There’s nothing like fantastic food and sangria to get a meeting off to a great start. On Friday Jan. 7 the Chronicle of Philanthropy hosted a dinner for Nonprofit Law and Philanthropy Section of AALS at Taberna del Alabardero, in Washington, D.C. Diana Aviv, President and CEO of of Independent Sector, shared her perspective on the political climate facing nonprofits. Although surveys indicate the sector is valued on the Hill, she believes that both the charitable deduction and the definition of §501(c)(3) could be at stake after the 2012 elections.
The section’s panel on Saturday, The Personal Price of Nonprofit Activity, reminded me how lucky we are to live in the US, where the personal price of nonprofit activity is confined to the possibility of harmed reputations and hurt feelings. Douglas Rutzen, President of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, and Wan Yanhai, Director of Beijing Aizhixing Institute, told harrowing stories of efforts in repressive countries to undermine nonprofits. The price of nonprofit activity in these countries can be harassment, bodily harm, imprisonment, and even death. In contrast, Linda Sugin of Fordham and I spoke about the dangers of relying on the media to enforce the duty of care and on the stereotype of founder’s syndrome, respectively. Judith Areen from Georgetown moderated the panel and spoke of the protections that dual governance provides in a collegiate setting. I have provided more details about these talks in the attachment.
Many thanks to Norm Silber and the board for a very successful conference. Thanks, too, to Norm, for his service as Chair of the Committee, and welcome to Dana Brakman Reiser, who is the new Chair.
Associate Professor of Law
Vermont Law School
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South Royalton, VT 05068