By: Meghan Stoppel
On Wednesday, October 11, the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) convened virtually at their 2023 annual conference to discuss the challenges facing the nonprofit sector and how regulators are working to support the sector, while preserving the public’s trust in these important organizations.
After welcoming remarks from the NAAG Charities Committee Co-Chairs, Attorneys General Letitia James (New York) and John Formella (New Hampshire), representatives from the National Council of Nonprofits wasted no time in noting that today’s nonprofits are struggling like never before, due in large part to increasing demand, soaring costs and fewer resources. This, in turn, places greater demand on nonprofit leaders and greater responsibility on regulators. As noted by several panelists, nonprofit boards and their directors must be mindful of not only their fiduciary duties, but their strategic mission and, where appropriate, how that mission impacts others in the community. Charities regulators continue to play a critical role in educating nonprofit leaders in this regard, as evidenced by the Ohio Attorney General’s new online training program, entitled “Charitable University,” released earlier this year.
The audience heard from the Massachusetts, Ohio, New Hampshire and New York Attorneys General’s offices, with several charities regulators remarking on how they collaborated with others in the office, e.g. the False Claims Division in Massachusetts or the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau in New Hampshire, to achieve their enforcement goals. For a more fulsome report of the AGs’ work in the last year, audience members were encouraged to review the 2023 Annual Report recently published by NASCO.