Archive for June, 2012

Internship: Behind The Scenes!

Posted on June 25, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Today, HR4Non-Profits volunteered with Global Explorers Kids. Global Explorers Kids is a non-profit organization that establishes after school art education programs to children and youth typically from low-income communities. The organization seeks to integrate art and culture through educating children about cultural traditions and practices around the globe. From this, Global Explorers Kids fosters tolerance, peace, and acceptance of other countries and cultural traditions. This organization has also assisted other non-profits, like All About Kids Learning Academy, in which Global Explorers Kids brought their own funding to aid the organization.

Working alongside the HR4Non-Profits team, we assisted Global Explorers Kids by establishing a curriculum base for incoming teachers to familiarize themselves with and utilize within the classroom. The curriculum centered on art activities that are representative of other cultures. Some of the activities, like mask crafting, reminded me of high school Spanish class when we’d celebrate the Mexican holiday, Dia De Los Muertos, and create Halloween-type masks.

Working alongside the HR4Non-Profits team, we assisted Global Explorers Kids by establishing a curriculum base for incoming teachers to familiarize themselves with and utilize within the classroom. The curriculum centered on art activities that are representative of other cultures. Some of the activities, like mask crafting, reminded me of high school Spanish class when we’d celebrate the Mexican holiday, Dia De Los Muertos, and create Halloween-type masks.

In addition to coordinating a curriculum, the team and I also researched grant funding opportunities for Global Explorers Kids so the organization can keep their afterschool arts education program up and running. It is important for non-profits to receive outside help from various foundations so they can expand their non-profit organization and further progress.

Thus far, I’m enjoying my time interning at HR4Non-Profits. I feel as though I’m helping humanity by uncovering the harsh realities that face poverty-stricken Chicago communities while simultaneously trying to solve them. I enjoy working alongside the HR4Non-Profits staff. Everyone is extremely resourceful and team-driven, two very essential aspects to having a successful organization.

For information on grant writing/funding and much more, call the HR4NON-PROFITS team at  630.830.4443 or visit our website at www.hr4nonprofits.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Also for more information on Global Explorers Kids, visit their website  http://globalexplorerskids.org/

 

Alyssa Zavislak

Cornell College

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2nd Week Complete!

Posted on June 18, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

This second week has been both eventful and exciting. Myself, along with a few other interns, engaged in a lot of research centered on common illnesses within the far south side of Chicago. We looked at how citizens in the south side areas of Chicago, such as Roseland and Riverdale, lack the adequate resources for quality healthcare.  I found myself engrossed with this research and constantly discovering new statistics that put this harsh reality in perspective for these south side citizens. These harsh problems range from a lack of transportation to a lack of quality grocery stores within these neighborhoods.

Being from the middle-class suburbs of Chicago, it’s difficult for me to imagine not having access or a means to travel to a local grocery store, such as Jewel or Dominick’s. For me, these exist on every main street and are visible in every town. From doing this research, it’s easy to assume that such issues arise due to an overall height in poverty. However, if you look more closely, you will find that such issues arise because of a multitude of things within such communities, such as infrastructural problems or less informative knowledge regarding common illnesses like diabetes and breast cancer.

Poverty is used as this umbrella term to describe poorer and less developed communities. However, poverty is both a cause and effect for many issues that communities are burdened with and I think people often fail to recognize that. From doing this research on central issues within Chicago’s south side, it’s evident that poverty is a result from what the south side communities lack as well as a cause that keeps the communities from obtaining resources to solve the many problems that exist. I hope that by doing this research and completing this internship that I will gain a better understanding of the root factors that perpetuates issues of unemployment and income disparity, just a few of the problems that are prominent in the world we live in today.

Alyssa Zavislak

Cornell College

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DO THE RIGHT THING

Posted on June 17, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Codes of ethics are underlying rules that guide the conduct of organizations, specifically the persons who are involved in the organization’s operation.  Non-profit organizations are not exempt from operating under a code of ethics.  In fact, non-profits rely so heavily on the public that a breach in trust between the organization and the public can be the death knell of the organization.  So, it is especially important that the organization have a written code of ethics in place.  But before putting pen to paper to write an organizational code of ethics, perhaps a basic understanding of a few definitions is in order.

In their book “The Ethics Challenge in Public Service,” Carol W. Lewis and Stuart C. Gilman offer several definitions that they say will help to get a clear vision of what constitutes ethical conduct.  Lewis and Gilman start by defining character as “a sort of internal gyroscope that helps a person distinguish right from wrong.”  Next, they define moral character as “being associated with attributes such as honesty and fidelity.”  Moral choice is described as “the simple choice between right and wrong” and moral judgments are described aswhat individuals must make when they find themselves between the rock and hard place of incongruent duties and conflicting claims — the stuff of ethical dilemmas.”  Finally, Lewis and Gilman state that ethics involves thinking systematically about morals and conduct and making moral choices about right and wrong when faced with ethical dilemmas.”

Woods Bowman, Ph.D., of DePaul University in Chicago points out that when attempting to resolve ethical dilemmas, there are a few fundamental considerations for nonprofit organizations.  Bowman states, “A nonprofit organization exits for its client group and has accountability to it; therefore, the organization has a fiduciary duty, that is, a duty of care, loyalty and obedience to its clients.  The organization also has a duty under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (http://www.sec.gov/about/laws/soa2002.pdf ) to be transparent with the public in matters of management and accounting; therefore, the organization needs to have a written policy addressing document retention and periodic destruction.  A third area that the organization must consider is compensation, particularly for persons who exercise substantial control over the organization.  And the organization must consider and ensure that officers and directors avoid conflicts of interest.  Bowman points out that “there is no law on conflicts, but the new Form 990 asks about the existence of a policy, whether directors and officers are required to disclose annually and whether the organization monitors and enforces compliance.”  “Not every ethical lapse results from evil intent.”  Nevertheless, making a choice, which happens to be unethical, is never simply harmless error.  The organization must be vigilant to do the right thing.

For information on ethics policy development and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, call the HR4NON-PROFITS team at 630.830.4443 or visit our website at http://www.hr4nonprofits.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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First Week Down!

Posted on June 12, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

This past Friday, the HR4Non-Profits team volunteered at Benton House located within the Chicagoland area. We assisted with Benton House’s food pantry which allowed us to see how non-profits work and are actively engaged within the community. It was exciting to see the impact of this community project upon the citizens of Chicago. There is a different perspective gained when you choose to volunteer as opposed to just reading about some harsh reality that a community is facing. The people at Benton House were appreciative of our dedication and look forward to volunteering with us in the future. I’m excited to continue volunteering on Fridays with the team and become acquainted with more Chicago communities and non-profit organizations.

In addition to volunteering, our team at HR4Non-Profits has been brainstorming and outlining ideas for various projects ranging from dealing with business CEOs to marketing strategies. It’s interesting to collaborate with people from various academic backgrounds and provide our input towards a diverse spectrum of projects.

Individually, I hope to learn more about the non-profit sector and also engage the public more with non-profit organizations. As a team, we hope to develop strategies, solutions, and support for non-profit organizations as well as some government institutions. I’m looking forward to being an active member and contributor to this process and to assist in the development of solutions necessary given the obstacles businesses face.

Alyssa Zavislak

Cornell College

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First Days of the Internship

Posted on June 7, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized |

This week, I started my internship at HR4Non-Profits, a full service, human resources consulting organization that seeks to assist the non-profit sector. During the first two days, I was introduced to the company’s overall goals, which are centered on the progression and transformation of non-profit organizations.

Furthermore, Theresa Dear, the founder and President of HR4Non-Profits, also discussed her personal motivations behind creating the organization and reminded me how crucial it is to have a personal connection with the non-profit organization I am assisting.

Apart from being introduced to the organization’s overarching mission and goals, I learned about the company’s business approach, which consists of seven steps that foster success. This approach can best be summed up and memorized using the C-Scale Approach.

  1. Cause
  2. Connection
  3. Correction
  4. Correlation

After learning about how the primary focus of HR4Non-Profits is having a connection and genuine concern for the non-profit you are assisting, I felt eager to learn about my role within this organization and what challenges I would face through engaging with the non-profit sector. I feel that this internship will provide me with a fulfilling, hands-on experience. I’m looking forward to learning more about the non-profit sector and the challenges non-profit organizations face in terms of human resources and progressing in contemporary society. This internship will provide me with an experience that most interns fail to receive, since I will be completing purposeful projects, such as research and the management of social networking, while also engaging with non-profit organizations through volunteering and seeing the real problems that organizations face to gain success. I look forward to starting my projects for this internship and learning more about what it takes to be successful and the role non-profits have in society. I’m both excited and proud to be working with a consulting business that helps the non-profit sector, an area that sometimes gets forgotten by businesses.

HR4Non-Profits definitely establishes a dynamic team of people and I’m excited to work with them. All the interns seem to exemplify a diverse academic and geographical background and I look forward to tackling these projects as a team. As a team, we bring in different perspectives and I think we have the capability of helping the company progress while also allowing us individually to grow and gain more leadership qualities. I’m grateful to have been given this experience and look forward to what’s to come.

Alyssa Zavislak

Cornell College

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BE TRUE TO THE CAUSE!

Posted on June 3, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

When nonprofit organizations are getting started, there are numerous steps that must be taken.  For example, being exempt from paying federal taxes is not a benefit that automatically accrues.   If a nonprofit organization desires to be excused from paying federal taxes on funds that are raised, it must file an application for and be classified as a tax exempt organization.  But the organization’s tax exempt status does not begin or end with being classified as tax exempt.  Its fundraising must benefit the charitable cause to which it has pledged its service and support.  This is, in fact, the reason that nonprofit organizations are supposed to raise funds: to support worthy causes that benefit those in our society who would otherwise remain marginalized and in need.  To raise funds in the name of a cause and then fail to provide to those in need is a red flag that something may be amiss.

This is the thought behind an investigation of the Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization.  The DVNF, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, has held itself out as raising money to benefit disabled veterans.  However, after several years of investigating and recent reporting on Anderson Cooper’s AC360 (www.ac360.com ) Keeping Them Honest segment, Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana), Chairman of the Finance Committee of the United States Senate announced that an investigation into the charity is warranted.  Senator Baucus stated that he had never heard of the DVNF until the AC360 Keeping Them Honest report, which caused him to think that the organization was not legitimate due to its paying more than $56 million to a direct mail company rather than spending the money to aid disabled veterans.  http://cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2012/05/17/ac-kth-veterans-charity-under-scrutiny.cnn Senator Baucus further stated that the investigation is needed to determine whether DVNF deserves to keep its tax-exempt status.

Needless to say, claiming tax exemption on funds that do not actually benefit or meet the needs of the proposed beneficiaries can have negative consequences such as loss of tax exempt status.  However, there can be far more dire consequences, such as jail time or paying tens of thousands of dollars in fines, if the organization is found to have intentionally filed fraudulent returns or attempted to evade paying taxes.  Senator Baucus stated that, “The tax exemption for charities exists to promote worthwhile causes like assistance to veterans, not to provide tax loopholes to abuse.”

So, while there are financial benefits that accrue to nonprofit organizations, like exemptions from paying federal taxes, the financial benefit to the nonprofit organization is not the reason that people contribute to charities.  Donors expect that the majority of their contributions will benefit a cause not pad someone’s pockets.  And while your organization may not come under the scrutiny of Anderson Cooper’s AC360, your organization should exercise diligence to honor the cause to which your donors have contributed.  Remember: be true to the ‘cause’!

For a free consultation and more information on federal tax exempt status for nonprofit organizations call the HR4NON-PROFITS team at 630.830.4443 or visit our website at http://www.hr4nonprofits.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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