Reposition Yourself: A Discussion for Current & Emerging Nonprofit Leaders

Rollins College. Aerial Photo overlooking Lake Virginia. Photo: Scott Cook.The Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership’s 3rd Annual Leadership Panel: “Reposition Yourself: A Discussion for Current & Emerging Nonprofit Leaders”.

Learn from this panel of distinguished Central Florida nonprofit leaders about what drives them and how they have such a prolific impact on their employees, organizations and the community. Attendees will receive valuable insights into questions such as how to become a recognized leader in your organization, how to position yourself as a strong candidate in the selection process, what people and resources you should seek within your organization to take the next step in your career, and how to inspire staff, donors and beneficiaries alike.


  • Kyle Johnson, VP, Chief Sustainability Officer at Lighthouse Central Florida
  • Catherine McManus, President and CEO at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando
  • Anthony Sudler, Chief Development Officer at Nemours Children’s Hospital
  • Heather Wilkie, Executive Director at Zebra Coalition
  • Karen Willis, CEO at Early Learning Coalition of Orange County

Panel Moderator: Margaret Linnane, Executive Director, Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership at Rollins College

The event is FREE and open to the public.

Date: Friday, May 19, 2017
8:30 a.m. Networking, 9 a.m. Panel Discussion, 10 a.m. Q&A

Register >>

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Board Members and Financial Oversight

By: Kate Martin, J.D., Edyth Bush InstituteKate_Headshot

As board members, we have heard that our responsibilities include overseeing a nonprofit’s assets, operational accounts, and reserve accounts, and ensuring proper financial safeguards and policies are in place. What does this mean?

If you’re like me, you instantly think of a front-page newspaper article announcing theft, insolvency or squandering of nonprofit funds. (Oh My!) While preventing such behavior is part of it, financial oversight also means using financial information to improve nonprofit performance.

Naturally, boards should establish strong financial systems with detailed financial reports, and good policies & controls (i.e. two signatures on large checks or prior board approval for large expenditures) to prevent financial malfeasance. Once policies are in place, we should continue to be vigilant and thoughtful about those systems and policies. Do not hesitate to question reports or systems if you do not understand them, lack confidence in, need clarification, or see a possible irregularity.

Board members also should consider financial information during decision making. New ideas or programs to better fulfill the mission? Great! But first, turn to the financials – they inform us how the nonprofit is fulfilling its mission and strategy. Will our nonprofit cover its costs? If we spend the money on this does it provide a real benefit in programs and services? What’s the ROI: the impact it will have on our constituents and community? Does spending follow the priorities of the strategic plan? These questions and others you think of can be your guide.

We need to be careful though. As the saying goes, don’t miss the forest for the financial trees. A balance must be struck between relying on financial information and paying close attention to other aspects of our organization’s performance. Financial information can tell us about performance, but it does not tell us why it happened, or how we can better serve our constituents. Keep the financials and the financial policies in mind but do not let them impede nonprofit creativity in fulfilling our mission.

Also see William P. Ryan, “Financial Responsibilities of Boards” in the Nonprofit Quarterly.

Sign up to attend Kate’s workshop, Legal and Ethical Issues for Nonprofit Boards on March 28, 2017. Sign up online at

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In Tax Reform, Declines in Charitable Giving Could be an Unintended Consequence of Simplifying the Code


I hope you will take a look at the blog written by Sabeen Perwaiz, CEO of the Florida Nonprofit Alliance. It is important that every nonprofit organization have conversations at the board level about potential reductions in government funding as well as the potential loss of individual donations if the move to an expanded standardized deduction reduces the number of individual donors because they no longer take a deduction for charitable giving. I encourage you to discuss a few “what if” scenarios with your boards. “What if our government funding is suddenly reduced by 25%? 50%?” “What if our total donations from individuals are reduced by 25%? 50%”?” Planning will be key.

Margaret Linnane
Executive Director, Rollins College Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership

Below is a copy of Sabeen’s blog post:

In Tax Reform, Declines in Charitable Giving Could be an Unintended Consequence of Simplifying the Code

By Sabeen Perwaiz, CEO, Florida Nonprofit Alliance

Recently, I went to Washington, D.C., and joined with more than 200 nonprofit leaders from across the nation representing a diverse group of charities to urge lawmakers to protect charitable giving in America. We gathered as part of the Charitable Giving Coalition’s “100 Years of Giving Fly-in.”

As Congress continues to tackle the largest, most comprehensive re-write of our tax code in more than 30 years, congressional leaders have made clear that one major objective is to simplify the rules for individual taxpayers. I think most Americans would welcome this relief from the over-complicated and conflicting tax code we all follow today.

But, simplifying the tax code could create major pitfalls for America’s charities.

Under the current tax code, a little more than 30 percent of taxpayers itemize their deductions. They are eligible to take the charitable deduction, and many clearly do. Giving USA reported that individual giving in America accounted for more than $265 billion to charities in 2015. Over 80 percent of those dollars are given by taxpayers who itemize and use the charitable deduction.

Why does this matter? As lawmakers aim to simplify the tax code, one appealing proposal is to raise the amount of the standard deduction and allow far more taxpayers to take the standard deduction rather than itemize. That probably sounds good to most itemizers – more certainty and less expensive tax preparation.

But there’s a consequence. Under at least one proposed scenario, an expanded standard deduction would leave only 5 percent of taxpayers who would itemize. So, only 5 percent of taxpayers would have the charitable deduction available to them.

That is one of the reasons why I joined with my colleagues to urge our lawmakers to maintain the full scope and value of the charitable deduction, as well as its possible expansion.

We also offered a solution – a universal charitable deduction available to all taxpayers. Regardless of income level, all American taxpayers should receive an incentive to give to charity. If the tax incentive is broadly available to all taxpayers, it will:

  • Increase giving, in terms of both dollars and donors
  • Increase fairness by treating all taxpayers’ contributions equally
  • Provide modest tax relief to middle- and lower-income taxpayers

Research confirms that, regardless of income level, taxpayers who receive a deduction for their contributions give more to charities than those that do not receive a deduction. Expanding a tax incentive to all taxpayers could increase overall charitable giving in America. It might also offset any declines in charitable giving resulting from any inherent uncertainty created by tax reform.

We also proposed that Congress not place limitations – such as floors or caps – on the charitable deduction. Here too, studies from diverse research institutions indicate that charitable giving would decline by billions of dollars annually if floors or caps are imposed.

Florida Nonprofit Alliance will continue to keep you informed and work with the Charitable Giving Coalition to navigate the best possible outcome for America’s charities in this tax reform process. Since its founding in 2009, the CGC has been dedicated to preserving a charitable giving incentive that ensures that our nation’s charities receive the funds necessary to fulfill their essential philanthropic missions.


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2017 Tax Briefing for Nonprofits

Rules are changing each and every year that impact nonprofit organizations bottom line. Savvy nonprofit organizations learn about the newest state and federal tax changes for adapting in the nonprofit market place.

Free to members and nonmembers 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017
8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.

8:30 AM: Networking
9:00 AM: Program

Register online now at

Continental Breakfast Included (Any nonprofit staff and board members may attend, seating is limited, registration is required)

Presenter: Kevin Margiatto, CPA, Senior Manager, WithumSmith+Brown

Sponsored by WithumSmith+Brown

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Giving Thanks by Giving Back

Professionals from WithumSmith+Brown, CPAs got out of the office and into their communities this week to help local charities during the firm’s 5th Annual Withum Week of Caring.

November 23, 2016 – WithumSmith+Brown, Certified Public Accountants and Consultants, conducted its 5th Annual “Withum Week of Caring”, sending everyone in their organization out into their communities to volunteer their time during the three days before Thanksgiving. With over 800 professionals across the firm’s 14 offices, the accounting staff helped 47 different charitable organizations, donating over 2,100 hours of time.

“This is our favorite outreach event of the year because of the number of people and organizations involved,” says Bill Hagaman, Withum’s CEO and managing partner.  “Giving back to local charities is an important part of our firm’s culture. This being our fifth year of holding Withum Week of Caring, it was once again a great success thanks to the many generous people of our firm.”

From serving food to a local homeless shelter to repairing and painting houses, Withum staff enjoy this special time to roll up their sleeves and donate their time and talents.  “We were excited to partner with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando to assist in building homes for an outstanding organization,” says Lena Combs, a partner in Withum’s Orlando office and the organizer of Friday’s event with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando. “In addition to the team building and comradery that our group of thirty volunteers experienced, we were honored to be able to take part in building a neighborhood for those in need in our community.”

Established in 1974, Withum is a top-30 nationally ranked public accounting and advisory firm with 800 staff members and annual revenue of $140+ million. Offices are located throughout New Jersey (five locations, including its Princeton headquarters); New York City, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Boston, MA; Orlando, FL; Aspen, CO; and the Cayman Islands. The firm also is a member of HLB International, a worldwide network of independent professional accounting firms and business advisors committed to assisting clients build and expand globally.


Withum staff kicked off Withum Week of Caring on Friday, November 18 by volunteering at a Habitat for Humanity build site in Orlando, FL.


Withum staff worked with Clean the World in Orlando, FL to assist sorting soap and other various hygiene products received from hotels, which are recycled and distributed to impoverished areas around the world.

*WithumSmith+Brown is a sponsor of the Edyth Bush Institute financial series of workshops for nonprofit organizations.

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