Nonprofit Tipping Points

If not familiar with the phrase “tipping point,” perhaps it is now time to do so.  Many may have learned of the phrase thanks to Malcolm Gladwell’s 2002 book, The Tipping Point:  How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.” 

The phrase, however, is not a Gladwell original, but a
concept borrowed from economics, sociology and epidemiology.  While the concepts in each discipline play
out differently, they all end with the same result:  a seemingly small change adds up to create a
big change.  We ought to pay Read more

.02 % of Nonprofits

If I thought an equal rights amendment for nonprofit employees would have a better chance of passing than the original ERA , I’d be proposing it asap. In less than 15 minutes I was sent two articles that, in essence, slammed nonprofits for paying their employees, but especially their executive directors, “too much.”

One, a commentary on CNBC, lauded the newly passed tax bill for limiting the “excessive” pay of nonprofit executives; the other, an article from the Burlington (Vermont) Free Press, described a new bill presented Read more

January 12th, 2018 0 Comment

Enjoy Those Million-Dollar Paydays

I love good research and I love The Wall Street Journal.  But the reporting on the results of the recent research it did on salaries of nonprofit CEOs is emblematic of the problems of both much of the research about the sector, and the reporting out of that research.

The Journal’s headline read, “Charity Officials Are Increasingly Receiving Million-Dollar Paydays,”* with the subhead of “About 2,700 people had seven-figure pay packages at nonprofits in 2014, a number that was up a third in three years, newly Read more

What’s your expiration date?

Recently, at dinner following a family funeral, my son asked the assembled masses:  “When are you no longer wise beyond your years?”  While there was no consensus as to the age at which this occurs, there did seem to be agreement that at some point in life, those people you would deem to be wise re just that, regardless of their years.

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One of the characteristics of a wise person is knowing when it is time to say “enough.”  This would Read more

The Social Contract

It’s not often that I have good things to say about large health insurers, but today, I have to give Aetna its due.

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Apparently, I’m late to this party and am only now learning about Aetna’s January decision to raise the minimum wage of its lowest paid employees to $16/hour.  So, yes, Aetna jumped on a bandwagon—and then surpassed it.  It saw and raised other major corporations that have been announcing since the end of last year that they would be increasing their Read more

The Great Financial Divide

So many in the nonprofit sector toil to bridge the ever widening chasm that divides the rich as they get richer and the middle and lower classes as they get poorer.  We work to level the playing fields for everyone and to ensure equal access to those things that make life livable, such as affordable health care, arts and culture and a healthy environment.  Yet the very sector in which we work is experiencing that same divide.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the growing Read more

Dirty Money

Now is clearly not a popular time to suggest that nonprofits should think carefully before accepting a gift—as gifts of dollars or those things that can easily translate into dollars—are such desperate commodities these days.   But the reality is that now—and always—is the time.

Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal published an article identifying a number of American and British nonprofits—institutions of higher education and think tanks—that had, knowingly, accepted gifts from the Gaddafi Family Foundation and/or the Libyan government.   The prestigious London School of Read more

Life in 140 Characters

When I was growing up, we had a vacation home on the Potomac River, right outside of Shepherdstown, West Virginia. We used the house primarily for weekends throughout the course of the year, with a bit more time during school holidays.  One of the first things we did as we drove into town on the way to our house was to stop and buy the current edition of the Jefferson County local newspaper (The Chronicle and The Shepherdstown Chronicle.

My siblings and I loved reading those papers.  Read more

Separate the Wheat from the Chaff

So, the question gets asked of some presidential economic advisor in some NPR interview (and, I’m sure, is repeated in many other interview settings), is $1 trillion going to take care of getting rid of all of the “toxic assets” banks are currently holding?  The response, in summary:  well, minimally, it should go a long a way. 

We are talking about sums of money that the vast, vast majority of nonprofits, let alone their clients, can’t even fathom.  It is a sum of money that Read more