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Posts from the ‘Special Topics’ Category


Food Nostalgia

The smell and taste of food can be an extraordinarily powerful trigger of nostalgia.  One of my earliest food memories is the smell of homemade bread waifing through the house.  I couldn’t have been more than 3 years old when that yeasty aroma of baking bread forever imprinted on my brain so much so that when I smell bread baking today – nearly 60 years later – I melt with desire (and its not for a man).  All I need is a bread knife and a bit of jam and I’m in heaven.

Lest you think I grew up nourished by homemade bread, let the record be set straight.  Homemade bread ended with the birth of my third or fourth brother. From then on it was Pepperidge Farm white bread, Thomas’s english muffins or white sandwich rolls. The 1960’s and 70’s changed the food landscape and nowhere was that more evident than in the home I grew up in in northern New Jersey.  Out with the fresh and in with shelf stable boxed, canned, and frozen food. Convenience was the priority.  Nutrition wasn’t even an afterthought. Read more »


Executive Compensation at the Alliance Defending Freedom (2020)

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is a tax-exempt, non-profit 501 (c) 3 that is described as a conservative  legal advocacy group that works to curtail rights of LGBTQ people while expanding “christian practices” in public schools and government (who serve all people), and to prevent access to a woman’s right to choose. How do they do this? Primarily through challenges in the legal system and taking on cases that further their mission and goals including the most recent case about a Colorado-based web page designer who “does not want to” (note:  she hasn’t been asked to) create wedding websites for gay couples. Read more »


Executive Compensation at the March of Dimes (2021)

2021 was a better year than 2020 for the March of Dimes with the benchmark being the organization went into a positive net asset position (from a negative $20 million at the end of 2020).  Just eight years ago, the March of Dimes had $75 million in net fund assets and was raising nearly $200 million annually but they were spending more than they raised.  Since then, revenue has declined and the organization went into a negative net fund position because they were spending $8-$27 million more than they raised annually, had to fund a pension/post retirement fund for employees, and had losses on investments. Things were not looking good by 2016 so the organization brought in a new president in 2017 following the retirement of the longtime president. Read more »


A Memorial to Luke: 2009-2022

Luke, my beloved pear-shaped, black and white cat with a big black heart on his chest passed away this week  after suffering from kidney disease.  He came into our lives on August 4, 2009 and he left our lives on August 18, 2022 when he was just 13 years old.

My sweet Luke was supposed to live twenty years (that’s how long everyone told me cats live) so I didn’t expect to be writing a memorial to him in 2022 but kidney disease robbed him of more time so I find myself writing this years before I thought I would have to. I keep thinking it wasn’t suppose to end this soon. Read more »


Where Does $100 to the American Red Cross Go (2021)?

When most people think of the American Red Cross (ARC), they often think of blood collection, testing, and distribution and/or disaster services – both domestic and international and in the most simplistic terms, this is what the ARC is about.

Formally known as the American National Red Cross (the organization is the designated affiliate of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies), ARC was established by Clara Barton in 1881 and given a charter by Congress in 1900 and again in 1905 to carry out humanitarian services. Since that time, the charter has been amended nine times, with the most recent in 2009 to address reforms to the organization. Read more »


Executive Compensation at Johns Hopkins Health System Corporation (2020)

The Johns Hopkins Health System Corporation (JHHSC), along with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is collectively referred to as Johns Hopkins Medicine – an integrated healthcare system that includes the medical school, six hospitals, four healthcare and surgery centers, and 40 outpatient healthcare sites.

Although Johns Hopkins Medicine has numerous non-profits, the focus of this post is the executive compensation at JHHSC (a non-profit 501 (c) (3)  that serves as a support organization for the healthcare system providing management, centralized purchasing, distribution, legal, claims management and other services to support the medical service providers. Read more »


Executive Compensation at the Cruise Lines International Association

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is a Washington, DC-based tax-exempt, non-profit 50 (c) 6 (a trade association) is the world’s largest cruise industry trade association with a worldwide reach to promote the interests of the cruise industry.

There are 27 independent voting members (board members) of the governing body (board), 24 (89%) of whom are male; 3 (11%) are female.

CLIA, as measured by revenue, is a small trade association. Over the past 5 years, the organization has raised $25-$30 million annually, most of which comes from membership dues.  Expenses have typically matched revenue or been slightly below revenue (allowing the organization to accumulate a small amount – $6 million –  of net assets. Read more »


Executive Compensation at the National Futures Association (2020)

In 1974, Congress established the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) as an independent agency of the federal government to regulate the US derivatives market, which includes futures, swaps, and certain types of options.

The National Futures Association (NFA) is a tax-exempt, non-profit 501 (c) 6 business association that is a self-regulatory organization for the US derivatives market.

Sounds almost the same so what’s the difference? Both organizations are working to ensure legal standards are being adhered to but the NFA is only concerned with members of the NFA while operating under the authority of the CFTC. Read more »


Where Does $100 to Paws for Purple Hearts (2020)

Paws for Purple Hearts (PPH)  is a non-profit, tax-exempt (501) (c) (3) that teaches veterans to train service dogs for their fellow veterans with combat-related injuries. The Form 990 (2020) submitted to the IRS indicates PPH raised $7 million in 2018 (compared to $6 million in 2019)  most of which came from contributions, gifts and grants.  The organization has the same address as “Bergin University of Canine Studies” in Penngrove, California, whose president is Bonita Bergen, who is also the president and CEO of PPH.

There are 8 independent voting members on the governing body, 7 of whom are male and 1 a female (the President and CEO, Bonita Bergen).

Read more »


Executive Compensation at the American Beverage Association (2018)

The American  Beverage Association is a Washington, DC-based non-profit 501 (c) (6) trade association representing America’s non-alcoholic beverage industry. Originally established in 1919 as the American Bottlers of Carbonated Beverages, the organization was renamed the National Soft Drink Association in 1966, when the soft drink market began growing rapidly in the USA.

In 2004, the organization’s name was changed to the American Beverage Association (ABA), which coincidently was about the time negative press was on the upswing calling out the soft drink industry for the copious amount of sugar and high fructose corn syrup in soft drinks. In subsequent years, as the government imposed taxes on these beverages siting the lack of nutritional benefits and the great cost to the consumer and the health care industry, the ABA has fought attempts by stepping up their lobbying efforts. Read more »