In the wake of a politically difficult vote to temporarily increase the state individual income tax, Donors Forum commends state leaders who were instrumental in helping Illinois take the first step of many to rebuild Illinois' fiscal foundation
- resource provided by the Forum Network Knowledgebase.
The final chapter of my new book, Social Enterprise: Empowering Mission-Driven Entrepreneurs, (American Bar Association, 2011) raises the provocative question: "To What End?"
In late October, the Chicago Tribune published another in a line of articles on nonprofits, highlighting a new bill by Illinois State Representative Greg Harris (D-Chicago). Prompted by the Tribune’s earlier pieces, Harris’ bill would require some nonprofits, whose contracts and grants are exempted under the Illinois Procurement Code, to disclose relationships with private management companies and for-profit subsidiaries, as a way to uncover executive compensation. In a conversation with Donors Forum, Harris told us this is a “transparency” issue. In a meeting with Rep. Harris after the article was published, Donors Forum agreed that it is important for nonprofits receiving public dollars to disclose key employee compensation.
We were pleased that the Chicago Tribune published our letter to the editor this week about the need for fiscal reform to solve the State's budget crisis.
New data on employment trends among nonprofit organizations in Illinois point to two key findings:
- With nearly 517,600 workers -- or one out of every nine private jobs in the state -- the nonprofit sector is a major jobs engine in Illinois, and one that has been growing in recent years.
- Nonprofit organizations are facing increased pressure from for-profit organizations in the fields in which they operate.
Ask anyone at a gathering of nonprofit professionals whether they think its a good idea to share information and you will get a resounding yes. It sounds like a no-brainer right? I mean, why recreate the wheel if you don't have to? The more you know about what works and what doesn't, about how other nonprofits are addressing the issues that are core to your mission, or how different foundations are approaching our toughest social problems, the better you are at your own job.
In case you missed it, the special focus of the January 24, 2011 Crain's Chicago Business was on nonprofits and philanthropy:
As part of its work to raise awareness of the value of philanthropy and the nonprofit sector, Donors Forum works with media outlets in Illinois.
In early March, a group of foundation leaders, advisors, and Donors Forum staff travelled to Washington D.C. for the annual Foundations on the Hill conference and lobby day, co-sponsored by Council of Foundations and The Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers.
On April 14, nonprofits and representatives from state government came together for Under the Dome: A Legislative and Policy Update for Illinois Nonprofits in Springfield to identify challenges facing Illinois communities and develop collaborative solutions.
I once served on the board of a group whose executive director adamantly insisted that managing staff was her responsibility, not the board's. We stayed hands off until we started to hear rumors of favoritism. After we prevailed in a battle with her about getting a listing of staff pay, we were shocked to discover that her assistant was paid $20,000 more than the program director and nearly as much as the development director. A lesson - actually several lessons - learned.
Donors Forum’s second "Community of Practice" focused on Solving the Nonprofit Overhead Challenge launched on January 25, 2012 with leaders from 26 grantmaking and nonprofit organizations participating.
How does one unify a diverse sector and catalyze a grassroots awareness raising effort? Introduce a bill to include private nonprofits in a definition of ‘public bodies.’
As a college senior and intern for Donors Forum, I find myself with a great opportunity ahead of me. No, it’s not the fact that in a short 9 months I’ll have a college degree (although that is a thrilling prospect), but rather the opportunity to meet hundreds of leaders from the nonprofit community at Donors Forum’s 501cometogether Illinois Nonprofit Conference in Springfield on October 15 and 16, 2012.
Those of us seeking to move from the for-profit sector to the nonprofit world have sometimes found that the idea of such a considerable change can occasionally dampen our enthusiasm, dismay our families, or confuse HR departments that receive our resumes. I am one of those seeking to work in roles which don’t perfectly match my prior experiences, and yet I am learning to enjoy practicing outside of my old "box” by using my skills for nonprofits that I believe in.
On March 25, the Nonprofit Finance Fund unveiled the results of its 2013 State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey, detailing the finances, operations, and outlook of 5,983 nonprofit organizations across the U.S.
How can a corporate grant continue its effect, beyond the initial pay-out? By building up the “core muscles” of a local nonprofit agency, in ways that will ensure future strength for that organization.
At a press conference on July 17, Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka announced the formation of the new Illinois Nonprofit Advisory Council, the first of its kind in the nation. The Council will meet regularly to address the severe and persistent fiscal challenges facing nonprofits due to delays in state payments.
“Those who learn to collaborate and improvise are most effectively able to prevail. If you are able to cooperate, you are going to make it. If you go your own way, you are going to fail.” That was a lesson from the work of Charles Darwin that keynote speaker Kyle Caldwell, Program Director at the C.S. Mott Foundation, delivered to an audience of grantmakers, nonprofit representatives, and public officials at Donors Forum's recent Nonprofit Summit.