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Building And Maintaining Strong Foundations: Creating Community Responsive Philanthropy In Nonprofit Conversions

Our nation has a proud history of communities and individuals coming together to create service organizations and resources to meet needs that businesses and government ignore. Private, nongovernmental organizations such as churches, hospitals, museums, co-ops, food pantries, health insurers, community clinics, and credit unions are some of the organizations that make up a vibrant part of our society and economy, between business and government. These organizations are formed as nonprofits and are designed to help the community they serve, not to make profits for investors. They are governed by boards of directors, also known as trustees, who are usually volunteers.

The policies and laws that have been created to encourage and support nonprofits reflect the high value this nation places on the tradition of communities working together to meet their own needs. Nonprofits are private, not government, organizations. Because they receive private donations, in the form of monetary gifts and volunteer time, and government support, including full or partial taxexemption, their nonprofit charitable assets must be dedicated to charitable purposes. Trustees do not own the assets of a nonprofit. Instead, they have the job of protecting such assets and ensuring they are used effectively to serve the needs of the community.