate sanctions.” Advisory Committee member Victoria Bjorkland co-led a session on supporting organizations and donor advised funds. Other sessions at this year’s conference included nonprofit corporate restructuring, using affiliated entities for advocacy and politics, tax issues for churches and religious organizations, foreign charitable activities, executive compensation and many more.
New Report on Public Policy for Nonprofits Released (April 28, 2011)
The Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations & Voluntary Actions has released a report based on its October 2010 Symposium on Public Policy for Nonprofits. Cindy Lott, State AG Program Senior Counsel, attended the invitation-only meeting to discuss the contours and impact of state regulation on nonprofits. The conference convened individuals from a wide range of professional backgrounds and academic disciplines, including the heads of state nonprofit associations, university-based scholars, researchers and analysts from non-profit think tanks and national associations, and others.
Assistant Attorneys General Bob Carlson of Missouri and Kevin Wells of Arkansas Lead Webinar on Legal Issues Facing Nonprofit Organizations (April 19, 2011)
On April 19, Assistant Attorneys General Bob Carlson of Missouri and Kevin Wells of Arkansas lead a webinar on the legal risks and responsibilities of nonprofits. The webinar, hosted by the Nonprofit Technology Network and titled Legal Corner: Avoiding Trouble While Doing Good, introduces viewers to the oversight that State Attorneys General exercise over charities and charitable assets, discusses the ten legal issues attorneys general care about most, and offers guidance as to how charities can avoid regulatory pitfalls. Both AAG Carlson and AAG Wells attended The Charities Law Project's March seminar, At the Intersection of Technology: the Charitable Sector and State Regulators.
At the Intersection of Technology: the Charitable Sector and State Regulators (March 26, 2011)
Charities regulators from 35 states and American Samoa gathered on the Columbia campus for a conference entitled At the Intersection of Technology, the Charitable Sector and State Regulators. The conference was co-sponsored by the Charities Regulation and Oversight Project of the National State Attorney General Program at Columbia Law School and the National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute (NAGTRI). Webinar: Executive Compensation in the Nonprofit Sector: Issues for State Charities Regulators