Skip to content


Why People Say There’s A ‘Nonprofit Industrial Complex’

Lots of nonprofits do important work — like, say, In These Times, which is a reader-supported 501(c)(3). But the “nonprofit-industrial complex” refers to the larger ecosystem of elite foundations and corporate influence-peddling. Incite, a network of radical anti-state violence activists, convened a conference to detail this relationship in 2004, titled, “The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex.” Incite had been grant-funded by the Ford Foundation— funding Incite lost because of its support for Palestine. As outlined at the conference, nonprofits that depend on corporate and foundation funding do so often to the detriment of their missions. Time and energy is spent laundering the reputation of corporate funders, for example, rather than on their stated purpose.

New Report: Gilded Giving 2022

We estimate in Gilded Giving 2022 that if foundations had a 10 percent minimum payout and DAFs had a three-year mandated payout between 2018 and 2020, at least $193 billion in additional donations would have flowed to charities. “As wealth concentrates in fewer hands, it causes troubling distortions in the charity sector,” noted Chuck Collins, director of the Charity Reform Initiative at the Institute for Policy Studies and co-author of the report. “When wealthy donors can claim big tax deductions for charitable giving to private foundations that they control in perpetuity, it allows them to opt out of paying their fair share in taxes to support the systems on which we all depend. This effectively enables already powerful multi-millionaires and billionaires to maintain a taxpayer-subsidized form of private power and influence.”

US Charitable Donations Are Funding Displacement Of Palestinians

Several gunshot bangs pierced the sky. Israeli soldiers shot a Palestinian protester with live ammunition. Chants and cheers from Israeli settlers from Modi’in Illit rang out through the air as they stood upon a mound of dirt overlooking the Israeli apartheid wall. Israeli soldiers fired multiple rounds of tear gas into the crowds. As protesters scattered to evade the gas and live fire, young volunteer Palestinian paramedics darted through the tear gas to quickly grab and attend to the injured. That five minutes of Palestinian nonviolent resistance on April 1, 2022, captured the essence of Land Day: Despite facing the heavy hand of the Israeli military, Palestinian protesters and international solidarity activists refused to leave their land.

Healthy Group Accountability: Learning How To Learn

A team of facilitators from our organization, The Wildfire Project, was invited to support a base-building group whose staff was absolutely burnt out. Our first workshop brought their staff together with a volunteer leadership team (from their base) who, until then, had been minimally engaged. Staff shared their overwhelm and laid out their workload. It was clear that unless the whole group took collective ownership and responsibility for the direction of the organization, it would collapse. We ended that first session together on the other side of that breakthrough: feeling grateful, connected, and on-purpose. But the more difficult work began when we came back together to make that vision of shared leadership real.

Creative Associates International: It’s Not Exactly The CIA, But Close Enough

Chevy Chase, MD - You have likely not heard of them, but Creative Associates International (CAI) is one of the largest and most powerful non-governmental organizations operating anywhere in the world. A pillar of soft U.S. power, the group has been an architect in privatizing the Iraqi education system, designed messenger apps meant to overthrow the government of Cuba, served as a front group for the infamous Blackwater mercenary force (now rebranded as Academi), and liaised with Contra death squads in Nicaragua. As such, it has functioned as “both as an instrument of foreign policy and as a manifestation of a broader imperial project,” in the words of Professor Kenneth Saltman of the University of Illinois, Chicago.

How To Turn Your Non-Profit Into A Worker Co-op

If people who want to start a worker-owned cooperative are currently working for a government agency — like we were working for a nonprofit that was contracting with a government agency — but even if you are working directly with a government agency and they're going to outsource your jobs to another company, you have the best expertise that anyone could have for doing your job. And if you form a worker cooperative and put in your own bid, there's nothing to stop you from doing that. And your bid will probably be the most attractive because you know the best of how much things cost, and what to expect in the way of expenses. And you can also address how the work will be done better than anyone else could. And so your chances for keeping your jobs that way are, I think, really good, as as we were able to do. And so I think what we did could be a model for any government employees where they're going to get laid off, and the job is going to be outsourced. All government agencies have to put bids out for proposals.

Baltimore Nonprofits Fail To Pay Their “Fair Share” Of City Services

Last night the City Council ripped off one of the biggest scabs on Baltimore’s body politic – the fact that large nonprofit institutions pay no property taxes. At an informational hearing, the Council heard from advocacy groups who denounced a 2016 agreement with anchor hospitals and universities in which they agreed to pay a total of $6 million a year for their use of city services. Critics have called the Payments in Lieu of Taxes, or PILOT, a “backroom deal” passed by the Board of Estimates to allow the nonprofits to grossly underpay their fair share of taxes through June 2026. Negotiated by former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the deal was approved by Baltimore’s current mayor, Bernard C. “Jack” Young, when he was City Council president.

‘Zero-Tolerance’ Immigration Policy Is Big Money For Contractors, Nonprofits

President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy under the direction of Attorney General Jeff Sessions is big business for U.S. companies — from private prison and tech firms to defense and security contractors — as well as nonprofits. Under bipartisan pressure, Trump signed an executive order Wednesday ending the administration’s controversial child-separation policy. But Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy, in which individuals who enter the U.S. illegally are prosecuted, will continue. All this comes as the country grapples with harrowing images of babies stripped from their mothers’ arms and children playing soccer on the grounds of abandoned Walmart stores along the Southwest border. Trump defended his policy in a campaign speech Wednesday in Minnesota. That came a day after the raid of an Ohio meat plant in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 146 employees accused of being in the country illegally. It was the largest workforce raid in recent history, according to the agency.

Non-Profits Sue Monsanto Over Misleading Labeling Of Popular Herbicide Roundup

By Katherine Paul for Organic Consumers Association - Washington, DC- Two nonprofit organizations filed a lawsuit against Monsanto for misleading the public by labeling its popular weedkiller Roundup as “target[ing] an enzyme found in plants but not in people or pets.” This lawsuit claims this statement is false, deceptive, and misleading, because the enzyme targeted by glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is, in fact, found in people and pets. Beyond Pesticides and Organic Consumers Association (OCA), through their attorneys, Richman Law Group, filed jointly on behalf of the general public in Washington D.C. under the District of Columbia’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act. “The unequivocal nature of Monsanto’s label claim on Roundup belies the complexity of human biology and the impact this highly toxic chemical has on the functioning of the human gut bacteria, essential to our health,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “With this claim, Monsanto is falsely telling the public that its product cannot hurt them,” he said. “Corporations must be held to a high standard when it comes to the information they include on product labels, especially when it comes to the issue of safety,” said Ronnie Cummins...

More Equitable Economy Exists Right Next Door

By Jay Walljasper for AlterNet - Business owners gather at an elegant Montreal event center to celebrate the 20th anniversary of a large-scale economic partnership. The former chief of Quebec’s largest bank is the guest of honor. Sidewalks bustle with people walking in and out of homes, offices, bank, pharmacy, workout studio and coffee shop at Montreal’s Technopole Angus, a development that already sports 56 business with 2500 employees and will eventually encompass a million-square-feet of real estate. Morning-shift workers unload barrels of paper onto conveyor belts emptying into giant shredding machines on the shop floor of Recyclage Vanier, a Quebec City firm specializing in secure disposal of confidential documents.

Congress’s Move To Delay IRS Muzzle Rule Another Year Is Not All Good News

By Adam DeAngeli for Tax Revolution Center - The draft of the House of Representatives’ financial-services appropriations bill contains language very similar to what was passed last year to defund the IRS from implementing the nonprofit muzzle rule. If enforced, the rule would harm the nonprofit community by curtailing their First Amendment right to speech and creating legal exposure for accidentally violating these new draconian limits. It’s well and good that the IRS will be prohibited another year from carrying out this rule, but unfortunately this bill leaves the door open for the IRS to move forward with their mandate the following year.

Cleveland’s Greater University Circle Initiative

By Walter Wright, Kathryn W. Hexter and Nick Downer for Democracy Collaborative - Cities are increasingly turning to their “anchor” institutions as drivers of economic development, harnessing the power of these major economic players to benefit the neighborhoods where they are rooted. This is especially true for cities that are struggling with widespread poverty and disinvestment. Urban anchors— typically hospitals and universities—have sometimes isolated themselves from the poor and struggling neighborhoods that surround them.

Nonprofits: Beware The Hand That Feeds

By Auset Marian Lewis for Tele Sur - Injustice is not happenstance. It’s systemic. Police shoot more unarmed black men than white because the slave system put a target on their backs centuries ago that has never been erased. Racism is in America’s DNA. It is a systemic problem built into the American culture ever since black people were counted as chattel and fed from a pig’s trough. Every American institution from prisons to politics, from Yale to Mizzou is laced with the inextricable venom of the slave system. The American system is so infected with racial injustice that even programs funded to mitigate systemic social and economic problems become fruit of the poisonous tree.

Wall Street Taking Over Nonprofit Sector

By Dan Wright for Shadow Proof - While there has traditionally been a close relationship between Wall Street donors and nonprofit organizations like charities and universities, a new study from the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) reveals a growing Wall Street takeover of nonprofit boards of directors. Using data from what are referred to in the study as major private research universities, elite small liberal arts colleges, and prominent New York City cultural and health institutions, SSIR calculates that “[T]he percentage of people from finance on the boards virtually doubled at all three types of nonprofits between 1989 and 2014.”

Why NonProfits Can’t Lead The 99%

By Warren Marr for Black Agenda Report - A seasoned movement elder examines what happens left organizations are led exclusively by college-educated professionals answerable to self-perpetuating boards and philanthropic funders, what happens when union leaderships free themselves from their memberships, and when community organizations become government contractors. Only membership supported and membership-driven organizations, he suggests, can actually lead the 99%. Warren Mar has written a provocative piece on the role of Community Based Organizations and Worker Centers in the working class movement.
Sign Up To Our Daily Digest

Independent media outlets are being suppressed and dropped by corporations like Google, Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for our daily email digest before it’s too late so you don’t miss the latest movement news.