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University of Iowa News Release

June 23, 2004

Boyd Tells U.S. Senate About The Importance Of Nonprofits

Willard "Sandy" Boyd, University of Iowa president emeritus and professor of law, told a U.S. Senate committee Tuesday that nonprofit organizations are an important part of a community's vibrancy and can often be placed at risk by burdensome federal regulations.

"Iowa nonprofit organizations do much good with little funding," said Boyd, who is also the founder and director of the Larned A. Waterman Iowa Nonprofit Resource Center. "We are committed to doing good -- well and responsibly. While we share the desire for accountability and transparency, we are concerned about over-regulation of very small, very effective and very dedicated organizations."

Boyd testified before the Senate Finance Committee, which held a hearing regarding the oversight and reform of charitable organizations. He pointed out that 44 percent of Iowa charities have annual revenues of less than $100,000 and rely heavily on volunteers in all aspects of their organization. Pay and benefits are low, he said, and little money is available for training.

"Their commitment to serving the public sets an example for all Iowans," he said.

He also pointed out that Iowa law already sets strict guidelines to ensure that nonprofits in the state are operated transparently and efficiently. The state also has several organizations that nonprofit leaders can turn to for legal, tax and management advice, including the Iowa Nonprofit Resource Center.

Rather than adding more regulations, Boyd said Congress should add staff to the IRS to better enforce existing regulations and provide incentives to nonprofits to improve staff training. Such training can lead to more meaningful mission statements that an organization can be measured against, and to more knowledgeable board members, in particular the board chairperson.

"Adding more federal regulation and accreditation of all aspects of governance and operations would certainly crush small organizations financially, operationally and psychologically," he said.

Boyd is also president emeritus of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and was recently appointed a member of the Role of Nonprofit Organizations in Iowa task force.

For more information about the Larned Waterman Iowa Nonprofit Resource Center, visit its web site at http://inrc.continuetolearn.uiowa.edu/.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010, tom-snee@uiowa.edu.