Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I just received an issue of the Massachusetts nonprofit news, which states that nearly 7,000 nonprofit institutions in Massachusetts have just lost their tax-exempt status. This loss of status is the result of hardball tactics employed by the IRS, which is requiring public disclosure of financial documents in compliance with a nearly-unknown 2006 law. The IRS states that, after years of publicizing its intentions and trying to contact the listed nonprofits, it believes that the vast majority of status-losing organizations simply no longer exist. Let's hope that's the case.

I get it that sometimes only the ultimate consequence works. However, I have read the list of 6,900 nonprofits. The high number of obvious labor unions on the list is troubling and smacks of political motivation. The presence on the list of the Carol DiMaiti Stuart Foundation is puzzling; I once met one of its founders, and I worry that depression -- not concealment -- may have been behind any lack of response to letters and such. The same may be true of two Sarah Pryor memorial groups. In addition, there are a large number of veterans' organizations present...the disorganized responses of some with PTSD come to mind. The Gloucester Stage Company is on the list, and so are surprisingly high numbers of PTA, children-centered, and GLBT-focused agencies. Also, there are a large number of Elks, Jaycees, and Knights of Columbus groups. Lots of fraternities, too. I'm sad to see Raising Our Children's Children on the list. It used to have some affiliation with Adoptive Families Together, where I worked -- and I know that ever more grandparents are raising their children's children.

I am pleased to see that the Parrot Head Club of Eastern Massachusetts will no longer be tax exempt. I always hated Jimmy Buffet. But I'm sad to see included Robin Lane Productions -- putting the era of the Chartbusters very much to rest -- and the Sunny Joe White Foundation. Amusingly, the Cape and Islands Paranormal Foundation is on the list, as are Project Elf, Incorporated, East Coast Pirates, and (literally) The Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Framingham Trivia Foundation, Incorporated, must have been too trivial. The Garden Club of Malden never contacted me when I lived in Malden, so it deserves to lose its status! The Plum Island Community Airfield is still landing planes, so let's hope it has switched to for-profit status, or it will be in trouble. The Williams College branch of Habitat for Humanity is included, and so is the Harvard Law School Black Alumni -- hope Obama is aware. And hope Gingrich is aware that the Hunt Asylum for Destitute Children (orphanage or workhouse? he has favored both!) is no longer tax-exempt. Get this: Tea Party, Inc., lost its status. If only I could believe that was the political party!

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