Raising the Blue Peter!

I’m an avid reader of the Patrick O’Brian seafaring novels, featuring Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin. People either love these books, or they don’t “get” them, looking on with studied patience as O’Brian groupies go on and on about a particularly magnificent moment in volume 14, The Nutmeg of Consolation. It’s a bit like showing tolerance for an unfamiliar and seemingly inexplicable religious practice. Continue reading

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Donor-Advised Fund Reform?

A November 21, 2011 op-ed in the New York Times by Boston College law professor Ray D. Madoff raises some good points.

We all know that donors receive federal tax deductions when they give to a 501(c)(3) public charity. That nonprofit can be a soup kitchen, or a symphony, or a major educational institution. We could argue (and I often do) that the gift to the soup kitchen should be worth more (from a tax policy standpoint) than a gift to a cultural or educational institution, no matter how worthy those other institutions are, because the gift to help hungry people more clearly meets the original intent of the charitable tax deduction – to lessen the burden of government. But let’s not get into that now.

So what’s a donor-advised fund, how does it fit in, and why does Professor Madoff raise concerns? Continue reading

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Thoughts on the Nonprofit World