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Latest News for Nonprofits

Confusing, incomplete reports reveal need for investigation


Will your nonprofit sign onto a letter to State legislative leaders urging them not to extend a special carve-out that enables major league sports teams to hold 50/50 raffles?

Nonprofits should be concerned about extending this special carve-out because there has been no audit or review to see if this program is working or where the money is going, and what little information CalNonprofits has been able to gather about these raffles raises more questions than it answers.

We're including more background below, and we hope you will join us calling for an audit of this program prior to any re-authorization of it. Raffles are an important revenue source for many nonprofits and we need to protect raffles as a trusted charitable fundraising mechanism for authentic nonprofits.

Background: Three years ago, the legislature passed a bad bill that allows major/minor league sports teams to hold 50/50 cash raffles, in which 50% of the proceeds goes to the winner. In comparison, when all other nonprofits hold raffles, we are only allowed to hold 90/10 raffles in which the winner gets 10% of the proceeds and the nonprofit retains 90%.

When this legislation was being debated, legislators promised that in addition to including a three-year sunset, the legislature would also receive a report about if and how communities had benefited from it:

“The DOJ [CA Dept of Justice] will do a report back to this committee in three years, and you will be able to say, okay, how has this impacted our community, Has this worked?” -former Senator Isadore Hall, answering questions in 2015 from other legislators about reporting and transparency.

Broken Promises: This report never happened, and in fact, no government entity has conducted any sort of comprehensive review of how well these raffles are actually working. The only resource we have to see if his experiment has worked are the individual reports that sports teams have submitted to the Bureau of Gambling Control, but there are also big problems with these reports.

Incomplete reports, missing information: The teams’ reports for the first two years reveal that these sports teams raffles are big business, with more than $10 million generated in 2017 alone. Unfortunately, the public has no idea how much of that money is really going to charities because many of the required reports to the Bureau of Gambling Control are incomplete, inaccurate, or missing entirely. Nonetheless, the program has been allowed to continue to operate with virtually no state oversight and scant knowledge of what happens to those dollars. During the initial legislative effort in 2015, the teams’ lobbyists promised veterans organizations they would be beneficiaries of these raffles, but those same groups are opposing AB 888 because that support did not materialize.

Continuing this problematic carve out: The bill that authorized these raffles included a sunset provision, intended to give the legislature an opportunity to review the program’s results before allowing it to continue. The sunset date is the end of this year. Despite the incomplete reporting by the teams thus far, and despite the fact that no review has been conducted of these large-scale raffles to determine whether they are being run in ways that protect the public’s and the nonprofit sector’s interests, Assemblymember Evan Low is authoring a bill (AB 888) to re-authorize these exclusive raffles.

Action step: Please take a moment to sign onto this letter urging a comprehensive audit of these raffles and this program before it is reauthorized. We can’t let this large-scale experiment with pro sports teams raffles continue without a review of what’s happened in the three years since they were authorized.

You can add your organization's name here

Over 1,000 reviews written during year one: Help us get to 2,000!

One year ago, CalNonprofits and our partners launched the GrantAdvisor website to increase transparency and dialogue between nonprofits and foundations.

Hundreds of nonprofit staff from across the country participated in this new experiment, writing over 1,250 reviews where they shared their experiences and insights about more than 450 funders.

Data from the reviews populates a profile for each foundation, with information that’s helpful for nonprofit staff- like tips on applying, and average time it takes to complete a grant application. There's also information funders can use- like ratings and feedback on their grant processes and accessibility. Over 70 foundations now have published profiles and 26 of them are located in California.

Can you guess which foundations these reviews are written about?

1. “The program officers are very responsive, feel free to contact them with questions. Also do your research, this funder is VERY specific (and somewhat unusual) with what they fund.” See the funder and 5 more reviews.

2. "....was great throughout the process. They had some very tough follow-up questions that really helped us improve our overall grant-writing process. Be prepared and detailed in your proposal and be ready to answer their tough, relevant, and constructive questions. Even if you aren't funded, going through their process can reap rewards from helping your organization to improve in grant writing." See the funder and 20 more reviews.

3. “Like most foundations, they are up to their eyeballs in applicants, and they push you (HARD) to get through the first doors. It's worth it, as once you get through, you've passed their muster, and they consider you worthy of ongoing support. Plus, they are interested in making general op grants, which are the best, and rarest grants in our field." See the funder and 11 more reviews.

4. "My comments are focused on their work in GLOBAL HEALTH. Don't bother applying unless you are an academic, and one in their already vetted community. Despite their RFPs, they are not innovative or risking-taking in terms of implementation or funding new initiatives." See the funder and 8 more reviews.

5. “They're by invite only and the process includes an incredibly thorough vetting of organizational infrastructure, performance, and leadership.” See the funder and 5 more reviews

GrantAdvisor is intended to create more of a dialogue between nonprofits and foundations, and we’re grateful to the nearly 400 foundation employees who have registered on GrantAdvisor to read and respond to reviews and answer questions about their foundation processes or priorities.

A crowd-sourced site like GrantAdvisor can’t work without a crowd: that's you!

While we’re excited that 26 California foundation profiles are now live, we know there’s a lot of room to grow. Funder profiles are published after there's been at least 5 reviews written about a funder. There are 7 California foundation profiles that already have 3 or 4 reviews written about them (see list below), and their profile will go live after just 1 or 2 more reviews are written.

Spend a few minutes checking out the site, and seeing if a foundation you’ve worked with now has a profile on GrantAdvisor. If you have another five minutes, pay it forward by and write a review of a funder that you've worked with.

On this one-year anniversary, we extend a big thank you to our partners who helped put this together: the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and Great Nonprofits. We’re also grateful to the funders who supported this project, and to the reviewers who made this site happen by writing, reading, and sharing reviews, and to the foundation staff who are registering and responding to the reviews.

Want to help keep the momentum going? Write a review!
These seven California funders will go live after 1 or 2 more reviews are written- your review could be the one!

1) Atkinson Family Foundation (La Jolla)

2) Fund for Nonviolence (Santa Cruz)

3) The Leo M Shortino Foundation (San Jose)

4) Marin Community Foundation (Novato)

5) Richmond Community Foundation (Richmond)

6) Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (Los Altos)

7) United Way of the Bay Area (San Francisco)

CalNonprofits Policy Convention: Nonprofits Standing up for California is coming to Los Angeles in October!

On Thursday, October 18th, nonprofit leaders from around California will come together in Los Angeles to learn, debate, speak, and network at the CalNonprofits Policy Convention. This year the convention will center around the theme “Nonprofits Standing up for California” reflecting how the nonprofit community is working in new and innovative ways during a time of natural disasters and political turmoil. We hope you can join in these important conversations!

We are thrilled to announce that we have two dynamic keynote speakers:

Tamika Butler is the CEO of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust and is an outspoken activist and engaging speaker on racial justice, economic equity, and transportation planning.



Vu Le is the executive director of the Rainier Valley Corps and the creator of NonprofitAF.com, a popular website that takes on both the serious and the funny issues nonprofit employees encounter every day.



Click here
to register

Interested in being a sponsor? We have sponsorships available at every level, including one Presenting Sponsor. Sponsoring the convention supports California’s nonprofit community while also putting your company’s name and products and services in front of nonprofit leaders from around the state, before, during, and after the convention. Click here to see our sponsorship packages and please contact Dishauna Castro with any questions.
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Webinar: We All Count: Tackling the 2020 Census Together
Tuesday, July 31st, 11:00AM to 12:00PM
Join us for an in-depth discussion about what’s at stake for our state, what the challenges will be, and why our government, nonprofits, and philanthropy will have to work together to prevent an undercount in California.
Register here
Webinar: How Nonprofit Staff Can Get Student Loan Forgiveness
Wednesday, August 1st, 11:00AM to 12:00PM (Pacific)
Christina Dragonetti, Nonprofit Student Debt Project Manager, will explain about repayment plans to lower monthly payments, and how to qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF)
Register here
Los Angeles: Tax Seminar for Nonprofit and Exempt Organizations
Wednesday, August 8th, 8:30AM to 12:30PM
CalNonprofits is helping to coordinate this seminar with the California Dept. of Tax and Fee Administration
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Sacramento: Association of California Symphony Orchestras Annual Conference
Jan Masaoka is a panelist on the Arts and Policy Panel and also speaking at a breakout session
Friday, August 10th
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Fullerton: Gianneschi 2017 Summer School for Nonprofits Conference
Jan Masaoka will be speaking
Tuesday August 14th
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Fresno Town Hall
Join Jan Masaoka and Nancy Berlin for an intimate opportunity to discuss legislation impacting nonprofits and to hear from local leaders. This event is co-sponsored by Central Valley Community Foundation, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, California Valley Chapter, and Fresno State Humanics Department
Thursday, August 30th
Click here for more information
San Bernardino: Inland Empire Community Collaborative Conference
Jan Masaoka is keynoting this conference
Friday, October 5th
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Los Angeles: CalNonprofits Policy Convention
Thursday, October 18th, Los Angeles
Join with 300 nonprofit leaders, funders, and supporters.
For more information, visit our conference page 

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