Nonprofits Cope with COVID-Era Challenges

Organizations of all types that serve the public good have been challenged to sustain their programs in the troubling COVID-19 environment. Sound governance, prudent financial management, a focused mission and sound business plan can sustain most nonprofit enterprises and associations.  Others less prepared may face an uncertain future.  My presentation (view and print it here) at the Texas State Bar’s 18th annual nonprofit organizations course echoed the advice of other professionals, who also recognize new realities presented in 2020 and the need to adapt programs and operations. My co-presenter was Adrianna Cuellar Rojas, President and CEO of United Ways of Texas.

Print the entire article here.

Issues Facing Texas Government Leaders and 2019-2021 Legislative Overview

The opening session of the 37th Annual University of Texas School of Law Nonprofit Organizations Institute on January 24 featured insights by The Texas Tribune executive editor Ross Ramsey and my presentation (view and print it here) regarding the state’s booming economy, changing demographics, state revenue needs and the challenges in the 2021 legislative session facing state leaders.  The economic impact of the Texas nonprofit sector was highlighted by a new study from the United Ways of Texas.  As state and local governments continue to maximize limited resources, they increasingly look to competent nonprofit organizations to perform privatized government functions and operate social service programs as contractors or grantees.  (View and print the entire presentation)

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…]