With Memorial Day right around the corner, it is time for Not For Profit (NFP) Horseshoes.  Well, actually we are not going to physically play horseshoes, nor are we going to use Zoom to watch a horseshoes game.  I use the horseshoe scoring system to rate various developments in the NFP world. As a refresher for those of you who don’t play horseshoes or haven’t played in a long time (not only has it been a year since the last Memorial Day, but who knows how many of you actually played horseshoes last year during the pandemic?), here are the scoring rules.  A “ringer” is worth two points.  A “double ringer” is worth four. A “leaner” or “closest to the stake” is worth one point.  So, here we go!

Completely missing the horseshoe pit—The impending divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates.  A divorce is a sad event for any couple. I have often been a critic of Bill Gates’ business practices and some of the gossip about the marriage becoming public is less than flattering to him.  Nevertheless, I have often said that what goes on in a marriage (or civil union)  is the private business of those in the marriage and one can’t listen to gossip about the sad situation.  This divorce could have repercussions throughout the NFP world.  I have also said Gates has done a tremendous job in this arena.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has reportedly donated $50 billion to charities since 1994. Both parties have said they will continue to cooperate after the divorce so their foundation can continue its good work.  I think it is appropriate at this time to simply thank each of them for their past generosity and wish them the best of luck. 

Closest to the stake– Pope Francis’ financial reforms at the Vatican.  I have also been critical of the Pope in the past for the way he has handled the financial scandals in the Vatican.  His actions (and inactions) included terminating Price Waterhouse before it completed the audit of the Vatican and allowing the Vatican Secretariat of State to invest Peter’s Pence (the annual collection taken up by dioceses throughout the world in support of the Vatican) in a real estate scheme in the United Kingdom. Francis has now reversed course and implemented a string of reforms at the Vatican.  Cardinal Becciu, a close assistant to Francis and who used Vatican funds for the real estate scheme and was allegedly involved in other financial scandals, was stripped of his authority and his ability to function in future papal conclaves in September 2020. Other reforms were instituted. Clergy involved in fraudulent activity in the Vatican will now be subject to the Vatican court system and not just to ecclesiastical punishment.  Contract authorization and approval has now been centralized in the Vatican. Why then only a “leaner”?  It is too soon to see if these and other reforms will go far enough, be enforced or even survive.  The Vatican has the reputation for being notoriously corrupt (sadly) so many of these reforms may not outlast the Pontificate of Francis.  Only time will tell. 

Update: It was announced on July 2, 2021 Cardinal Becciu would face a trail at the Vatican for various crimes ranging from embezzlement to extortion. Eight others were included in the indictment. The trial is due to begin on July 27, 2021.

A double ringer–All the NFP organizations that labored through the  COVID pandemic. The last year has been incredibly tough for all NFP organizations. The enforced shutdown, loss of revenue and employees have taken a toll on these organizations. The fact that so many are left standing is a testament to the goodwill and charitable nature of their management and employees. Hats off to them and our gratitude! Please find a way to show your gratitude and support to an NFP by donating, volunteering, or both!

One thought on “NFP Horseshoes–Summer 2021

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