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Public Invited to Participate in Nonprofit Panel Conference Call

(Feb. 28, 2005) Individuals involved with the charitable sector are invited to participate in a conference call on March 4, 2005, of the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector, which is developing recommendations to Congress on how to strengthen governance and accountability in the sector.

The panel is an independent effort by charities and foundations to ensure that the nonprofit community remains a vibrant and healthy part of American society. The panel was formed in October 2004 at the encouragement of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, which is reviewing oversight of the sector.

The panel will hold its third national conference call on Friday, March 4, 2005, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Paul Brest, president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in Menlo Park, Calif., and Cass Wheeler, chief executive officer of the American Heart Association in Dallas, Texas, are co-conveners of the panel. They, along with other panel members, will describe the principles that guided their work, share a summary of the interim recommendations, respond to questions and discuss the next phase of their work.

AFP members and staff serve on several different work groups of the panel. Members who wish to participate in the call should access this link to obtain a toll-free number and access code.

Panel Report and Recommendations

This conference call will occur three days after the panel presents its interim report on strengthening the governance and accountability of charitable organizations to the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee. The interim report, which will also be shared with leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee, other members of Congress and Administration officials, contains recommendations to improve transparency, governance and government oversight.

The recommendations address such areas as certification of IRS information returns, electronic filing, audits, public disclosure of financial statements, restrictions on donor-advised funds, funding for federal and state enforcement, whistleblower protection and special considerations for smaller organizations.

A complete list and description of all of the recommendations are available at the panel's website.

AFP Involvement

AFP independently analyzed all of the recommendations and submitted comments on those that raised concerns or needed clarification. Due to a confidentiality agreement, AFP can not publicly publish its comments and recommendations at this time.

Two key areas of interest to AFP members, compensation and fundraising practices, were not addressed in Phase 1 recommendations. These will be discussed during Phase 2, which the work groups are just beginning.

Phase 2 recommendations will make up the final report the panel will submit to Congress later this year.

For more information on the panel's work and AFP's involvement, contact Jason Lee, director, government relations, at jlee@afpnet.org.

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