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FBI investigates Sacramento mayor’s nonprofit
Jun 17, 2009; Associated Press | The imbroglio started with the firing of the Inspector General at the Corporation for National and Community Service is deepening, now with the announcement of an FBI investigation of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s AmeriCorps-subsidized charter school. —Rick Cohen
Judge orders jail for Stanford after indictments
Jun 19, 2009; Commercial Appeal | The Texas version of Bernie Madoff, R. Allen Stanford, traded his mansion for a room in the hoosegow after his indictment for running a Ponzi scheme to bilk investors out of $7 billion, including the diversion of $1.6 billion in “loans” to himself. In Memphis, Tennessee, Stanford apparently swindled nonprofit investors, attracting them in part by making personal donations to the nonprofits and flying potential client-investors to his properties in Antigua for island getaways. As in the case of Madoff, when a sharpie like Stanford promises returns that are too good to be true, they’re probably too good to be true. Just ask the Memphis nonprofits that lost their shirts with this guy. —Rick Cohen
Work for less? Most say yes!
Jun 11, 2009; Third Sector | In news from Australia, a survey of nonprofit human resource managers and executives had some unusual observations about nonprofit job applicants. Some 78 percent of these managers said that applicants were willing to work for less than they would be paid in equivalent positions in the private sector, specifically 56 per cent saying applicants would work for 10-20 percent less, 19 percent saying applicants would work for 20-30 percent less, and 6 percent saying applicants would work for more than 30 percent less. This was a survey of the employers, not the employees or potential employees. One wonders whether a survey of employees would be quite as salary self-sacrificing as the employers imagine. —Rick Cohen
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Bidding for contracts: Adapt or die, charities warned
Jun 19, 2009; Third Sector Online | “Statutory funding” available to nonprofits in the UK is going to fall by 10 percent over the next few years, according to one consultant’s read. His advice? “Winning contracts will involve winning them off your competitors. If your organisation is one that doesn’t like the idea of competition, it might not be around in 10 years.” He calls for nonprofits to adopt more of a “private sector” approach. What ever happened to social democracy? —Rick Cohen
New EU ‘civil society working group’ starts work
Jun 15, 2009; Third Sector Online | At the European Commission, there’s a new working group looking at how EU funding can be made more “civil society friendly.” That’s a constant issue in the U.S. too. We’ll watch to see how much more progress they make over there than we’re making here, especially regarding the needs of smaller nonprofits. —Rick Cohen
Miami commissioners look to hold nonprofit MOVERS accountable in Sugar Hill sale
Jun 18, 2009; Miami Today | Remember when Deep Throat said “follow the money?” Follow the money in this story: In 1993, the Miami-based Economic Opportunity Family Health Center got a $1.1 million Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) grant, which is used to buy Sugar Hill Apartments as housing units for people with AIDS. The Center, later renamed the Jessie Trice Community Health Center, put some $4 million in federal funds into the project to develop the housing. In 2003, the health center sold Sugar Hill to Minorities Overcoming the Virus Through Education Responsibility and Spirituality (MOVERS), a nonprofit dedicated to providing housing for people with AIDS. In 2007, however, MOVERS sold the property to a for-profit development firm for $1.8 million. That company then removed all but one of the AIDS residents from the property. In making the sale, MOVERS violated stipulations for HUD and local government notification and approval. Now, the City is being required to pay back the $4 million over 3 years in order to receive $12 million in economic stimulus funds. Okay, the nonprofits invested $4 million in government funds in the project, sold the project for $2.2 million less than they invested in the deal. Where did the money go? Not only is the federal government wondering who was following the money, but to quote Tom Cruise, they want Miami to “show me the money” in order to proceed with stimulus funding. —Rick Cohen