A Window: Occupy Pittsburgh Weighs Options for Managing Money

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November 2, 2011; Source: Times LeaderThe “donations group” at Occupy Pittsburgh estimates that its encampment of 102 tents is costing $8,000–$12,000/month. The question is how do the donations that are being made toward those costs get managed in a way that honors the intent of the protests—that is, with transparency and the right institutional affiliations? At a meeting on Tuesday held in space lent to the group by the United Steelworkers, the occupiers discussed their options. The Merton Center, a local 501(c)(3), is apparently offering to act as fiscal sponsor, but reportedly at a 5 percent fee. But the Center uses the PNC Bank, which has been the focus of a number of protests to the extent that some branches, according to this article, have been temporarily closed—so many did not like the option. That makes sense. An occupier also pointed out that the aforementioned fee might not be the extent of the “cut” taken, since the donations that come in through WePay also get a 3.5 percent haircut.

The question remains under consideration. NPQ thinks that all nonprofits should think as carefully about whom they do business with.—Ruth McCambridge