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Mike Burns's Blog (78)

Nonprofit Money Moves Mission

I think it can be safely said that nonprofits that have revenues and equally important, savings, have an enhanced ability to pursue mission. It of course is worth saying that volunteers and donated goods and services matter and matter a lot, but unrestricted assets and income equally matters and often are a game changer for a nonprofit's pursuit of ission.

So what happens if, in a moment, assets dissapear? Impossible you say? Not really as I reagularly feature events when internal…

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Added by Mike Burns on February 5, 2015 at 4:06pm — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Personnel Committee

Nonprofit boards often establish committees to "take care of" tasks the whole board might not want to do or might need done on their behalf. Often enough these tasks embody what I refer to as "taking care of the homework" that can helpfully inform the full board when decisions are to be made.

Finance Committees are an excellent example of a small sub-body of a nonprofit that can take a magnifying look at the income and expense statement and the balance sheet to be sure the rest of the…

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Added by Mike Burns on January 22, 2015 at 11:09am — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Policy: Pay-For-Success

What constitutes meaningful nonprofit board conversation? I pose that meaningful nonprofit board conversation, (usually what goes on in a board meetingand/or board planning session informs and/or results in action around fiduciary and strategic policy, planning and evaluation.

One of the topics I believe should be on the table of many human service nonprofits: pay-for-success. PMany US state and federal legislators are considering payfor-success as an answer to both cost savings and…

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Added by Mike Burns on January 5, 2015 at 12:05pm — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Accountability

Usually when I discuss nonprofit board accountability I am referring to those occasions for understanding how and when a board is meeting its fiduciary responsibility.  Today though I want to focus on how a board can be more strategic about achieving mission.  The answer: analytics.

Analytics -- effectively the work of grabbing and translating lots of statistics about an organization's audience is not a new science.  For profits have been using analytics for…

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Added by Mike Burns on December 18, 2014 at 3:10pm — No Comments

Nonprofit Executive Term Limits

Why don't CEO's have term limits like boards? Really, why don't they?

And, why am I asking? Because the Wall Street Journal noted today that the Anti-Defamation League has announced a replacement for its longtime national director who is leaving after almost a half century working for the Jewish nonprofit. The New York-based organization on Thursday said Jonathan Greenblatt will take the helm when 74-year-old Abraham Foxman steps down in July 2015.

If I'm doing my math…

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Added by Mike Burns on November 24, 2014 at 3:42pm — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Policy

Today's Wall Street Journal article on corporate branding as a source of revenue for children's musuems introduces some great nonprofit board policy questions. Making policy to inform day-to-day decisions is part of a nonprofit board's fiduciary duty of care. Policy also reduces the need for a nonprofit's management to need board action on every single decision.

According to the article, corporate branding can play a significant role in the sustainability of a nonprofit. Children's…

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Added by Mike Burns on November 17, 2014 at 1:51pm — No Comments

Nonprofit Rogue Board

What happens when all the lines of governance and ownership and family and program and action and, well just about everything, get entangled with "issues"? The following story about a Charter School and its "arm".

MARTHA WOODALL, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

When Imhotep Institute Charter High School opened its new building in East Germantown five years ago, officials dubbed the $10 million facility "the Miracle on 21st Street."

Now, as the school with an African-centered…

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Added by Mike Burns on November 10, 2014 at 9:53am — No Comments

Nonprofit Boards Gender Diversity

The annual "Women on Boards" is out and the dissapointing findings about Philadelphia area publicly traded companies and nonprofit boards include learning that:

Nearly four in 10 - 39 percent - of top executive positions at 18 area colleges are held by women. Yet women make up only 14 percent of executive ranks at public companies.

At public companies, females fill 12 percent of the board seats, but they more than double that - at 26 percent - at 17 of the region's health care…

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Added by Mike Burns on October 23, 2014 at 11:17am — No Comments

Nonprofit Board and Tainted Money

The decision by Susan B. Komen For the Cure to accept a pretty large (by most nonprofit standards) gift from an oil fracking company appears to be creating for other nonprofits a stir akin to drilling teeth. You can read a "bit" about the issues here.

Included among the "issues":

a) tainted money -- when is it tainted and when/if should a nonprofit not accept such resources

b) public perception - when/if should a nonprofit respond to the "noise"

c) board position…

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Added by Mike Burns on October 17, 2014 at 4:38pm — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Leadership

Many find sports to be a good source for life lessons and so I found the following interview in the Washington Post and by Howard C. Fero, the co-author of “Lead Me Out to the Ballgame: Stories and Strategies to Develop Major League Leadership” and an executive coach and director of graduate leadership programs at Albertus Magnus College in Connecticut quite useful…

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Added by Mike Burns on October 4, 2014 at 9:00am — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Challenge

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has introduced to the ALS board a challenge: more money that it dreamed of. Now, the board must, in accordance with its fiduciary duty of care, determine by policy or strategy, what it must do with its newfound wealth.

I believe that the Wall Street Journal did a fine job describing the choices unexpected prosperity introduces.

As far as challenges go, too much cash is a good one to have.…

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Added by Mike Burns on September 22, 2014 at 11:08am — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Recruiting

I frequently hear nonprofit board members express their frustration about their inability to attract new and maybe even different kinds of prospects to become board members. True, they may not actually have a recruitment plan and they don't have a governance committee whose job it might be to think very intentionally about what needs the board has and where individuals might be identified and wooed to joing and they may not even have opportunities for prospective board members to lend their…

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Added by Mike Burns on September 11, 2014 at 3:52pm — No Comments

Board Not Trusted

For those afraid to fly, a sometimes helpful piece of advice: the pilot has the same interest as you in arriving safely. Trust by passengers in the airline and pilot that all will be safe and secure and that both have the same interests is essential.

A recent contract agreement reached by the Metropolitan Opera raises for me the question: does the union (employees) not believe the board has the same interests as the employees? My initial answer: I don't think so. I should add, history…

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Added by Mike Burns on August 26, 2014 at 4:45pm — No Comments

Nonprofit Governance and Sustainability Planning

What should nonprofits boards expect from foundations?

I propose: very little. There's a paradigm I recall hearing about the purpose of foundations: 1) identify "issues"; identify solutions to issues; test the solutions. Three years is a norm. After all this is done: the nonprofit should get supported by the public.

So, today's reality? Except for the public support, yes, I believe this is indeed what nonprofits who think foundation money is a great source, should expect. And…

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Added by Mike Burns on August 13, 2014 at 3:06pm — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Action without Quorum

When it comes to a nonprofit board's taking action (aka voting), numbers often matter. Most often a board's by-laws instruct how many board members need be present and what portion of that number needs to vote positively on an item.

I'm working with a team right now to update the organization's by-laws and during this process we came upon two questions: what happens when there is no quorum and equally important, what happens when quorum is lost during or more likely, toward the end of…

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Added by Mike Burns on August 7, 2014 at 1:28pm — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Beyond Bylaws

Here's an interesting set of thoughts from Dr. Eugene Fram who discusses nonprofit board roles "beyond the by-laws". I'm interesting in learning your takeaways. Also, as another thought, I propose that what's not contained in a board's by-laws might be contained in the board's governing policies. John Carver proposes that such policies be divided into those that are focused on mission (mission, purpose and values and strategic direction); those that are specific to the board; those that are…

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Added by Mike Burns on July 31, 2014 at 4:08pm — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Meeting Effectiveness

Which of the following tool (s) has the best prospect of making your board meeting THE EVENT of the month or quarter or whatever:

*consent agenda

*planning and choreography (including food)

*actionable agenda items

board-driven conversations

*nonve of the above

*all of the above

I believe if you checked "all of the above" you would be correct. Each of these activities can contribute to making happier and productive board meetings. Without these…

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Added by Mike Burns on July 27, 2014 at 6:52am — No Comments

Nonprofit Governance Matters

An editorial in today's New York Times discussed state and federal government crackdowns on private for-profit colleges and in particular, Corinthian College.

In the editorial, the paper notes:

Last year, the California attorney general, Kamala Harris, sued Corinthian, charging that it had lied to students and investors about job placement rates for its graduates. The company advertised job placement rates as high as 100 percent for certain programs, when, in some cases, there…

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Added by Mike Burns on July 14, 2014 at 10:58am — No Comments

Nonprofit Board Harm

What should happen when a nonprofit board learns that its CEO does not actually have the credentials he claims?

Recently in Hartford, CT the 17-year CEO of a nonprofit charter school enterprise resigned pretty much on short-notice.  The reporting source, WFSB on-line, tells that word had circulated that the CEO was not a PhD.  According to the report it's…

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Added by Mike Burns on June 26, 2014 at 4:24pm — No Comments

Nonprofit Board & CEO Retirement Policies

It is pretty much the practice of nonprofits to establish board term limits. Most common among these practices is the 2-3 year term and 1 year off rule recognizing that for large organizations, 3-3 year terms takes into account the learning curve that may be needed to create effective boards. Admittedly, there are quite a number of nonprofit boards that I have encountered that do not implement their term limits for all kinds of lame reasons: we don't want to lose our invaluable member (what,…

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Added by Mike Burns on June 19, 2014 at 7:12pm — 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

What Zombies Can Teach Us About Vibrant Communities

This month, LISC and Cornell University will co-sponsor a conference on comprehensive approaches to turning vacant and “zombie” homes into community assets—and upending the conditions that create them in the first place. Helene Caloir, director of LISC’s $75 million New York State Housing Stabilization Fund, describes how this work is part and parcel of the broad challenges of revitalizing neighborhoods, dismantling racial inequity and sparking economic mobility.

“Café, Cultura, Vida”

As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close, we checked in with Sandra Flores, owner of Azukar Coffee, a small business percolating on the South Side of Phoenix that shows just how important a local gathering place can be to a neighborhood.

Changing Health by Changing the Community

In an op-ed for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, LISC CEO Maurice A. Jones and Howard Kern, president and CEO of Sentara Healthcare, describe how their new $100 million will take aim at the social determinants of health in Virginia. Investing in housing, job training and placement, education and transportation, among other requisites of a healthy life, are key to closing the life expectancy gap and creating a strong economy, they argue. Now is the time for corporations, nonprofits and charitable organizations to play leadership roles in making those investments a reality.

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