New York Attorney General Proposes “Revitalization” for NPOs
On February 16, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman released a report from the Leadership Committee for Nonprofit Revitalization, a group composed of 32 leaders in the not-for-profit community (and supported by Attorney General staff members) who were charged in June 2011 with “developing proposals for reducing burdens on the nonprofit sector while strengthening governance and accountability.”
Titled Revitalizing Nonprofits / Renewing New York, the report provides a series of 38 recommendations for not-for-profit organizations (“NPOs”), divided into three basic sections:
Reducing Burdens on Nonprofits – The recommendations in this section are directed at the State’s contracting and regulatory processes. With regard to contracting, the focus is on such problems as the delays in approvals and payments and “redundant” auditing and reporting requirements. As to regulation, the Leadership Committee advocates a significant and long-overdue update to the State’s regulatory structure for NPOs, with a streamlining and modernization of applicable rules and laws.
Enhancing Governance and Maintaining the Public Trust – This portion of the report sets its sights on strengthening NPO governance and accountability. Its recommendations include providing “clearer and stronger statutory guidance” to governing boards, with an emphasis on areas such as compensation and conflicts-of-interests. The Leadership Committee also suggests approaches for improving board governance through leading-edge processes for member recruitment and education.
The Path Forward – This final section “highlights the importance of continuing the historic collaboration between the Attorney General and the nonprofit community.” The goal is not only to create a framework for planning and interaction between the State and NPOs that will strengthen the current elements of governance and public service, but to develop a “strategic vision” for the future as well.
Although many of the areas addressed in the report have been discussed in the not-for-profit marketplace for a while now, in this comprehensive document the Leadership Committee has produced thoughtful and concrete suggestions for addressing many of the concerns that NPOs and the general public continue to have.
Once the comments in this report have been absorbed by NPOs, State officials and administrators, and the public at large, it is hoped that there will be a series of conferences held that would bring together key NPO “leaders and thinkers” with Attorney General representatives, to discuss the many challenges and the approaches necessary to address them. It is too early to tell what legislation, if any, may emerge.
A copy of the report may be found at: