Last week was the annual Nonprofit Institute of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute in Philadelphia. I was again one of the course planners for this 16th Annual Institute and it was a fun-filled day of learning.
This year’s Keynote Address was by Attorney General Josh Shapiro and entitled “Pennsylvania and Its Charities”. Also participating were Laura Solomon, Esq., Moderator, and Mark A. Pacella, Esq., Chief Deputy Attorney General of the Charitable Trusts and Organizations Section. General Shapiro’s Keynote Address reviewed a number of important subjects, including the role of boards of directors, the needs for nonprofit organizations to fill societal gaps, the Attorney General’s role in Pennsylvania, Hershey Trust update, discussion of an art sale at LaSalle University and the healthcare battle between UPMC and Highmark.
One of the important subjects General Shapiro addressed was the one-stop registration for charitable solicitations which is expected to be piloted in the fall of 2018. General Shapiro stated that Pennsylvania hopes to be ready to accept electronic filings of the one-stop registration. General Shapiro also discussed the cooperation between Attorneys General of different states involving fraudulent fundraising schemes.
Peggy Outon, founding executive director of the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University, and I presented “Attracting and Retaining Enthusiastic Board Members for a Community in Need.” I spent some time discussing the fiduciary role of the board of directors, and the failures in a recent case, Estate of Lemington Home for the Aged v. Baldwin, 777 F. 3d 620 (3d Cir. 2015). After I discussed the failures of directors, officers and the resulting liability for statutory and punitive damages in Lemington, Ms. Outon discussed various ways in which a board can act appropriately and how enthusiastic directors can be recruited for communities in need. Ms. Outon discussed in some detail planning for a Blue Ribbon Nominating Committee, and the BoardsWork! Program, which trains personnel in nonprofit governance, and then matches the trained personnel with charitable organizations. Also speaking this year was Anne L. Gingerich, MSW, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO). Ms. Gingerich and a panel of experts discussed how to build successful relationships between boards of directors and executive directors, leaning on PANO’s Standards for Excellence and materials on how boards should operate in partnership with an executive team.
Some of the other hot topics included Don Kramer, Esq.’s update on nonprofit law, disaster preparedness, partnerships and collaborations, charitable fundraising, and charities, politics and ethics. All in all, PBI’s 16th Annual Nonprofit Institute was well worth attending and readers should consider attending in future years. If anyone is interested in any of the course materials, please feel free to contact me.