Being Tone Deaf, Part 2

Last week I began reviewing the Annual Report of the Diocese of Metuchen, NJ (the “Diocese”). In that entry, I concentrated on the seemingly devastating loss in its investment portfolio. Just as a reminder  I want to emphasize the phrase “seemingly devastating” since there is not enough information in the Annual Report to make that determination. I also want to reiterate that I am in no way being critical of the management of the Diocese except for how it didn’t address the unrealized losses in the mailing.  I am “picking” on the Diocese  to make some points.  If anything, its marketing arm is tone deaf to how some of its materials might be received by potential donors. 

 This week I want to focus on some of the other concerrs I have with the Annual Report: 

  •  The Annual Report was issued almost a year after the period end.  I received it in May 2023, eleven months after the period being reported on ended. By itself, this gives you some pause.  By comparison, public companies issue their financial statements within 90 days of year end.  Obviously,  a Catholic diocese isn’t a public company and doesn’t have the resources or the legal requirement to issue such a report that quickly.  However, taking so long to issue a financial report  is  often taken as a sign of weak financial management.  This is particularly important when you are sharing bad news such as the unrealized investment losses the Diocese incurred. 
  • There is no indication of an outside accountant’s review or audit of the financial data. The financial statements seem to be in good form so there is obviously  a capable financial team in place. Nevertheless, there are some very complex accounting issues involved.  For instance, the Diocese self-insures and has an Incurred But Not Reported (IBNR) liability of $22.5 million.  Similarly, the clergy retirement and post retirement obligations amounted to $24.5 million. I don’t know about other potential donors, but I  would feel much better if  an outside reviewer could provide me with some comfort about  these balances.  How would a donor know the correct actuarial assumptions were included in the computation of the liabilities and the accounting principles are correct? 
  • Donating should be made easy.  The Annual Report doesn’t say where to send donations and what they will be used for. Perhaps a QR code or a Paypal address would be helpful. Why make potential donors search for where to send their hard-earned money?

With all of that being said, I truly applaud the Diocese for hitting the “Abuse” issue head on.  It did a great job of outlining its programs to control and eliminate such a terrible plague. The importance of this can’t be underestimated as the now disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was once the Bishop of the Diocese.  Finally, I wish the Diocese well in its activities for the upcoming year.  It has been a tremendous force for good in Central New Jersey.  With the help of its donors and parishioners, it will be for many years to come.

The lesson to be learned for any NFP organization is to stop and  ask what the perception of its stakeholders is.  Management needs to scrutinize its communication strategy to see if the proper message is being conveyed. Alternatively, can the message be misconstrued by the public?  Sometimes management is too close to the issue to see how this information is being  received.  

Being Tone Deaf

Sometimes, we don’t really appreciate what some of our marketing material can do to our fundraising.  The NFP world relies on fundraising as its lifeblood but we sometimes don’t pay enough attention to how the world sees us. Let’s look at a case in point:  The 2022 Annual Report of the Catholic Diocese of Metuchen. This is the first of a two part blog on things that I quickly picked out from its  annual report. For those of you not familiar with this organization, the Diocese of Metuchen (the “Diocese”)  is a very large Central Jersey Catholic diocese responsible for 90 parishes, 26 schools and a hospital, among other things. The Diocese does an amazing job in  four NJ counties.  It has a strong financial condition, with net assets of about $125 million and a strong positive cash flow.  Nothing in this article should be construed to be a criticism of how the Diocese operated. The Annual report itself is  a very fine piece  of marketing material, but was tone-deaf to fundraising concerns. There are several reasons for this, but for this week  let’s start with the 800 pound gorilla in the room. 

The Diocese reported unrealized investment losses of $51.2 million during the year, resulting in a decrease in net assets of $36 million dollars for the same period.  To put this in perspective, the decrease  was approximately 18.1% of  ending total assets and 25% of the ending total investment portfolio. At the same time, the Diocese reported positive net cash flow.  In short, a very creditable performance in managing operating cash flows in a tough economic environment was swamped by what appears to be a cataclysmic decrease in the investment portfolio. 

How could this be?  Unfortunately, the Annual Report does not disclose the reasons why, nor does it disclose the composition of the investment portfolio.  So, let’s make the assumption (and it is only an assumption!) the investment portfolio had a heavy element of fixed income securities. What happened to interest rates over the year? The Fed discount rate (the marginal cost of borrowing for a bank and therefore the rate that drives other other interest rates) was .25% at the beginning of the fiscal year (June 30, 2021) and 1.75% at the end of the period. The prime rate also increased from 3.25% to 4. 75% over the same period. Interest rates were rising as the Federal Reserve was trying to deal with inflation.  As interest rates rise the value of fixed income securities fall. Such a large increase in interest rates is presumably the reason why at least part of the investment portfolio took such a beating.  The stock portfolio also could have taken a beating in the same time period.  For instance, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 34,292 on June 30, 2021 and 30,824 on June 30, 2022 a decline of about 10%. Again, there simply isn’t enough information provided to see how the various components performed. 

Why is this disclosure important?  If the investment portfolio is heavily concentrated in fixed income securities there will be no loss if the securities are held to maturity.  The loss will turn into unrealized gain in subsequent periods. As the investments securities near maturity the market value of those securities will begin to approach the maturity (par) value of the securities.  On the other hand, there is no assurance that a stock portfolio will ever recover its value.  It seems to be that any donor would be vitally interested in knowing this information.  Financially responsible management of a fixed income investment portfolio will lead to zero unrealized gain or loss over time.  However, if the loss was due to a stock portfolio, would you want to donate to an organization that  could blithely lose such vast amounts of money?  And heaven forbid such a loss could be due to speculative derivative securities…. Based on what I have seen, I find it highly improbable that the investment portfolio includes such problems.  I am only using this Annual Report to make a point. 

I will readily acknowledge what happened may not be completely the responsibility of the Diocese.  For the life of me I can’t figure out why the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) would require fair market value accounting if the NFP organization could demonstrate it has the ability to hold the securities to maturity.  Clearly the Diocese does.  Even more unfortunate is the fact that a business entity incurring such unrealized losses might be able to mitigate the losses by recording deferred taxes, thereby reducing the impact to the “bottom line”.  Since the Diocese is a NFP organization there is no tax effect for such losses.  Nevertheless, the Diocese needs to do a better job of explaining what happened. 

In the next installment, I’ll examine some of the other issues contained in the Diocese’s Annual Report. Stay tuned. 

The NFP World

As the Spring semester grinds to a close, and the burden of grading, the bane of all professors’ lives comes inevitably to an end, it is time to get back into the world of blogging.  Today’s topic comes courtesy of an assignment I gave to my Not For Profit Accounting class. Municipal and NFP accounting constitutes approximately 20% (give or take for any particular year) of the financial reporting section of the Uniform CPA exam so students are intensely interested in it.  They are often amazed how municipal accounting differs from the previous accounting they have learned.  That is a story for another day though.  

We sometimes need to stop and remind ourselves how important the nonprofit segment of the economy is.  I assigned a short paper to my class on the importance of the NFP segment to the entire economy.  Ashley Robinson, one of my students who earned two bachelor’s degrees in four years and will be employed by Pricewaterhousecoopers, summarized  what a powerful economic force the NFP sector is.  Ashley reported, 

“As of 2022 there are about 1.5 million not-for-profit organizations in the United States,and over 10 million worldwide. They employ about 10% of the workforce, but worldwide they employ about 7.4% of the workforce. About 5.7% of the United States GDP comes from not-for-profits. This is the third largest workforce in the United States just behind retail and manufacturing. These entities make money off donations, and in 2021 about 56% of people in the United States donated to charity, and 45% of those people donate in a monthly program. There is about 10% of the overall revenue that comes from individual donations. 80% of their revenue comes from government grants.”

These are truly staggering numbers in many respects. I am continuously amazed by the number of NFP organizations, the often underpaid and overworked employees who keep at their jobs because of their personal values, and the number of Americans who donate to a charity on a monthly basis.  This continues to show the United States and its citizens are and have been a generous nation.  There were times when I served on the board of an NFP organization that I felt as if no one cared. I would quickly come to my senses though and realize I was wrong.  Perhaps this little reminder that the vast majority of Americans do care will provide a little lift to those involved in the NFP world.

Another student made some interesting comments about the geographical  dispersion of NFP organizations.  He posited that there are more NFP organizations located in capital cities and in the eastern part of the United States. The former assertion seems reasonable to me and the latter he suggests occurs because of legacy wealth in the United States.  I think that bears additional research though.  If any of my readers have any insight into that, please let me know.  


May 6 is Nurses Day in the United States and May 12 is International Nurses Day.  I just wanted to stop and give a shout out to the nurses both here in the United States and around the world. Medieval thinkers reckoned there were only three noble professions:  divinity (clergy), law, and medicine. You may perhaps notice the first two on that list have fallen out of disfavor in recent years for circumstances that I won’t discuss today but may be apparent to many of my readers. 

Nursing constitutes  the largest group of medical practitioners. How many people are involved in the nursing profession?  Just to give you an idea, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports:

“Nursing is the nation’s largest healthcare profession, with nearly 4.2 million registered nurses (RNs) nationwide. Of all licensed RNs, 84.1% are employed in nursing. The federal government projects that more than 203,000 new registered nurse positions will be created each year from 2021-2031.”  (1)

 The nursing  practitioners of all stripes generously give of their time not only to their patients but also to many volunteer and not-for-profit groups. Do nurses volunteer?  You bet they do.  Just ask the Red Cross or other agencies handling disaster relief. The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics report 14,700 volunteer nurses took part in their clinics in 2021.  This is a phenomenal record of charitable activity.   

INursing is  among  the most highly regarded professions in the United States. Along with firefighters and doctors, nurses have been held in high esteem by the general public for many years. Perhaps my profession (certified public accounting) should take a hint from this. 

I  am proud  Moravian University, where I hang my mortar board and doctoral hood during the academic year,  granted over 100 bachelors’ degrees in nursing and many students with masters degrees in 2023. 

Whether working for pay or doing charitable work, stop and think about the number of times a nurse brought a smile to the face of someone facing a tough medical situation or their loved one. How many times has a nurse made you smile when you were facing uncertainty? It is no wonder nurses come to the top of the most respected charts. 

A happy International Nursing Day to one and all!

  1. Source: Nursing Fact  Sheet.

The NFP Potpourri

During the past semester, I came across many interesting NFP issues.  I thought I would do a short round up of some of those topics.  So, here goes!

  • Phishing and hacking at NFPs continues unabated. Vigilance is required more than ever.  I was personally caught in a phishing scheme this past semester.  During a particularly intense period I was skimming through my emails where I found what appeared to be an email from the new Dean of the Moravian University School of Business and Economics.  Not being overly concerned, I opened the email.  A big mistake. Unbeknownst to me, this resulted in over six thousand emails being sent out under my name to faculty, staff, and students. Meanwhile, realizing that something didn’t seem right, I contacted the IT security staff.  They were able to mitigate some of the consequences of my screw up, but some harm had been done. The security personnel told me that the University had been under siege in the last couple months. Put another way, just because you are an NFP entity doesn’t make you immune from the cyber-attack. In a previous blog I discussed how a church client of mine had been subject to a ransomware attack.  Who would think that even a relatively small entity such as a church would need to be careful about such things?  Obviously, they were wrong to ignore my warnings on this matter.  One other point before we depart from this subject.  If your organization is put in this position, don’t pay the ransom.  There is no assurance you will get your data and operating systems back. 
  • The Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) makes it easier to file procedural complaints against the FASB and GASB.  The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) regulates accounting practices for NFP organizations while the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) regulates accounting for governmental entities except for the United States itself.  The FAF Oversight Committee has provided a streamlined process for filing complaints about the rule-making process of these entities.  I believe this is a healthy development as  American accounting is often categorized as rule based rather than concept based  (such as the International Financial Reporting Standards).  Therefore, anything that shores up the actual rule-making process is certainly worth exploring.  Additionally, anyone in the accounting profession needs to understand how important transparency is to the profession.  More Vitamin D through sunshine is surely a good thing!
  • ESG reporting is coming. Unless you live in a bubble, you have heard the SEC has published draft regulations on climate change for public companies.  These companies will need to ascertain how their vendors are complying with this reporting. It is only a matter of time before this is pushed into the NFP world as the climate reporting takes hold.  Corporate contributors will then begin pushing this into organizations they make contributions to.  It is not too early to start thinking about this.  In the world of heated competition for contribution dollars an NFP organization complying with these disclosures will have a leg up in this battle. Caution: This is not completely certain as a similar prediction was made about Sarbanen-Oxley reporting as twenty years ago. The implementation of SOX reporting changed when it met resistance. Nevertheless, some form of ESG reporting will eventually be pushed down to the NFP world. 
  • Looking for a good text on Governmental and NFP accounting?  Try Accounting for Government and Nonprofit Organizations by Patton and Patton and published by Cambridge.  It is an outstanding presentation on the topic.



Unless you have been living in the virtual world for the last week, you know  the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) has collapsed. This bank made venture capital loans to startup companies in the tech industry.  What can Not-For-Profit managers learn from this episode?

 During the last banking crisis I was serving as the CFO of a large NFP. The executive management arrived at the mistaken conclusion  the banking industry was going to collapse. Despite my strenuous objections they  required me to spread our disposable cash and a large portion of our investment portfolio into low yielding certificates of deposit at multiple banks.  All of the CDs had to be under $250,000, the guarantee limit of the FDIC.  We had to employ brokers to spread the deposits over many banks.   Needless to say, this was an overreaction.  Not only did we spend a lot of time on the project, but we also lost a lot of return on our investments and paid  increased brokerage fees. The banking system did not melt down and we looked a little foolish.  I wrote an interesting article on that topic, which you can find here

Nevertheless, there was a valid underlying concern.There is a legal limit as to what the FDIC is required to guarantee.  It seems in this case the depositors with balances above the guarantee limit will be made whole, but there is no guarantee this will happen with future bank failures. It might take some time for them to access their funds.  If your organization  does have balances above the limit at a bank and you need the funds, your organization should consider opening another bank account to make sure it can continue to operate in case of a bank failure. 

The risk of bank failure is not the only concern with using one bank either.  A temporary halt in a bank’s operation can be a problem as well.  During the infamous 9/11 crises, the bank my company was using was located in Jersey City NJ, directly across from the World Trade Center.  After the attack the bank was closed for days. We could not access our funds and payroll was looming.  This would have been disastrous for the company. We were a toy manufacturer and  were in the middle of the heaviest shipping season. Any disruption would have seriously cut into our earnings.   Fortunately, I was able to meet the company’s obligations including payroll because I opened a second bank account  where I kept sufficient funds to operate the company for a period of time.  You may say this was a” belt and suspenders” approach to banking and what are the odds such a thing could happen again? I would answer that question with another question.  In today’s environment who wants to take such a risk?  Also, a little competition is good. Having a second banking relationship is not necessarily a bad thing. 

In short, do not rely on the FDIC deposit guarantee.  If you have more than $250,000 in place, move some of the deposits to another bank.  You not only have a risk of losing the funds but you may not be able to access them for a while.  Either could be a catastrophe for your organization.

Passing From the Scene

Pope Benedict XVI, the pope emeritus, and George Cardinal Pell, two giants of  the contemporary Catholic Church,  passed away recently.  Both made courageous decisions that had monumental consequences for the Catholic Church. As this blog is about the management of not for profit organizations and not politics or religion, Benedict’s and Pell’s theological views won’t be examined here.  That is for others to do elsewhere. 

George Cardinal Pell was an Australian charged with the cleanup of the Vatican finances.  He worked very hard at it and came too close to uncovering the real problems with Vatican finances. Pell was later accused of sexual assault on a minor, a charge on which he was originally convicted and then exonerated on appeal. There were whispers these accusations were bought and paid for  by nefarious forces at work in the Vatican. We of course don’t have evidence of that, but what we do know is that Pope Francis eventually stopped the audit engineered by Pell, fired the auditors and scaled back these efforts.  Pell was forced from office and could not complete his work.  Recently, an anonymous memo attributed to Pell circulating about the next Papal Conclave addressed some of these management issues.  The comments about financial management are excerpted here:

“(A) The financial situation of the Vatican is grave. For the past ten years (at least), there have nearly always been financial deficits. Before COVID, these deficits ranged around €20 million annually. For the last three years, they have been around €30-35 million annually. The problems predate both Pope Francis and Pope Benedict.

(B)    The Vatican is facing a large deficit in the Pensions Fund. Around 2014 the experts from COSEA (Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See) estimated the deficit would be around € 800 million in 2030. This was before COVID.

(C)    It is estimated that the Vatican has lost € 217 million on the Sloane Avenue property in London. In the 1980’s, the Vatican was forced to pay out $ 230 million after the Banco Ambrosiano scandal. Through inefficiency and corruption during the past 25-30 years, the Vatican has lost at least another € 100 million, and it probably would be much higher (perhaps 150-200 million).

(D)    Despite the Holy Father’s recent decision, the process of investing has not been centralized (as recommended by COSEA in 2014 and attempted by the Secretariat for the Economy in 2015-16) and remains immune to expert advice. For decades, the Vatican has dealt with disreputable financiers avoided by all respectable bankers in Italy.

(E)    The return on the 5261 Vatican properties remains scandalously low. In 2019, the return (before COVID) was nearly $ 4,500 a year. In 2020, it was € 2,900 per property. “ (1)

While one has to read this material somewhat skeptically, the overall tone and content of the memo is surely correct. What is the takeaway from this?  NFP financial management is often the poor stepchild of NFP management.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the largest NFP in the world: The Vatican. Donors do not like to hear their contributions are being squandered. Peter’s Pence, the annual collection taken up for the Vatican in every diocese of the world, has been declining  for years now. (2)  There are many reasons for this. COVID the declining  number of Catholics in the West and the sexual abuse scandals are all factors.  Why exacerbate a growing problem with bad news about corruption and mismanagement? 

Pope Emeritus Benedict passed from the scene also. It has been long rumored  Benedict resigned the papacy because he did not have the personal energy or the will to fight the corruption in the Vatican.  This was a courageous decision, as a papal resignation had not happened in centuries.  Benedict understood what it would take to combat the Vatican bureaucracy. Looking inwards, he did not perceive an ability to fulfill that mission.  

Again, what is our takeaway from this?  As an NFP manager, understanding  your capabilities is critical. Knowing when to ask for help is a key to success.  I had  a fairly large manufacturing company as a client.  It was owned by two people who were looking to hire a president. One was the head of sales and the other was the head of purchasing.  I asked them why they did not want to run the company.  After all, they owned it.  The answer was surprising at the time, but in retrospect, not now.  The answer was simple. They knew they didn’t have the knowledge to address some of the issues the company was facing as it was growing or to manage an increasingly complex organization. Like Benedict, they understood their limitations and sought help, even if it meant giving up day to day control of their organization. Or as one famous modern philosopher put it:

Pope Emeritus Benedict and Cardinal Pell  are profiles in courage.  The world is much worse off without them. May they rest in peace.  The question still remains How do you combat the management issues at the Vatican?  They were too big for these two men. It appears drastic action is needed. Perhaps it is time to consider what Constantine the Great did when he found his Rome to be too inflexible to change to new realities. He moved the capitol. 



Lessons From the New IRS Mileage Rates

Each year the IRS updates its allowable mileage rates.  It recently announced the following rates for 2023:

65.5 cents per mile for business use;

22 cents per mile for medical purposes; and

14 cents per mile for charitable purposes.

The latter two rates are unchanged from 2022. The new business mileage rate has increased by three cents per mile from the previous year.  The IRS claims the business rate is based on the fixed and variable costs of operating a vehicle and the medical reimbursement rate is based only on variable costs. Finally, the charitable contribution rates are determined by statute.  How do the new rates impact NFP managers? 

Right off the bat, it means costs will rise.  If your employees are using their vehicles for work purposes and you reimburse them at the IRS mileage rate you will need to pay them three cents per mile more than you did last year. However, that is not the real impact of these rates. The true impact may be far more subtle.  

Let’s dig beneath the surface of these numbers.  If we accept the IRS computations at face value, 22 cents per mile is the variable cost ( fuel, maintenance, etc.) of operating a vehicle. An additional 43.5 cents per mile then is the fixed cost of vehicle operation.  In short, the fixed costs or overhead application rate is about twice that of the variable cost. The largest component of the fixed cost is the depreciation of the car, which one source claims to be about 40% of the entire cost of operating the vehicle. 

This is just one example of a trend in the American economy. The percentage of fixed to total costs of providing products and services is rising. This is no less true in the NFP sector than in other industries.  There are many reasons for this, including the expanded use and cost of technology to conserve on personnel costs by improving productivity. NFP managers need to keep this principle in mind when they are applying for grants and costing out services.  Yes, we are not in the business of making a profit, but we do need cash flow to keep the doors open, provide a living wage for our employees, and fulfill the organization’s vision and mission.  Not taking into consideration fixed costs is a losing proposition in the long run and will lead to the eventual demise of the organization. Some of you may respond by saying many funders will not provide for overhead. My answer to that is to take a look at activity based costing, a topic previously discussed in this blog…

The second takeaway is the impact on volunteers and donors.  The charitable mileage rate is about two-thirds of the variable cost of operating a vehicle. So, the volunteer who can itemize on their tax returns (admittedly, few and far between these days because of the higher standard deduction on the federal income tax return) actually “lose” money driving to your facility to volunteer.  The deductible amount of charitable driving doesn’t even cover the variable cost of operating the car. Using this math, it might be better for  the volunteer to simply write a check that is completely deductible than to drive down to your facility and volunteer.   Obviously, this is not a perfect substitute for actual volunteering, but this problem is something NFP managers need to be aware of.  Some strategies for helping defray costs would be to allow volunteers to do as much as possible remotely so they can “bunch” their physical travel time to minimize expenses and to consider paying small stipends for actual time spent on premises. This will increase costs but the stipend says yes, we know it costs money for you to come here but we want to show our appreciation. 

It is troubling that Congress and the states are  so stingy with the charitable mileage rates.  In two scant years (2025) the Trump era tax changes will lapse and the higher standard deduction will disappear.  If this is the case, more and more people will begin itemizing again. Consider contacting your federal and state legislators to push for higher deductible mileage rates. The NFP  sector does a great job helping out those in need. It is also vital to the health of the economy but very few people talk about this. It is time we did. Let our legislators know how much the charitable contribution deduction and the charitable mileage deductions mean to our volunteers and donors.  Perhaps this will increase the volunteer participation in NFP organizations. 

Cost of operating a vehicle:

Hail And Farewell!

The holidays are always a joyful season for me, given I have five  grandchildren. They are a true blessing in life.  This year though, the holiday season will be a little bittersweet. The end of this year will also see a wonderful and well known professor retire from Moravian University (“Moravian” or “the University”).  Dr. James West is an economist who also writes some very good poetry and I daresay, is a dear colleague of mine on the faculty of the School of Business and Economics. He has been a mainstay of the faculty at Moravian since 1989 and will be leaving the classroom at the end of this semester for a sabbatical semester and then onto retirement.

One of Dr. West’s articles is named Attaining Prosperity: A 9 “P” Economic Model.  Jim has successfully used this model to teach budding new economics majors at Moravian. He postulates  Prosperity is the result of four microeconomic P’s (Production, Property, Prices and Profits) and four macroeconomic P’s (Public Sector, Private Sector, Philosophy, and Philanthropy). Combined, these eight factors result in the final P: Prosperity.  

As this is a blog about Not For Profit (“NFP”) management, I want to focus on the philanthropic factor. This is often omitted in a discussion of economic prosperity. Jim makes it an explicit part of a sound economy. Philanthropy is derived from the Greek work philanthropos, which means humanely or kindly, terms many do not connect to a capitalist society.  Jim states the philanthropic sector of the economy “…depends on the voluntary support of individuals, largely in the private sector, to support a myriad of humanitarian activities, in education, health, the arts, and many more quality of life components essential to the society’s definition of prosperity”.  

This is certainly a valuable insight.  One recent report states NFP organizations contribute on average 5.7% of the U.S. GDP in recent years.  It also claimed the NFP sector contributed $1.4 trillion dollars to the economy in the second quarter of 2022 alone (1).  This number is certainly dwarfed by both the public and private sectors, but nevertheless stands as a significant contribution to American economic life. Of course, the quality of life issues generated by the NFP sector are not so easy to quantify.  Who can deny a symphony orchestra playing a piece by Beethoven doesn’t improve our quality of life? The orchestra is largely supported by donations and subscriptions. That is the economic part of the equation.  The utility (to use an economic term) generated by listening to the music largely goes unmeasured. In short, beyond the quantitative measures (the impact on GDP) there are the qualitative aspects as well, enhancing human enjoyment and existence. 

He further points out, “ A society that promotes honesty and trustworthiness will support stable institutions in the private, public, and philanthropic sectors”.  These values will provide a solid economic structure for society. I would like to expound on this insight. They are in fact critical to economic growth, but we always have to be concerned with the moral dimensions of the underlying Philosophy as well.  For instance, my profession (accounting) has always emphasized the importance of “giving back” to the community.  This can be done by donating your time, talent, or treasure. We need to always keep that in our mind when we talk about what makes a strong economy, and to even more forcefully argue for greater participation by all in the NFP sector.  The “9 P” argument provides another reason why everyone’s  participation is necessary: it is part of a strong economy. NFP directors, managers, and employees can all be proud of their cumulative efforts and their contribution  to our economy.  

So, in closing, let me wish all of you a wonderful holiday season, a happy New year, and a well deserved retirement to my friend! May you have a healthy, and dare I say, prosperous New Year!

Dr. James West working with a student at Moravian University