PRESS RELEASE: MNN Conference Panel to Address 2020 Census, Cliff Effects, and Workforce Development

2019 Panelist 4 square-min (1)BOSTON, MA – The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) announced that a keynote panel featuring top nonprofit leaders will cover the 2020 Census, cliff effects, and workforce development at the organization’s annual conference on October 16, 2019, at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel and Conference Center.

The panel is centered around the conference theme, “Building a Better Commonwealth,” which captures a common aspirations of the Massachusetts nonprofit sector.

The conference’s keynote panelists will be Rachel Heller, CEO of the Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA); Eva Millona, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition; and Jerry Rubin, President and CEO of JVS.

The featured topics of the panel represent pressing issues at the forefront of nonprofit work. Nonprofits are playing a critical role in ensuring that hard-to-count communities participate in the 2020 Census. The “cliff effects” phenomenon, in which an increase in work earnings results in a sharp reduction or loss of public benefits, impacts many people that nonprofits serve. And as the state’s nonprofit sector faces a wave of retirements from senior-level positions, innovative workforce development strategies will be needed to develop the next generation of nonprofit leaders.

“We are excited to have Rachel, Eva, and Jerry on our conference keynote panel this year,” said Jim Klocke, CEO of MNN. “Their organizations do great work, and we can all learn from them.”

MNN holds its annual conference every year for nonprofit organizations across Massachusetts. The conference, drawing over 600 attendees annually from Massachusetts nonprofits and for-profit companies that serve nonprofits, is one of the largest gatherings for nonprofit professionals held in the Commonwealth.

About the Panelists

Rachel Heller is the CEO of Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), an organization that encourages the production and preservation of affordable housing to low and moderate income families and individuals and fosters diverse and sustainable communities through planning and community development. Heller will bring to the panel expertise on solutions to combat “cliff effects,” a phenomenon experienced when an increase in work earnings results in a sharp reduction or loss of food, housing, childcare, and other public benefits. She previously worked as the Director of Public Policy at the Alliance for Business Leadership, served as Chief of Staff to Massachusetts State Senator Susan Tucker, and was the Senior Policy Advocate at Homes for Families, a nonprofit advocacy organization working to end family homelessness.

Eva Millona is the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition, the state’s largest organization representing the foreign born, and co-chair of the National Partnership for New Americans, the lead national organization focusing on immigrant integration. Millona is the chairperson of the 2020 Complete Count Committee, formed by Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin to provide education and lead community outreach around the decennial census. She will bring to the panel insights on how to encourage census participation in diverse communities. Millona is also the co-chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council for Refugees and Immigrants and serves on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement and serves on the Attorney General’s Council for New Americans. She is a frequent speaker on immigrant integration in national and international stages.

Jerry Rubin is President and CEO of JVS, an organization that empowers individuals from diverse communities to find employment and build careers and partners with employers to hire, develop, and retain productive workforces. Rubin has overseen the adoption of innovative strategies including the nation’s first Pay for Success project to focus exclusively on adult education and workforce development for low-skilled adults. Prior to JVS, Rubin founded and was Executive Director of two nonprofit organizations: the Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership, a training and consulting organization, and the Coalition For a Better Acre, a community development corporation based in Lowell, Massachusetts. Rubin also spent ten years in the administration of Boston Mayor Raymond L. Flynn, leading several housing, economic development and workforce development initiatives. He is the author of numerous book chapters, articles, and monographs on housing, economic development, and workforce development issues.

About the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network

The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) brings together nonprofits, funders, business leaders, and elected officials to strengthen nonprofits and raise the sector’s voice on critical issues. The network has more than 700 nonprofit member organizations and more than 100 for-profit affiliate partners. To learn more visit www.massnonprofitnet.org.

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Nonprofit 411: 5 IT Risks Every Organization Should Be Aware Of

Nonprofit 411 BerryDunn-minby Chris Ellingwood, BerryDunn

Technology: we all love it and we all immerse ourselves in it from every fashion of our daily lives. These emerging IT security risks are not overly technical in nature and are things you likely have heard before. Reflecting on a strong economy and a changing business environment, knowing these risks will help empower nonprofits to consider the controls needed to enhance their controls while they implement new, high demand technology and software to allow their organizations to thrive and grow.

1. Third-party Risk Management – It’s Still Your Fault

Daily, we rely on our business partners and vendors to make the work we do happen. Third-party vendors are a potential weak link in the information security chain and may expose your organization to risk. At the end of the day, though a data breach may have been the fault of a third-party, you are still responsible for it. It is paramount that all organizations (no matter their size) have a comprehensive vendor management program in place to defend themselves against third-party risk.

2. Regulation and Privacy Laws – They are Coming

2018 saw the implementation of the European Union’s General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) which was the first major data privacy law pushed onto any organization who possesses, handles, or has access to any citizen of EU’s personal information. Enforcement has started and the Information Commissioner’s Office has begun fining some of the world’s most famous companies. All organizations must be aware of and understand current laws and proposed legislation. The good news is that there are a lot of resources out there and, in most cases, legislative requirements allow for grace periods to allow organizations to develop a complete understanding of proposed laws and implement needed controls.

3. Data Management – Time to Cut Through the Jungle

We all work with people who have thousands of emails in their inbox (that date back several years in some cases). Those users’ biggest fears may start to come to fruition – that their organizational approach of not deleting anything may come to an end with a simple email and data retention policy. Organizations should first complete a full data inventory and understand what types of data they maintain and handle, and where and how that data is stored. Next, organizations should develop a data retention policy that meets their needs. Utilizing backup storage media may be a solution that helps reduce the need to store and maintain a large amount of data on internal systems.

4. Doing the Basics Right – Sometimes the Simple Things Work

Across industries and organization size, the one common factor we see is that basic controls for IT security are not in place. Every organization, no matter their size, should work to ensure that they have controls in place. These include:

  • Established IT Security policies
  • Anti-virus/malware on all servers and workstations
  • System logging and monitoring
  • Employee security training

5. Employee Retention and Training

Organizations should be highly focused on employee retention and training to keep current employees up-to-speed on technology and security trends. A culture of security needs to be created and fostered from the top down. Making the effort to empower and train all employees is a powerful way to demonstrate your appreciation and support of the employees within your organization—and keep your data more secure in the process.

Ensuring that you have a stable and established IT security program in place by considering the above risks will help your organization adapt to technology changes and create more than just an IT security program, but a culture of security-minded employees. Our team of security and control experts can help your organization create and implement controls needed to consider emerging IT risks. You may contact me at cellingwood@berrydunn.com for more information.

Member Spotlight: Community Access to the Arts

Member Spotlight Community Access to the Arts-minRuthie wheels up to the canvas with a big smile. She just celebrated her 102nd birthday, and she’s about to start a new painting.

Thanks to workshops provided by Berkshire-based nonprofit and MNN member Community Access to the Arts (CATA), Ruthie began making art two years ago using an adaptive technique designed for people with significant physical disabilities. Since then, she’s finished twelve gorgeous paintings— and sold three at CATA art exhibits!

With the help of a laser pointer and the aid of a trained “tracker”— a person who acts as the artist’s hands— Ruthie and dozens of other CATA artists are able to create stunning works of art using “Artistic Realization Technologies” (A.R.T.). Developed by artist Tim Lefens, this innovative technique gives full creative control to people who aren’t able to hold or manipulate a paintbrush.

“A.R.T. offers a way for artists like Ruthie to communicate something that would otherwise go unsaid or unknown,” says Stefanie Weber, a CATA Faculty Artist who serves as Ruthie’s tracker.

After working with Stefanie for the past year, Ruthie has found a unique style that’s all her own.

“Do you want a big brush or a little brush?” asks Stefanie. She holds out a handful of brushes and Ruthie takes her time feeling each one. After she chooses, Ruthie uses a color wheel to show Stefanie exactly which shade she wants to use.

“How’s this?” Stefanie asks, mixing the paint together. Ruthie smiles, “Yeah!”

With a laser pointer around her wrist, Ruthie shows Stefanie where to put the brush on the canvas. She moves the laser up and over, then into the corner, revealing a bright stroke of blue paint.

Ruthie is one of 800 CATA artists who take part in CATA workshops each year in dozens of art forms, including theater, dance, yoga, juggling, creative writing, painting, and more. Through CATA’s dynamic workshops and public events, artists with disabilities tap into their potential, explore new talents, and share their creative perspectives with the wider community. CATA collaborates with day programs, residences, school, and nursing homes across the Berkshires and upstate New York to bring arts opportunities to as many people with disabilities as possible.

Before workshops started up again this year, Ruthie “couldn’t wait to get back to work.” Thanks to our community of supporters, she’s celebrating her 102nd birthday with a fresh canvas and a big creative spark!

Protected: Ramping Up Year-End Giving for 2019

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Nonprofit 411: MA Paid Family and Medical Leave: What Do Nonprofits Need to Do For the October 1 Deadline?

Nonprofit 411 Insource-minby Saleha Walsh, Insource Services

Massachusetts provided us with a summer break in delaying the implementation of the payroll taxes that will fund the new state paid leave program. Now it’s time to prepare to meet the upcoming deadlines that require employers to notify their employees of program benefits and to begin employer contributions and employee deductions.

As a reminder, key provisions of this new program include:

  • Paid state-administered medical leave (up to 20 weeks) and family leave (up to 12 weeks, and more for covered service members) beginning in January of 2012. Leave is capped at 26 weeks per year.
  • All Massachusetts workers (as defined in the law – employees and in some cases 1099 contractors) who work for covered entities are eligible for paid leave, limited exceptions exist.
  • A payroll tax payable through MassTaxConnect beginning effective 10/1/19 and paid quarterly. The initial tax contribution rates is 0.75% of a worker’s wages (up to $132,900 of wages).
  • To be eligible for benefits, an employee must have received earnings from present or former Massachusetts employers that are (1) at least 30 times his/her weekly benefit amount, and (2) at least $4,700 over the past 12 months.
  • Former employees meeting this financial eligibility test are also eligible if the leave begins within twenty-six (26) weeks after employment termination.

To meet the October deadline, employers should:

  • Determine if they are a covered business entity. While all employers must participate in the program, a covered business entity is one in which more than fifty percent of a business’s workforce is comprised of self-employed individuals (1099-eligible). A covered business entity is required to include all of the covered employees and contractors in the program.
  • Determine the size of the workforce. Those organizations with fewer than 25 eligible workers must transmit the taxes deducted through payroll deduction on behalf of their employees, but are not required to contribute to the tax. Those organizations with 25 or more employees are required to contribute a portion of the tax for their employees.
  • Consider seeking state approval of a private plan offering identical benefits and protections.
  • Begin to plan for policy changes, if needed, to provide time off and job protection in accordance with the leave act.
  • Submit quarterly wage reports on their workforce including 1099 contractors beginning in January 2020 for the last quarter of 2019.
  • Begin employee payroll deductions effective 10/1/19 and transmit by January of 2020 for the 4th quarter of 2019. For those employers with 25 or more covered workers, the state guidelines require employers to pay 60% of the medical leave share of the tax and employees to pay the remaining 40% through payroll deduction (the medical contribution represents 0.62 of the 0.75 tax).  Employers are not required to contribute to the family leave tax.  (Employers with under 25 workers are not required to contribute at all but must collect and transmit employee deductions for both family and medical leave.)
  • Display the MA Medical and Family leave poster where other employment posters are displayed, in multiple languages in some cases.
  • Distribute workforce notices (by 10/1/19 and upon hire thereafter).

For more information or to obtain sample notices and templates, go to https://www.mass.gov/info-details/paid-family-medical-leave-for-employers-faq and/or contact Insource Services (www.insourceservices.com).

 

Member Spotlight: Boston Partners in Education

Member Spotlight Boston Partners in Education (1)-minShowing appreciation for the volunteers and community that support a nonprofit’s mission is extremely meaningful and can result in better retention, improved recruitment, and the creation of brand ambassadors.

Boston Partners in Education’s mission is to enhance the academic achievement and nurture the personal growth of Boston’s public school students by providing them with focused, individualized, in-school volunteer support. On June 11, the education nonprofit applauded the end of the school year with their own celebration: their annual AMP! Awards.

The AMP Awards are designed to recognize and honor the volunteer academic mentors, teachers, and corporate partners who serve Boston’s public school students. Presented in seven categories including the Educator of the Year, School Partner of the Year, and Rookie of the year; the awards recognize individuals and partners who have demonstrated an exemplary dedication to improving the lives and education of BPS students through their relationship with Boston Partners.

It takes a special commitment to become an academic mentor, and over 80 partners joined the festivity to celebrate their peers. The ceremony was kicked off by Boston Partners Chairman Mike McKenna and Executive Director Erin McGrath reiterating the immeasurable impact that volunteer academic mentors make in the classroom each year.

“These individuals work on the front lines of our mission. Whether they are volunteering, teaching, or partnering with our organization, everyone deserves recognition for their commitment,” said Erin McGrath. “These awards are a small way to show them how grateful Boston Partners is for their dedicated work in our community.”

One of the awards, the John C. Rennie Mentor of the Year Award is presented to a volunteer who “embodies what it means to be a Boston Partners in Education academic mentor.” This award recognizes an individual who becomes an integral part of the classroom as both an academic mentor, friend, and role model. This year’s award was presented to Kathy Weld (pictured above), who has been a fixture in Mr. Russell’s classroom at the McKinley South End Academy since 2015.

While Boston Partners mentors aim to help students who could benefit from more individualized attention in the classroom during the school day, mentoring at the McKinley South End Academy is different than the typical Boston Partners volunteer experience. The school focuses on the emotional, behavioral, and learning needs of its students using a highly-structured behavior management system. For students who receive a lot of messages about the ways that they’re not doing well and might not succeed, it’s significant to have someone from their community come into their classroom each week and tell them that they believe in them. Mr. Russell joined the AMP Awards to present the award to Kathy, and described her as “in a category of her own.”

“She doesn’t just put in time,” Mr. Russell said. “She’s exemplary in her willingness to do anything, and for her flexibility, her insight, her compassion, and good humor.”

Kathy’s special connection to the school isn’t simply the result of personalities meshing. Kathy spends more time working with students than Boston Partners volunteers typically do — much more, in fact. For over three years, Kathy has been mentoring two or more days a week for three or more hours each day. According to Mr. Russell, more important than the quantity of her work, in the countless hours that Kathy has spent in his classroom, is the quality.

Acknowledging and showing gratitude for the individuals that support and drive your organization’s mission is an important part of becoming a successful nonprofit. Like the AMP Awards, a celebration to acknowledge the dedication it takes to support a nonprofit organization is a great way to reinforce the importance of the work they do and extend a Thank You to your community.

To learn more about how to get involved as an academic mentor, visit www.bostonpartners.org.

New Commonwealth Insights: Massachusetts Nonprofits Generate Over 551,000 Jobs and $36 Billion in Wages

Comm Insights 2019 2nd ed website (1)-minToday MNN released the latest edition of Commonwealth Insights, “The Nonprofit Sector Jobs Engine And Strategies for Strengthening It.”

The new report draws on recently-released data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to paint the most up-to-date picture of the nonprofit sector’s economic impact in Massachusetts. The data shows that in 2017, Massachusetts nonprofits generated 551,117 jobs and $36.1 billion in wages. Nonprofits comprised almost 18% of the total workforce, the fifth highest percentage in the country.

The data also shows that from 2013 to 2017, nonprofit employment in Massachusetts grew by 41,763 jobs, an increase of 8.2%, and annual nonprofit wages grew by $6 billion, an increase of 20%.

“The nonprofit sector’s economic impact is not only large, it’s growing at a rapid clip,” said Jim Klocke, CEO of MNN. “The roles of nonprofits as economic engines and as service providers are both crucial to protect.”

The report makes three policy recommendations in support of the Massachusetts nonprofit sector:

  • Preserve and grow charitable giving, including the creation of a federal universal tax deduction and the restoration of the Massachusetts state charitable tax deduction;
  • Streamline state-level reporting requirements to remove duplication and reduce costs associated with reporting;
  • Optimize employer policies so that they work for nonprofits as well as for-profits.

The most recent edition of Commonwealth Insights comes on the heels of a Giving USA Foundation report released in late June, which found that individual donations to American charities dropped by $3.2 billion nationwide in 2018 ($10.4 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars).

Previous editions of Commonwealth Insights have explored the potential impact of 2017’s federal tax reform law on Massachusetts nonprofits.

“The nationwide drop in charitable giving resulting from the change in the federal tax code is a concerning trend. The recommendations outlined in this new report will preserve and strengthen the nonprofit sector’s role as cornerstones of our communities,” added Klocke.

Commonwealth Insights publications highlight policy, issues, and trends important to the nonprofit sector published by MNN. This is the second edition of Commonwealth Insights in 2019. Earlier editions focused on federal government shutdowns, year-end fundraising strategies, the 2020 Census, and the impacts of federal tax reform. Prior editions can be viewed at www.massnonprofitnet.org/CommonwealthInsights.

Nonprofit 411: How to Prepare for Having Your 990 Prepared

Nonprofit 411 Jitasa-minBy Jeremy Cork, Jitasa

Whether you prepare your own Form 990 or outsource it, you can make the process less painful by following some simple steps and gathering certain information well-before prep begins. There are (2) variations of Form 990: Form 990 (12 pages) long form or Form 990-EZ (4 pages) short-form.  The gross receipts of your organization are usually what determines which Form 990 you are required to file.

If your fiscal year ends on December 31, your Form 990 is due by May 15.  You do have the option to file a 6-month extension giving you a new/final due date of November 15.  The month following your fiscal year end is usually very busy; preparing and filing employee W2s and contractor 1099’s, preparing various reports, etc. By the time you are finished with those tasks, you’re now a month closer (or more) to your Form 990 due date.  The Form 990 has as nearly as many additional schedules as there are letters in the alphabet.  Knowing ahead of time which schedules may be required can save time, effort and reduce stress.  To see a list of additional schedules and instructions, visit the IRS link here: https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-990-schedules.

Some of these steps can only be done after your fiscal year ends, however, by understanding each step and being proactive, your 990-filing experience can come and go with ease. This list is not all-inclusive as each organization is different, however, many steps are common for all organizations. So here they are!

Steps for making 990 Prep less complicated and less stressful:

  • BE PROACTIVE: discuss with your team ahead of time rather than just before the due date.
  • Financial Review or Audit: Review the audit requirements for your state.
  • IRS Extension: Consider ahead of time if you think you’ll need to file an extension.
  • Review Prior-year Form 990: This will provide insight into what will be required for the current year.
  • Close Books for Year-End:
    • Reconcile ALL bank/checking/savings/investment accounts, etc…
    • Record any journal entries necessary; accruals, AR, AP, prepaids, depreciation, etc…
    • Perform year-end Book Review: Review all activity for all accounts.
  • Gather Financial Information:
    • Financial Reports.
    • Copies of W2’s and 1099’s.
    • Review list of Form 990 Schedules – compare to prior-year Form 990.
  • Non-financial Information:
    • Organization details; Name, Address, Phone #, Board of Directors.
    • Review Parts IV – VII on the 990 to determine which other information may be required.
    • Who will review and sign your 990 internally before the deadline?
    • May need to consider additional as well.
    • Timing: Provide ample time for Board Review and any comments or changes before the filing deadline. A board review is not required but is strongly encouraged.

It may seem like it takes more time to gather information than to prepare the 990, but the extra time spent before prep will pay-off in the end.  Whether your file a Form 990 long form or Form 990-EZ short-form, prep time can be drastically reduced by following the steps outlined above.  Understanding that preparing and filing Form 990 is extremely important to your organization and should not be an after-thought. Your mission, and the cause it supports, is much too important not to consider the importance of your Form 990.

Member Spotlight: Parenting Journey

Member Spotlight Parenting Journey-minCollaboration between nonprofits can be a powerful force for change in a community, and can address needs that could not have been solved as effectively by any one organization.

MNN member Parenting Journey (PJ) uses collaboration in working towards the day when every family has what they need to thrive and succeed. Rooted in the belief that all parents know what is best for their children, PJ recognizes that some parents cannot reach their full potential because of systemic injustices that disproportionately impact communities of color, low-income families, and immigrants. In response to intergenerational trauma caused by racism and poverty, PJ uses an interdisciplinary approach to effect change in family systems, institutional systems, and governmental systems to uplift families.

PJ recognizes that collaboration and collective impact are essential to disrupting intergenerational poverty and trauma through a continuum of wrap-around services that meet the needs of individuals and families. PJ launched a two-generation service delivery model in partnership with nonprofits in the Greater Boston area who work with families at different life stages and in different capacities.

One of PJ’s partnerships provides a glimpse into the power of nonprofit collaboration. PJ partners with the Epiphany School to provide its Parenting Journey I program to parents at the Epiphany School Early Learning Center (ELC) in Dorchester, MA. So far, a total of 28 young, low-income parents who have children enrolled at the Early Learning Center have participated in the 12-session curriculum. The weekly two-hour sessions are co-facilitated by Delores Reyes of Parenting Journey and Emily Bautista, the director of student support at Epiphany School.

During the sessions, parents explore their relationships with their own parents and past experiences that impact how they parent. The sessions provide parents with the opportunity for self-reflection and realization. Parents reported multiple positive changes as a result of their participation, including decreased stress and increased parenting strengths.

“Since Parenting Journey, I have a different perspective in life. I take time to listen to my children before making a decision,” said a participant of Parenting Journey 1 at Epiphany. These types of changes have previously been shown to improve parent-child engagement and the ability of parents to buffer their children from stress, promoting optimal child social-emotional development.

In addition to providing the parent program, PJ trained 13 Epiphany staff in PJ Community. The 1.5-day training program brings staff together to develop strong working relationships, examine their work through a strengths-based lens, and improve engagement internally and within their community.

Epiphany offers many different types of support to children and families, including school, daycare, and home visits. Incorporating PJ into these wraparound services boosts the strengthening effects of those other supports, giving parents a dedicated space for building empathy and resilience.

Collaboration is powerful. By enhancing programs, practices, and policies across sectors, partnerships like the ones established by PJ and its nonprofit partners can address the complexity of families’ lives and can create a collective environment that acknowledges parents’ inherent strengths, power, and expertise.

MNN CEO on Drop in Charitable Giving: Bad News – And a Warning Signal

The report, “Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018” issued today by Giving USA, found that charitable giving decreased by 1.7% and that individual giving decreased by $10.4 billion nationwide in 2018. The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) released the following statement from CEO Jim Klocke:

“This is bad news for the people served by nonprofits–and a warning signal about the end of 2019.

When the economy grows, giving should increase, and it usually does. But not in 2018.

As MNN’s Commonwealth Insights reports have outlined, the 2017 federal tax bill raised the cost of giving by 28% for tens of millions of people across the country. When the cost of something goes up by 28%, there will be an impact. Today’s Giving USA report documents the impact–a drop in individual contributions of over $10 billion nationwide in 2018. That drop will have real effects for the people served by nonprofits and the communities they live in, including here in Massachusetts.

Today’s news is a warning signal because not everyone affected by the federal tax bill realized it when they made their 2018 contributions. They do now: many learned that they lost the giving deduction this past spring. The question is now what happens to 2019 individual contributions. There is a real risk that they will drop again, and by even more than $10 billion.

What should we do? First, we should restore the charitable contributions tax deduction for the millions who lost it in 2018. Second, we must make it available to everyone. We should also encourage donors to increase their giving this year, so that the 2018 drop becomes an aberration. MNN is committed to pursuing these strategies that will support the strength, viability, and sustainability of the nonprofit sector.

The people served by nonprofits, and the communities they live in, deserve no less.”

Previous editions of MNN’s Commonwealth Insights reports have explored the potential impact of the 2017 federal tax bill on Massachusetts nonprofits. Click here to download, “From Challenges to Opportunities: How Nonprofits Can Make Sense of the New Tax Law” (2018). Click here to download, “Tax Reform: Up to $513 Million of Massachusetts Donations at Risk” (2017).