Commentary on 2017 Texas Legislative Activity Affecting Nonprofits and State Associations

My August 24 presentation at the 15th Annual State Bar Governance of Nonprofit Organizations course is available here. I received a positive response from those attending and welcome your comments or questions regarding the paper.

The 85th Legislature’s First Special Session ended on August 14, and there were no developments of note regarding nonprofit organizations, foundations and state associations. Updates and items of interest will be posted here during the current “interim” period before the legislature returns in January 2019.

(Print the paper.)

Property owner associations (POAs) again take the heat from critics

POAs get scrutinized in 2013 Texas Legislative Session

Controversy and criticism of one group often spills over and affects the interests of others. This is TANO’s concern, as yet another legislative session featured bills, hearings and unpleasant media coverage regarding the operations of the thousands of Texas property owner associations (POAs), also called home owner associations (HOAs), and condominium owner associations (COAs). Hundreds of thousands of Texans pay monthly fees to these nonprofit community associations as a condition of their ownership of a residential property. The POAs are not IRS Section 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofits but are organized under the same Texas Nonprofit Corporation Law as charities but with different IRS tax-exempt status, usually Section 501(c)(4). [Read more…]

“Best Practices” strengthen nonprofits but they can bite!

Best practices” are models for conduct and management prevalent in a field that others look to in evaluating an organization’s status. These include internal policies, voluntarily-adopted standards, professional practice and ethical standards, conditions in funding grants (government and private), accounting standards, trade association standards, insurers’ and lenders’ underwriting standards, media perceptions of right and wrong, and other commonly-recognized guidelines.   Not always clear or binding, best practices when ignored can have the same negative impact on a nonprofit as a violation of law, negligent act, or other culpable conduct. [Read more…]

Policies to strengthen nonprofit organizations

9th Annual Governance of Nonprofit Organizations
State Bar of Texas, August 2011, Austin,Texas

I. Introduction

Increased public scrutiny of nonprofit organizations and state and federal regulatory changes in response to illegal and unethical activities require a closer examination of the policies, formal and informal, that should be considered in managing and advising a tax-exempt entity.

A number of federal and state statutory enactments mandate general guidelines of conduct and corporate governance but also leave to the individual organization the formulation of distinct policies. These mandates must be addressed with the adoption and observance of policies, usually board-adopted, to comply. [Read more…]