Bryan Tuk Named to Board of Directors of Pittsburgh Youth Chorus

Bryan Tuk has been named to the Board of Directors of the Pittsburgh Youth Chorus.  "We are delighted to welcome Bryan Tuk to our board of directors." said Edwina French, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Youth Chorus.  "His legal expertise, coupled with his knowledge and personal experiences working with non-profits, will be a tremendous asset to Pittsburgh Youth Chorus as we work to increase our outreach in the Pittsburgh region."

"Engaging in the community is incredibly important.  With TLO's continuing expansion into Pittsburgh, this is a terrific opportunity to support a worthy nonprofit arts organization that is doing great work there," said Bryan Tuk. 

As the Pittsburgh region’s leading and premier choral ensemble for young singers, Pittsburgh Youth Chorus is dedicated to enriching lives through professional-level choral education and performance.  Pittsburgh Youth Chorus provides opportunities for a diverse group of children to realize their innate artistic potential and share experiences that enrich their lives while benefiting their families and communities. Over the years, more than 2200 children and teens have participated in PYC's progressive program of choral education, mastering challenging choral repertoire in a variety of genres and languages and receiving a solid education in music theory and vocal production.

Nonprofit Law Update: Pennsylvania Creates Nonprofit LLCs and Benefit Companies

Nonprofit leaders have some new options when it comes to how to organize their business.  Recent changes to Pennsylvania law have paved the way for the easier creation of charitable entities. 

On February 21, 2017, PA Act 170 of 2016 went into effect with the stated purpose modernizing, clarifying, and replacing outdated laws.  Act 170 amends Title 15 (Associations Code) and Title 54 (Names) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.  

In general, Act 170 replaces the 1914 version of general partnerships, limited partnerships and limited liability companies with the Uniform Partnership Act (UPA), the Uniform Limited Partnership Act (ULPA) and the Uniform Limited Liability Company Act (ULLCA). These changes create better consistency between an LLC and Corporation, and clarify taxation and owner protection. 

The big news for nonprofit leaders, however are the provisions of Act 170 which are specifically related to nonprofits, namely the creation of Nonprofit LLCs and Benefit Companies.

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Copyright Law & Marching Arts: The School Concert Exemption

Over the past few months, I have had in depth conversations with WGI, DCI and DCA ensemble directors about Copyright Law and how the changing legal landscape is affecting the Marching and Pageantry Arts.   One of the main discussions is about when performing ensembles fit into the School Concert Exemption of the Copyright Act. 

Let's rewind: The Copyright Act (the "Act") is a federal law that regulates the rights of creators and the rights of third parties to use licensed (i.e. copyrighted) content.  The basic rule is that one cannot legally reproduce, perform or distribute the copyrighted work of another person unless: 1) you have obtained a written license from the rights holder to do so, or 2) your particular use fits into one of the exemptions contained in the Act.  

Note: For the purposes of this discussion, we are not going to talk into the Fair Use Doctrine, which is a subject unto itself. 

One of the exemptions contained in the Act is known as the School Concert Exemption

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Federal Judge Blocks DOL Overtime Regulations

The Fair Labor Standards Act is the federal law that regulates, among other things, overtime pay for US workers. It has been a source of concern for small and big businesses that the US Department of Labor was set to enact - effective December 1, 2016 - a new rule which raised the salary cap below which workers must receive overtime pay from $455 a week to $921 per week (the "Overtime Rule").  In other words, the new Overtime Rule was about to make roughly 4 million more workers eligible for overtime: almost all workers who earned up to $47,892.00 annually. 

This rule applied to all organizations: both for profits and non profits. 

The compliance aspects of this were messy to say the least.  

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Donor Advised Funds: A New Challenge for Nonprofit Fundraising?

DAFs are a relatively new creature, a creation of Wall Street, and while DAFs attract large dollars, they almost certainly siphon dollars from NPOs that legitimately need the cash.  In a profile in the The American Prospect, it is revealed that a Wall Street DAF tops the Chronicle of Philanthropy's newly released annual list of the nation's top grossing charities.  

The winner?  Fidelity Investments' Fidelity Charitable, which raised $4.6 Billion in 2015 alone, $900 Million more than the second place fundraiser. 

Now The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s newly released annual list of the nation’s top-grossing charities threatens to give the sector yet another black eye. Released on October 27, the report does contain some feel-good news about American generosity—overall giving is up by 7 percent, for example. But the ranking contains a startling revelation that could intensify scrutiny of the sector: The growth in what some have dubbed a “Wall Street takeover” of charity.
The report is sure to add plenty of fuel to an already heated debate about so-called donor-advised funds, a philanthropic vehicle that has been popularized by the financial industry. Known as DAFs, the funds function like charitable checking accounts, permitting donors to put money aside for philanthropic purposes, take an immediate tax break, and then “advise” the sponsoring institution on which charitable causes they want to support with that cash. Their exploding financial-sector use means that the nation’s most popular charity in terms of donated dollars is no longer a group like the Red Cross or the Boys & Girls Club of America, but rather Fidelity Charitable, a DAF sponsor created in 1991 by the Boston-based financial firm.
Having raised $4.6 billion in 2015 alone, Fidelity Charitable occupies the number one spot on the Chronicle’s top charities list for the first time ever. The fund took in nearly $900 million more than second-place United Way Worldwide, which had until now held the top spot for all but one of the last 25 years. Two other sponsors of DAFs administered by financial firms—Schwab and Vanguard—also now crowd the ranks of the 15 largest U.S. fundraising organizations. Others that made the top 15 include Catholic Charities USA, the Salvation Army, and Stanford University.

Full story is here. 

Nonprofits Can Share Fundraising Duties

The lifeblood of Nonprofit Organizations (NPOs) is fundraising.  Fundraising is often a mysterious and daunting task for smaller NPOs, and in fact a whole industry has sprung up to service that need with professionals who can, for a fee, create and direct your NPOs fundraising strategy.  Now, a newer model emerges in NPO management circles that calls for spreading the fundraising responsibilities throughout the NPO staff - not just the development team.  

A good read on this topic can be had here