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Posts from the ‘Special Topics’ Category


The Future of Birthday Cake Candles is Dim

Remember back when we used to eat cake after someone blew all over it?  Man, we were wild….

Have you ever wondered why we put candles on a birthday cake? Many historians believe the Greeks started the tradition to honor the goddess Artemis’ birth on the sixth day of each lunar month.  Another group of people believe the origin of birthday candles came from the ancient belief that fire is associated with power and that evil spirits visit people on their birthday so celebrants surround the honoree and make noise while the burning sticks of paraffin scare the offenders away. Ironically, if anyone blows out the candles on a cake nowadays, the evils of coronavirus are a real possibility.  Which brings me to modern day birthday celebrations: Read more »


Executive Compensation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MMA) is the largest art museum in the US with two sites in New York City (the Met Fifith Avenue and the Met Cloisters).  Established in 1870, MMA is a tax-exempt, non-profit 501 (c) (3) based in New York City with 46 trustees (44 of whom are independent), although 48 are listed on the Form 990 (2018 for the year ending June 30, 2019) due to timing differences.  34 of the 48 (71%) listed are male while 14 (29%) are female.

For the year ending June 30, 2019, MMA reported the following information: Read more »


The Tortoise and The Hare

I’m not sure how the rest of the American public is feeling right now, but I’m guessing half the population is relieved while the other half is disappointed. This election has been going on for nearly 2 years, and besides being incredibly redundant and boring, the whole process has been a waste of time, resources, and money (Do we really need 2 years to elect a president?). Stupid me thought that come November 3rd, the process would end but it wasn’t until yesterday, November 7th that a winner – Joe Biden – was finally announced.   Read more »


Executive Compensation at the Florida Education Association (FEA)

The Florida Education Association (FEA) is a labor union representing about 150,000 teachers and education employees in Florida. Based in Tallahassee, Florida, FEA is the largest union (measured by members) in the State of Florida and is affiliated with the AFL-CIO and the national labor unions: American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association  (NEA), which means that membership in a local union (there are about 100) in Florida ensures membership in the FEA, AFT, and NEA.  However, Florida is a right-to-work state so public education employees are not required to join a union. Read more »


Executive Compensation at Mass General Brigham

Partners HealthCare – a non-profit, tax-exempt – healthcare provider with 16 member institutions  that include hospitals, medical centers, urgent and emergency care facilities, community health centers, physician and rehabilitation networks, a teaching organization, health insurance plan, and more in the Boston area changed its name to Mass General Brigham (taking the name of two premier hospitals: Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s) in November, 2019.

With an estimated 78,000 employees, Mass General Brigham is the largest private employer and healthcare provider in Massachusetts. The Mass General Brigham has dozens of related and affiliated tax-exempt organizations and several taxable as a corporation, partnership, or trust (see Schedule R of the Form 990’s). Read more »


Executive Compensation at Hippocrates Health Institute (2017)

The Hippocrates Health Institute (HHI) – a non-profit tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) that operates out of a 50-acre tropical setting in West Palm Beach, Florida – provides educational and instructional services to teach individuals how to live and eat healthier for a fee (referred to as “program service revenue”). HHI is not a charitable organization that relies on donations; instead HHI relies on  program service revenue paid by those who choose to enroll and/or attend the Institute.

In 2017, HHI raised $17.5 million (which is about the same as the previous year) – primarily through program service revenue (most attendees come for 1-3 weeks and spend about $2,500-$3,000 per week) – and spent $15.7 million (not including $1 million in depreciation): Read more »


Executive Compensation at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (2017)

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is a tax-exempt 501 (c) (6) – a “business organization” – whose purpose is to increase demand and profits for cattle and beef producers. To do this, members (many of whom are cattle owners) pay dues (based on the number of heads of cattle) starting at $150 to over $2,000 annually (although each cattle owning member has only 1 vote no matter how many head of cattle he/she owns).  In addition, the NCBA also has non-voting members who pay $50-$200 annually to belong to the association. Read more »


Where Does $100 to PBS Go?

The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) television program distributer and broadcaster of educational television content (about 1,500 hours in 2018) through its 153 member public television licensees.

PBS is funded primarily from membership dues and contributions, gifts, and grants. The following information is noteworthy:

In 2018, PBS reported total revenue of $539 million. However, $178 million were non-cash contributions of donated broadcast rights which means total cash revenue was $361 million from: Read more »


Where Does $100 to the National Urban League Go?

The National Urban League (NUL) is a nonpartisan civil rights organization that advocates on behalf of African Americans for economic and social injustice and against racial discrimination. A non-profit, tax-exempt 501 (c) (3), NUL has 90 affiliates serving 300 communities in 36 states and the District of Columbia. How do they do this? A variety of ways including the awarding of grants and the provision of services, research, and public advocacy.

The Form 990 (2018) submitted by NUL to the IRS provides the public with key information about NUL including: Read more »


Daisy: 2007-2020

Last Sunday, my dog, Daisy passed away.  When I first started writing this essay about losing her, the focus was on everything that happened in the last 17 hours of Daisy’s life:  from the moment she had the first seizure to the moment she died in my arms. The story was so sad that I just cried as I read it and decided to start over. Daisy’s life was so much more than what happened at the end.  Her death was tragic but her life was not so the focus had to be on the 13 years, 4 months and 2 days she lived on this earth.

Daisy was born in Interlaken, Switzerland on January 1, 2007 ringing in a new year with her arrival. We were “allowed” to purchase Daisy because we were living in a small town outside Geneva at the time and her breeders couldn’t show her (she had faults, namely her tear ducts were blocked). To us, she was just perfect: a Pembroke Welsh Corgi that looked like a chubby little fox.  Her name was chosen by our daughter because she loved to eat daises in the spring fields. Read more »