July/August 2019

More on American Giving

The “Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018,” upon review, yields very interesting results. As previously reported, giving was flat at $428 billion. Of that amount, $125 billion, or 29%, went to religion, which represented a small decline after six years of growth. (The ECFA in late June reported, as a comparison, that religious giving in 1985 was at 57% as compared to 29% currently.) Areas growing include internal affairs, health, environment, and, of course, animal organizations.

Source: Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018

Giving Drops

According to a published report in Newsweek, new data shows that Americans itemized $54 Billion less in charitable donations this year, after enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Although some economists predicted at the time there would be a significant drop in donations, none predicted it to this extent. In the article, Michael Nilsen, Vice President of Communications and Public Policy of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, said, “This is really a significant drop. This to me is a sign that giving was hurt.”

Source: Newsweek, July 15, 2019

Annual Conference Announced

The 2019 NAAG/NASCO Conference will be held on October 16th through the 18th in Nashville, Tennessee. Public sessions will take place commencing on Thursday, October 17th at 12:15 with an agenda expected to cover topics that include regulation outside our borders, crowdfunding issues, disaster response issues, and ethics and cybersecurity.

Source: National Association of Attorney Generals

Arkansas

The Attorney General announced a settlement with a hospice charity that it alleged was not a bona fide organization. The settlement was part of a multi-state settlement that required the charity to be dissolved and assets turned over.

Georgia

A charity has sued their employee who is the wife of the organization’s CEO, claiming charity funds were used for personal expenses. The lawsuit is a civil matter and, as a result, the County Sheriff’s office has declined to file charges because of the unwillingness of the charity to file a criminal complaint. The amount at stake could be as much as $130,000.

Source: Forsythe County News, July 25, 2019

Kansas

Kris Kobach, the former Kansas Secretary of State and unsuccessful candidate for Governor, is now running for the Senate. He is associated with his own nonprofit pertaining to building a wall on the southern border. Common Cause has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission and asked the Federal Department of Justice to examine the fundraising practices of Kris Kobach, the candidate. It is alleged that he may have used the donor lists and material that belongs to the charitable organization with which he is affiliated as a list for solicitation, which would be illegal.

Source: The Kansas City Star, August 2, 2019.

Maryland

It turns out that charitable gambling does pay off. The Washington County Gaming Commission announced it was distributing over $1 million to 81 different charities.

Source: haroldmailmedia.com

Massachusetts

Boston-based Fidelity Charitable has announced that it is distributing a record $4 billion in grants from its donor-advised funds in the first half of 2019. The distribution represents an increase of 48% on a year-over-year basis.

Source: PND, July 30, 2019

Missouri

Hillsdale College is going to court to take away a $5 million donation to the University of Missouri which was made by an alum 17 years ago with certain contingencies. The initial grant was to support the teachings of economics in a conservative manner. The $5 million originally donated for that purpose has now grown to $9 million. Hillsdale College claims that the University of Missouri is not meeting the conditions of the grant and wants the money returned and redistributed to support the intended purpose.

Source: The Kansas City Star, July 16, 2019

New York

The New York Daily News reported that a Bronx pastor took money meant to help HIV-positive drug addicts and used it to jet off to the Caribbean and lavish himself with gifts. The amount at issue is $631,000.

Source: The New York Daily News, July 31, 2019

Tennessee

The Tennessee Titans, an NFL professional football team, donated nearly a half million dollars in grants to charities favored by the individual players on the team.

Source: The Tennessean, July 30, 2019

Virginia

The Attorney General has announced that he has led a coalition of four states to shut down a deceptive organization, Hearts 2 Heroes, Inc., a for-profit company doing business as Active Duty Support Services, Inc., which made door-to-door sales of care packages ostensibly to be sent to service members overseas. The Attorney General alleged that this for-profit company led consumers to believe that they were a charitable organization when, in fact, they were not. Joined in the suit against the for-profit company were Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Source: Office of the Attorney General, https://www.oag.state.va.us/media-center/news-releases/1508-august-14-2019-herring-shuts-down-deceptive-organization-that-exploited-servicemembers