Boston Public Library, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Boston Public Library, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

We’re three days away from August 15th. However, no soothsayers have warned us to “beware the Ides of August,” so we feel confident that we’ll still be here next week. In the meantime, we’ve culled five informative and enlightening articles covering the nonprofit and legal world. Read on…                                                          

1) Nonprofits are getting more comfortable with using crowdfunding to augment their annual budgets. The Jewish Museum in Manhattan recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to produce “Take Me, I’m Yours,” a special exhibit that lets museum visitors take parts of the artworks home with them to keep (Our favorite detail in this piece: one of the art items visitors will be able to take home is “some air from Yoko Ono.”) For some creative ideas on how you can use crowdfunding programs like Kickstarter or Pledgling (disclosure: Pledgling is a client of ours), check out Nonprofit Quarterly’s writeup here:
https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2016/08/10/crowdfunding-new-yorks-jewish-museum-take-im/                                              

2) The New York Times has an excellent look at the troubling intersection between large corporations and think tanks, including the prestigious Brookings Institution. Think tanks are widely regarded as an unbiased and unimpeachable source of information, but the Times reports that the connection between large corporate donations to some think tanks and the think tanks’ subsequent reports raises significant conflict-of-interest questions:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/08/us/politics/think-tanks-research-and-corporate-lobbying.html?_r=2

3) A bright spot this week: For National Bowling Day (tomorrow, Saturday, August 13), Bowlmor bowling lanes, including LA’s own Bowlero, is partnering with the nonprofit Feeding America. If Bowlmor meets its goal, it will make a donation to Feeding America that will feed 500,000 families. It’s always great to see LA companies working hard to make a difference! Find out how you can participate here:  http://www.dailynews.com/sports/20160810/heres-how-free-bowling-games-can-help-fight-hunger

4) Most nonprofits want to be diverse, so what are the specific obstacles that get in their way? Josephine Ramirez explores four organizations, LA’s Cornerstone Theatre among them, that have successfully created boards that look like America. One of the mental re-framings that these orgs have undertaken is to stop thinking about diversity as a “problem to solve” and start thinking of it as simply “something to practice.” There are several great ideas in this piece:
https://medium.com/new-faces-new-spaces/if-your-board-looked-like-your-community-203c878bb0a0#.so2vxbzgq

5) Last week, we highlighted Massachusetts’ consideration of a bill that would require nonprofits to pay property taxes. Now the Nonprofit Law Prof Blog brings news that the District of Columbia is also considering removing the property tax exemption. The effort is spurred by budget considerations and questions about well-financed nonprofit universities like Georgetown. While there’s no need to be alarmist—neither proposal has made it into law yet—it’s important for nonprofit organizations to keep an eye on this proposed legislation, since more states may start to eye tax exemptions in an effort to ease budget shortfalls. Find out more here:
http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/nonprofit/2016/08/dc-debating-property-tax-laws.html

That’s all from us on the Friday Five front. If you just can’t get enough Bergman and Allderdice, you can follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.  Until then, we’ll keep calm, carry on, and continue highlighting news from the nonprofit world. See you next week! 

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