Charities must speak up

By Todd Cohen

Charities need to raise their voice to keep from losing it.

Congress, already itching to gag charities getting federal funds, is poised to toughen charitable regulation and policing because of scandal and excess at some charities.

But instead of pushing lawmakers to write laws to make charitable organizations more open, and foundations and donors more generous, charities claim they can police themselves.

The price of denial likely will be backlash far more painful than if charities owned up to their flaws and spoke up for tougher rules and enforcement.

North Carolina charities also are failing to fight for tougher policing.

The state Secretary of State’s Office let a statewide teachers group off the hook for failing to report its cost for radio ads pushing lawmakers to okay a state lottery.

The office says the ads were lobbying but that state law requires disclosing only lobbying costs that “benefit” lawmakers.

And the teachers group says a “vendor”, not a “lobbyist”, made the ads.

America needs leaders willing to fix their own flaws and flawed public policies.

Instead of denial, waffling and over-reaching, charities, regulators and lawmakers should lead.

That requires being open, honest and willing to work together for change.

Todd Cohen is the Editor and Publisher of the Philanthropy Journal.

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