Who am I?
FOCUS
My passion continues to be for smaller, local organizations working in the areas of social and economic
justice and personal and environmental sustainability
.  I definitely have a point of view, and am deeply
concerned about maintaining and increasing the effectiveness of
community based organizations.  I care about
small, and am tired of the "get big or get out" notion (direct quote once reported from a family farmer that he heard
from his banker).  I find I am no longer able to undertake interim or permanent finance director engagements; there
are a variety of reasons, some of them my own capacity and health.  So, while I am no longer as engaged
professionally, as I find it necessary to put myself out to pasture,
I hope and expect to continue to provide
explanations and problem solving "advice and counsel" as it were, and to
review Forms 990 for new and ongoing
clients as
my energy and health allow.  Call it semi-retired; the picture above used to be in "camo" (jacket and tie),
this one is an optimistic joke.


Organization of this page:   For now I'm going to leave these documents up while I figure out what makes the most
sense, but they are no longer fully current, nor am I seeking strenuous work any longer:

C.V., summary of consulting engagements, and list of formal public presentations).

Be clear:  the opinions on this
site are mine and mine alone, as are any errors or slanders :-)

While I was actively working, my emphasis was on training and capacity building and plain language
explanations for managers, directors and officers.
 Much of that I can still do.  But the demands of
concentrated analytical work with the pace and shallowness of today's email-driven workplace where nobody can
much handle more than tweet-length ideas, has somehow combined with my own health problems to render me no
longer useful as a manager.  

But t
ax, compliance and accounting topics intimidate many people.  Valuable information can be obscure.  This
weakens our sector.  I
still want to do what I can to make it accessible; I really care about the small organizations who
have trouble finding, or affording, genuinely qualified legal and accounting professional guidance
.  Things I did
during my career include:


  • group trainings and seminars for boards, professional associations, coalitions

  • review Form 990 and prepare a memorandum of suggested changes; this often provides a very good starting
    point to identify areas where further advice or guidance may be needed, from me, or from a CPA or attorney -
    I continue to study and track the development of Form 990 since it's overhaul with the 2008 form

  • review overall structure of the accounting system from final reports back through charts of accounts and cost
    centers (programs, mgt & gen, fundraising)

  • prepare cost allocation policies and assist with specific implementation

  • assist with preparation of a budget model to fit the organization and utilize rational, consistent line items

  • prepare better, more clear QuickBooks-based reports that are more professional and suitable for a nonprofit
    (do yours still say "profit and loss"? (hint: they shouldn't) and how about those darned indented subtotals?)

  • assist with training the Secretary and Treasurer and upgrading their areas:  adequate Board minutes,
    financial reports to the Board, Board trainings on financial statements, and living the duties of care and loyalty

  • tax compliance reviews and guidance to improve our positioning and work to ensure that organizations are
    above attack

  • planning and development of new affiliates such as c3/c4 tandems, and even triads where a 527 political
    committee is included or involved (although this area is getting very tricky to undertake without election
    counsel)

  • training, intervention and clarity on issues where there are problems created by differing advice between
    GAAP and Tax advisors

  • public support tests and public charity status:  explaining the implications and importance, assessing
    organizations to see whether it is a critical issue for them, and if so, assisting finance staff with forward
    projections and management with strategy

  • any and all questions not covered above (I know that sounds cocky, but I promise:  I'm too good at saying "I
    don't know" if an issue is outside my expertise or authority-to-advise.)  From my point of view, financial
    management means three major areas:
  1.   planning & budgeting
  2.   recordkeeping & reporting
  3.   control, governance & staffing
BIO
My overarching passion is to make financial
information accessible to nonprofit managers, boards
and advisors.  

I also thrive on spotting the differences between
GAAP and TAX and working to get organizations on
top of these issues so they don't end up being
ambushed by unforeseen results in one or the other
arena depending on how any transaction is structured
or characterized.

I received my B.A. from Antioch College in Yellow
Springs, Ohio in 1977, and my M.B.A. from the
University of Portland in 1984.  

From 1987 to 1992, I directed the Financial
Management Training Program of The Youth Project,
a grant making public charity working nationally to
support grassroots community organizations.  

Through this program, I provided technical assistance
and advice on financial management and tax
compliance issues to over one hundred very small,
grassroots, community organizing and issue advocacy
organizations nationally.

From 1990 to 1995, I was CFO of the Association for
Portland Progress, then a sophisticated business
league with an affiliated public charity operating on a
combined six million dollar budget to preserve the
successful dynamics of downtown Portland, Oregon.

From 1996 to 2004, I worked as a nonprofit specialist
(senior paralegal) for Silk, Adler & Colvin (now Adler &
Colvin), a premier San Francisco law firm providing
tax and corporate counsel to a wide variety of
nonprofit organizations.

From June 2007 through July 2009 I was Director of
Client Services for Leventhal Kline Management, Inc.,
a small philanthropic advisory services (nonprofit back
office management) firm in the Bay Area.

Continuously since 1984, I have maintained a private
practice providing advice and training to nonprofits
(and a few small businesses) on financial and tax
compliance issues.


Much of this came to an end, and I became aware it
needed to, with a catastrophic professional failure
during a very challenging engagement, ending
Summer 2015.  It was very challenging and many
people would have failed; I did.  It harmed me as well,
perhaps even shattered.


My favorite compliment on an evaluation form after a
workshop
was always "I expected to be bored and I
wasn't
."
I was honored to present for the annual AICPA Not-for-
Profit Industry Conference held in Washington DC in June,
every year from 2002 through 2012 - eleven consecutive
years!  I was deeply honored to spend eight years on the
planning committee, the final two as "tax-lead" (sort of co-
chair for tax, along side the every engaging and
charismatic Bob Mims who was overall conference Chair).  
I learned much from this experience - and the group of
smart colleagues; it helped me to refine my workshop
techniques.

I presented three times, and was on the planning
committee once (2004) for the annual AICPA Not for Profit
Financial Executive Forum held in November on the West
Coast (moving from San Francisco to Anaheim in 2009).  
In 2004 I spoke on GAAP v. TAX issues, participated in two
panels at the 2006 conference, one on policies &
procedures and the second on Challenges Facing CFOs; I
co-presented a session on the management practicalities
and recordkeeping & reporting issues of tandem
organizations ((c)(3)/(c)(4,56)) at the 2007 conference.

I twice presented professional seminars for the San
Francisco Chapter of the Not-for-Profit Interest Group of
the California Society of CPAs, three times for the annual
statewide Oregon Society of CPAs Not-for-Profit
Conference held in the Spring, and tw
o sessions for the
New York State Society of CPAs' annual Exempt
Organizations Conference
one year.

My CPA Society seminar topics covered a range of public
policy advocacy issues, public charity status and the public
support tests, grey areas in ethics, and GAAP vs
. Tax
issues in nonprofit accounting.  

In 1990 (revised in 1992) I wrote and self-published
Managing for Change:  A Common Sense Guide to
Evaluating Financial Management Health for
Grassroots Organizations
, and I wrote a chapter entitled
“Navigating The Tax Implications of Earned Income” in
Andy Robinson’s
Selling Social Change (Without Selling
Out)
, Jossey-Bass, 2002.  An earlier draft of that chapter
is on the
Downloads page of this site.

For specific details, you may want to see my C.V.
(résumé) and/or a
summary list of my consulting
engagements (which shows all my clients, location, type
of organization, and what I did for them).  For my work as a
trainer [which slowed down; perhaps
as the time for
pasture became obvious]
, I compiled a list of my formal
public
presentations, (for the most part not including
presentations tailored for a single organization or network,
and certainly not when there is/was controversy that I was
helping to def
use).