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Mike Burns's Blog (78)

Nonprofit Board Chairs Study Report Now Available

Voices of Nonprofit Board Chairs reflects the voices of 635 nonprofit board chairs across the United States. The study was conducted by the Alliance's Governance Affinity Group and is intended as a first step in hearing directly from board chairs about their experiences and…

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Added by Mike Burns on August 26, 2016 at 11:28am — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Relationships

The following is not a case unfamiliar to my work. On too many occasions I have been called upon to help resolve the "relationship" between a nonprofit organization and it's "arm" designed to raise money on its behalf. The issues are as relational as they are transactional although most frequently stimulated by one or another transaction that just didn't sit well with the other party. The question at its core: where does the fiduciary duty lie most: with the "parent' institution or with the… Continue

Added by Mike Burns on August 5, 2016 at 11:27am — No Comments

Book Review: Make It So

As timing is everything (think summer reading) and a new Star Trek movie has just been released I just happened to come across, Make It So. Make It So, by Wess Roberts and Bill Ross offers leadership lessons from Star Trek The Next Generation (which for those of you who are not Trekkies, is the series with Jean-Luc Picard as the captain of the starship Enterprise).

So, if you would like to combine your thirst for entertaining with educational reading, Make It So (Pocket Books, 1995)…

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Added by Mike Burns on July 29, 2016 at 10:40am — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Hiring; Do looks matter?

Board members that judge a "book by its cover" may seriously lose-out on opportunities in prospective CEOs. That's my basic takeaway from the following Washington Post article about a study that examined how:

CEO's "faces" send messages;

"looks" for for-profits are likely different than what nonprofits (and their donors) desire; and, bottom line, there may be some truly hidden gems out there that get missed because of personal bias by board members or just plain mis-judgement. I…

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Added by Mike Burns on July 12, 2016 at 8:48am — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Duty of Care & D&O Insurance

Talk about a life lesson in fulfilling one's duty of care AND addressing personal risks, the NC New Schools board is a case example that couldn't be better. Simple lessons: one of the first questions a nonprofit board member should ask: do you have Directors & Officer's Insurance? Another question each year: has our D&O Insurance been paid?

Of course, the board should have been asking a lot more questions to understand first, how the organization was doing that it was heading…

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Added by Mike Burns on June 29, 2016 at 2:59pm — No Comments

Nonprofit Board: No!

In a Philadelphia Inquirer article, in a story about the purchase of Muhammad Ali's childhood/young adulthood home, the current owners stated:

The museum was not set up as a nonprofit. "I did not want anyone else to tell me how best to re-create the home or how to preserve Muhammad's most important legacy. This was to be the purest vision of the legacy of Muhammad Ali, without interference or baloney from committees," said Bochetto.

Neither he nor Weiss will get one red cent…

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Added by Mike Burns on June 15, 2016 at 2:18pm — No Comments

Nonprofit Merger

The following article from the Cape Cod Times reveals how challenging and how much time the bringing together as "one" a nonprofit merger process can take. I of course don't know all the details but given the differences in size between the two organizations, acquisition may be a better label for what is being negotiated. While indeed, the two may become one, one museum is larger with more resources. The reality being faced by the smaller institution, that it is losing money, may be the…

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Added by Mike Burns on May 31, 2016 at 3:05pm — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Values

The following Washington Post story highlights an issue that many nonprofit boards must face at some point: when is donor money "too" tainted? The question, presumably answered through long and tedious debates, is about values and of course, just how much a particular board's values are worth in the pursuit of mission. And, in the pursuit of mission, why doesn't "any means" justify the "ends"? The story about the National Parks asks these questions while recognizing that the "public" via…

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Added by Mike Burns on May 18, 2016 at 8:30am — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Study of 2015 #NonprofitBoards

According to the 2015 study on nonprofit boards compiled by David F. Larcker, Nicholas E. Donatiello, Bill Meehan, Brian Tayan, "Many nonprofit boards need significant improvement. Directors lack sufficient skills, resources, and experience to meet the needs of most nonprofit organizations. Over a quarter of nonprofit directors do not have a deep understanding of the mission and strategy of their organization. Most boards lack formal governance structure and process, and nearly a third are…

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Added by Mike Burns on April 20, 2016 at 3:54pm — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Obligations

Four obligations: this is what my associate Jeff Wilcox ((Jeffrey R. Wilcox, CFRE, is president and chief executive officer of The Third Sector Company, Inc.) contends are the simple parameters a nonprofit board should follow to be great.

The first obligation is guaranteeing to the community that a resilient organization is at work on its behalf. Fiduciary accountability is just the beginning. Community equity runs a close second. A vote of no confidence in an organization and its…

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Added by Mike Burns on April 13, 2016 at 9:06am — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Strategic Planning

The Concord Leadership Group via Associations Now has completed their 2016 survey of 1000 CEOs, board members and others to provide some lessons about nonprofit strategic planning, CEO succession planning and other nonprofit matters. I would pose that 1000 responses is certainly worth a heads-up.

I must observe that the survey authors have a pretty negative feeling about the nonprofit sector (read their forward) and even their interpretation of the survey responses was pretty negative…

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Added by Mike Burns on April 1, 2016 at 9:59am — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Recruitment

Board member recruitment is never an easy task. But let's say your nonprofit is successful in identifying a candidate, is the criteria for selection singularly a set of skills, knowledge, expertise and lens that make the candidate the "right" fit? I would propose there to be one more element: passion for mission. And how to measure or determine passion? While action (lots of experience or knowledge about the mission is an indicator of passion, I pose that the candidate's understanding of the…

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Added by Mike Burns on March 23, 2016 at 9:02am — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Fiduciary Duty of Loyalty

"She was their landlord and she raised the rent," he said. "There's nothing illegal about that."   This is the attorney's response for his client facing federal prosecution for stealing or misappropriating federal dollars.  Not illegal?  Not a violation of the fiduciary duty of care (self-dealing and conflict of interest)?  I beg to strongly differ that, the list of harm the accused has done against her health…

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Added by Mike Burns on March 11, 2016 at 11:34am — No Comments

Non Profit Board vs. Exec.

I think it's quite common for many folks to assume that it's the Exec or CEO at a nonprofit who calls the shots. But what happens when the board, a nonprofit's legal owner, calls the shots?

In the case of the Clearwater, Pete Seeger's nonprofit environmental organization, the CEO stepped down citing his own disagreement with the direction the board had decided to take. The board decided that renovating their ship, the source of mission, was more critical than spending money on their…

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Added by Mike Burns on March 4, 2016 at 8:31am — No Comments

Better Together

"Individually excellent but better together".  If there was ever a ringing endorsement for consolidation, this is the statement regarding the bringing together of 17 high schools and four special-education Roman Catholic schools in Philadelphia. Four years ago the schools, all independently run and operated were faced with the possibility of closing as their primary sponsor, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese positioned that there just wasn't enough money.  But alumni and others got together,…

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Added by Mike Burns on February 17, 2016 at 8:58am — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Duties

I don't know anything about the gentleman who wrote the following, but his thought about a nonprofit board's 4th duty (not legally binding) gives one pause.  I would offer that I think Mr. Cagna's offering fits better in building-out on what BoardSource describes as a nonprofit Board's three roles: fiduciary, strategic and generative.  But where exactly to fit his thinking (role or duty) is not as critical as the focus of his thinking.  Indeed, what Mr. Cagna does is…

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Added by Mike Burns on February 2, 2016 at 10:00am — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Liability

Nonprofit Board Liability

"Act in good faith." This is the expectation and standard used in the courts to assess the extent of liability and responsibility for actions taken by individual board members.

According to Legal Dictionary.com, acting in good faith is the "honest intent to act without taking an unfair advantage over another person or to fulfill a promise to act, even when some legal technicality is not fulfilled. The term is applied to all kinds of transactions." I…

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Added by Mike Burns on January 15, 2016 at 1:05pm — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Advocacy #Nonprofit Boards

In the US, there are three distinct structures that to a stronger or lessor degree serve the citizens: public, corporate, and nonprofit. Each can affect the other in a number of ways recognizing that the public and corporate may have, through money, more of, but not exclusively, an impact on the other.

There has become more recently a clear recognition that nonprofits, (501(c) 3s in particular could and should exert their own strengths to influence what happens in the public sector…

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Added by Mike Burns on December 15, 2015 at 11:58am — No Comments

Nonprofit Boards Too Scared #Nonprofit Boards

Do you remember the 60's bumper sticker: It will be a great day when the schools get all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a new bomber? Well this article suggests that's exactly what the folks in Charlotte are doing - holding bake sales (not literally) to raise money for pretty big-ticket items.

The following Charlotte Observer article not only challenges the methods Charlotte nonprofit boards are using to raise funds, but calls board members "too…

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Added by Mike Burns on November 24, 2015 at 10:58am — No Comments

Nonprofit Duty of Obedience and Care #Nonprofit Boards

The following LA Times story describes a nonprofit board that I believe has seriously lost its focus and the mission. The story is about the County Fair which has morphed into an entertainment venue (that's ok - it more than pays the rent) but doesn't even have 4H at the annual fair anymore. Imagine! And of course the other big news - pays just under $1 million to its CEO! (Note, I generally believe the media is misguided in its focus on executive salaries but this may be an exception for…

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Added by Mike Burns on November 6, 2015 at 3:40pm — No Comments

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Neighborhoods: What is Working

Open Street Project

An Open Streets Family Reunion: Reflections from the 2018 Open Streets Summit

By Ryan O’Connor, Director of Programs, 8 80 Cities Recently 8 80 Cities wrote a blog post about open streets being a labour of love. That being the case, the 2018 Open Streets Summit in New Orleans felt like a family reunion of sorts. It was rejuvenating to see old and new friends who share our passion for open streets and are working tirelessly to create healthier, happier, and more connected communities across the world. The event, which took place on September 15-16, brought together more than 50 leaders who currently organize open streets programs or are interested in bringing the...

The post An Open Streets Family Reunion: Reflections from the 2018 Open Streets Summit appeared first on Open Streets Project.

Open Streets Summit Draft Agenda

We hope you are getting ready and feel excited about the Open Streets Summit in Gretna/New Orleans! Taking place from September 15-16, 2018, the Summit will feature tours, presentations and networking opportunities with open streets champions and organizers from across the continent. Attendees will learn about the nuts and bolts of starting or scaling up open streets programs, including: Route design and planning Partnerships with business and officials Social inclusion Safety and logistics Marketing and promotion Program evaluation through measurable goals and metrics If you haven’t done it yet, click here to register for the Open Streets Summit only or...

The post Open Streets Summit Draft Agenda appeared first on Open Streets Project.

Open Streets Summit Speakers Announced!

The Open Streets Project is proud to announce that Ed Solis from Viva Calle (San Jose, CA), Romel Pascual from CicLAvia (Los Angeles, CA), Jaymie Santiago and Charles Brown from New Brunswick Ciclovia will join us as speakers for the 2018 Open Streets Summit in New Orleans and Gretna! Taking place from September 15-16 2018, the Summit will feature: Behind the scenes tour of the City of Gretna’s inaugural open streets program. Workshops, presentations, and networking opportunities with open streets champions and organizers from across the continent. Training and inspiration for both -novice and experienced- open streets organizers and supporters...

The post Open Streets Summit Speakers Announced! appeared first on Open Streets Project.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation

The Long Journey to a Healing Home

In honor of Veterans Day this year, we are highlighting Perry Point Veterans Village, an extraordinary supportive housing community for homeless vets created by HELP USA in tandem with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, NEF and many other dedicated partners. The development was 10 years in the making and involved a veritable high-wire act of aligning bureaucracies and funding sources and overcoming political opposition. The result is worth the struggle: 75 safe, affordable homes for veterans who'd been surviving on the streets and now have a bona fide new lease on life.

From Recidivism to Rebuilding Lives: Q&A With Kelly Orians

Kelly Orians is an attorney, a 2019 Rubinger Fellow and the co-director of the First 72+, a ground-breaking New Orleans re-entry program for people returning from incarceration. Orians spoke with LISC about the state of criminal justice in Louisiana, the challenges and successes her clients experience, and how her organization is helping lift the burden of entrenched bureaucracy and predatory debt that keeps so many people from gaining real freedom after release.

This Is What Closing the Skills Gap Can Look Like

Chicago, like so many cities in the U.S., has jobs that need filling, and would-be workers who need the skills to build careers. A must-read article from Chicago’s WBEZ dives deep into how community organizations like the Jane Addams Resource Corp, our longtime partner and manager of a LISC-backed Bridges to Career Opportunities program, connect people with the technical and soft skills needed to land, and grow in, good, 21st-century manufacturing jobs.

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