The nation has had a tough economic year and we anticipate that the challenges will continue into 2010. In spite of these difficulties, or perhaps because of them, the philanthropic sector has responded with perseverance, strategic planning, generosity, and a ton of hard work. As you gear up for next year, it is good to remember that you do so as part of a larger community. We are, we hope, a key component of that community. We also hope that one of your New Year's resolutions will be to join us as often as possible for our programs, committees, networks, and events.
Here's one small way you can play a leadership role with us, and give a gift to your community of peers. As you know, Philanthropy New York sponsors well over 100 programs throughout the year—professional development workshops, talks by thought leaders, members briefings, and panel discussions. These programs are among our most popular offerings. Well, now you can get a two-fer that benefits other members of Philanthropy New York. If your foundation sponsors a speaker for an event that is not open to all foundations, please ask us if we could use your speaker for a similar event the same day or right before or after your own event. Members did this a few times this past year, and we have had some great events as a result. That's a gift we can all appreciate!
We wish you, your families, your colleagues, and all of our communities much happiness and joy this holiday season and throughout the new year. Thank you for all that you do.
Jennifer Jones Austin—a 41-year-old mother of two young children, and the Senior Vice President for Community Investment at United Way of New York City—has been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Her husband Shawn reports that Austin's chances of surviving are slim unless she can undergo a bone marrow transplant in the next few months. Screening sessions and at-home screening kits are being used to identify potential donors. The screening process is a simple swab to the inside of the cheek, and the donation process is as simple as giving blood. The donor gives blood from an arm; a machine separates the blood-forming cells and returns the blood to the donor through the other arm. Some donor screening sessions have been held, and others are upcoming. Potential donors can register with Be The Match by going online to http://join.marrow.org/JJA1068. By using the promotional code JJA1068, an at-home testing kit will be provided without charge.
At the behest of affiliate members and staff, Philanthropy New York's Board of Directors has approved a new pension plan provider, American Funds. The plan was chosen based on its past performance and pricing, and is available for purchase by individuals at any Philanthropy New York member organization. This plan is in addition to the plan still available to members from Diversified Investment Advisors. For more information on the American Funds plan, please contact the plan's broker, John Cunningham of Thesco Retirement Planning Services. His email is cunninghamj at thesco dot com, and his phone number is 212-603-0284.
New York State has amended its public accountancy law, which has implications for Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and Public Accountants (PAs). Some were concerned that the amended law might have an impact on retired CPAs serving on nonprofit boards. However, an interpretation of the law says that retired CPAs may serve on nonprofit boards so long as they do not provide attest or compilation services. More detail on this interpretation is available here, from the regulatory agency, the New York State Department of Education, Office of Professions.
In 2009, due to the major economic turndown of the preceding year, the Paul Rapoport Foundation announced it would seek to maximize its impact on and for the LGTB community by spending down all of its assets by 2014. The Foundation's overarching commitment is to racial and economic equality in the LGTB community. After conducting a needs assessment, the Foundation has decided to focus on three populations of low or no income: (1) transgender communities of color; (2) LGTBQ youth of color, ages 24 and under; and (3) LGTB seniors of color aged 60 and over. Complete funding guidelines are available here.
The Atlantic Philanthropies has issued its 2008 annual report, and it's the first one to be released entirely online. The report features a video introduction, grantee reports, and financial information, all with an intuitive user interface. The report is available here.
The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance has announced that it will allow nonprofit organizations more latitude in how much money they spend on fundraising and program activities, according to a story in The Chronicle of Philanthropy. The article, by Holly Hall, says that the move was prompted by the Alliance's recognition of the severe impact the recession has had on charities. Whereas previously the watchdog agency required charities that meet its standards spend at least 65 percent on programs and no more than 35 percent on fundraising expenses, now those numbers have been shifted to 55 percent and 45 percent, respectively, for the fiscal years ending in 2008 through June 2010.
The New York State Health Foundation has a broad mission to improve the health of New York State residents. Most of the Foundation's grantmaking is focused on expanding health insurance coverage, improving the management and prevention of diabetes, and encouraging the integration of substance use and mental health services. The Foundation has just announced an RFP for its Special Projects Fund, for projects that fall outside these areas but that respond to the organization's mission. For more information, visit the Foundation's website.
(View a full text, PDF version of Philanthropy New York Currents, December 2009.)