New Posts

Feb 8, 2016

Top 400 Taxpayers See Tax Rates Rise, But There’s More to the Story

As Americans were gathering party supplies to greet the New Year, the Internal Revenue Service released their annual report of cumulative tax data reported on the 400 tax r...

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Feb 4, 2016

Chlorine Bleach Plants Needlessly Endanger 63 Million Americans

Chlorine bleach plants across the U.S. put millions of Americans in danger of a chlorine gas release, a substance so toxic it has been used as a chemical weapon. Greenpeace’s new repo...

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Jan 25, 2016

U.S. Industrial Facilities Reported Fewer Toxic Releases in 2014

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data for 2014 is now available. The good news: total toxic releases by reporting facilities decreased by nearly six percent from 2013 levels. Howe...

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Jan 22, 2016

Methane Causes Climate Change. Here's How the President Plans to Cut Emissions by 40-45 Percent.

  UPDATE (Jan. 22, 2016): Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its proposed rule to reduce methane emissions...

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Super (Loud) PACs and Soft-spoken Issue Advocates

Outside groups are spending nearly 1,300 percent more on broadcast advertising for the 2012 election than they did in 2008, according to an analysis released on Jan. 30. This is the clearest demonstration yet that Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has fundamentally rewritten the rules for political spending.

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New Tools to Help Advocates with Campaign Finance Data

A new site,, is acclaimed as "a central source for all federal and state campaign contributions made in the last twenty years." The Sunlight Foundation teamed up with the National Institute on Money in State Politics and the Center for Responsive Politics, and by merging data from these groups, produced a new development in the availability of campaign finance data.

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Should Cell Phone Companies Have Control Over Nonprofits' Messaging?

Over two years ago, we reported that Verizon Wireless prohibited the content in a text message campaign from Naral Pro-Choice America because they claimed, "it had the right to block 'controversial or unsavory' text messages." The issue of whether or not wireless phone companies can restrict what nonprofits say in a text message to its members has come up again.  An opinion article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy discusses these issues, written by Vincent Stehle a philanthropic consultant.

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Funding for Social Innovation Fund

The appropriations omnibus bill includes an increased budget for national service programs and provides 50 million for the new Social Innovation Fund. This is significant considering the House had earlier voted to spend only 35 million on the program.

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NCRP Report Confirms Return on Investment in Advocacy

New research from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), a national foundation watchdog organization, concludes that public policy work is an effective strategy to address societal issues. A majority of grantmakers have traditionally steered away from funding public policy, grassroots advocacy, and other civic engagement activities. However, studies continue to show that advocacy work is vital to advancing a nonprofit organization's mission. The NCRP finding that there is such a great return on investment in advocacy could resonate with funders.

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Foundations Are Increasing Their Support of Advocacy

A new report from the Foundation Center found that foundations are increasing their support of advocacy to help the poor and other disadvantaged people. Specifically, giving to social-justice causes grew by nearly 31 percent from 2002 to 2006. The report, Social Justice Grantmaking II, was based on interviews with grantmakers and advocates.

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A Look at the Social Innovation Office

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has an interview with Melody Barnes, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, and Sonal Shah, who heads the new White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.

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Summary of national service organization and volunteer prohibited activities

The summary below covers existing restrictions on recipients of Corporation and National Community Service funding and, as changed in the Serve America Act, courtesy of the Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest.

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Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act Waiting for Obama's Signature

The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act has just passed Congress and is now ready for President Obama to sign the measure into law. The House passed the Serve America Act with a vote of 275-149. The bill amends the National and Community Service Act of 1990 and will create two new service-learning programs.

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Foundation Watchdog Releases Report on Enhancing Impact of Philanthropy

The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), a national foundation watchdog organization, recently released a report titled Criteria for Philanthropy at its Best: Benchmarks to Assess and Enhance Grantmaker Impact. The report recommends four criteria and ten accompanying benchmarks for how grantmakers should improve their giving and management.

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Resources & Research

Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards

People of color and people living in poverty, especially poor children of color, are significantly more likely...

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A Tale of Two Retirements: One for CEOs and One for the Rest of Us

The 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion, equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American fam...

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