An Accounting Fraud Tool Applied to Non-Profits

Frank Benford was a physicist in General Electric’s Research Laboratory almost a century ago. In that era, data sets were typed or written out by hand. One day, as he was looking through pages and pages filled with numbers, he noticed a fascinating pattern that was consistent across all his voluminous ledgers of work. First,Continue reading “An Accounting Fraud Tool Applied to Non-Profits”

Generosity: The Next Beauty Trend

There’s something wonderfully lyrical about the idea that beauty and generosity are inherently linked.  Perhaps the classical Greek poet Sappho said it best: “He who is fair to look upon is good, and he who is good will soon be fair also.”  Numerous studies over the years have demonstrated that giving and perceived attractiveness areContinue reading “Generosity: The Next Beauty Trend”

Two Roads, One County

A few seasons ago I came across a wonderful t-shirt at Mann’s Mercantile on Washington Island. On the front of the shirt was map of Door County with highways 42 and 57 prominently highlighted. Below the map were the words, “Two Roads, One County.” After the cacophony of the presidential election, I cannot get thisContinue reading “Two Roads, One County”

The Choice to Call Door County Home

This June marks 10 years that I’ve been writing columns for the Peninsula Pulse. If I collected all of the feedback I’ve received to everything I’ve written in the last decade, it would not equal the response to my most recent column, “We Must Hold Together as One County.” This last column was about theContinue reading “The Choice to Call Door County Home”

Hold Together as One County

In the aftermath of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy and the flooding in the Mid-Atlantic, national foundation leaders noted the inadequacy of the philanthropic response to that devastating crisis. Every responsible foundation across the nation recognized that we need to better prepare for the crisis that one day will arrive at our own front door. While hurricanesContinue reading “Hold Together as One County”

Our Most Important Resolution

As I began crafting this first column of 2018, someone casually suggested that I write about the progress of my previous New Year’s resolutions and the those I’ll be making for the coming year. That sounded like a promising column idea except for the fact that in my nearly five decades on this Earth, IContinue reading “Our Most Important Resolution”

Lessons for Non-Profits from 50,000 Wills

People’s reluctance to talk openly about their charitable giving has always frustrated me. Most folks will excitedly share stories about their beautiful new sailboat or the vacation they took to some exotic, far-away land. Yet when it comes to the charities we support, we tend to be far more hesitant to share. I’ve always foundContinue reading “Lessons for Non-Profits from 50,000 Wills”

Bunching Your Charitable Donations

Charitable giving is going to decline by about five percent as a direct result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that Congress enacted last fall. This is the consensus judgment of both liberal and conservative economists. Incentives matter and the loss of the tax deduction for charitable donations made by 21 million families isContinue reading “Bunching Your Charitable Donations”

Giving to Charity Makes Us Happy

“If you want to feel good, you have to go out and do some good.” Oprah Winfrey articulated a fundamental value that many of us share, but sentiment isn’t sufficient for scientists. Thus researchers set out to answer a complex question: Can people enrich their own lives through charitable giving? The answer brings us toContinue reading “Giving to Charity Makes Us Happy”