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Thomas H. Pollak


Senior Research Associate and
Program Director
National Center for Charitable Statistics
Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy

Tom has worked on an array of activities and research areas since joining NCCS in 1996, including electronic filing of IRS Forms 990, assessing the quality of IRS nonprofit data, understanding nonprofit overhead costs, and improving databases that deal with nonprofit arts organizations. Previously, Tom served as Research Director of Citizens Fund from 1990 to 1994, and as Senior Research Associate at Independent Sector, where his work focused on the impact of federal budget changes on the nonprofit sector. He received a J.D. from Georgetown University.

Publications


Viewing 1-10 of 23. Most recent posts listed first.Next Page >>

The State of Nonprofit Governance (Research Report)
Amy Blackwood, Nathan Dietz, Thomas H. Pollak

This report provides a snapshot of nonprofit governance policies and practices among operating public charities. Using IRS Form 990 data, we find that many public charities have good governance policies and practices in place. In 2010, more than 60 percent of organizations had a conflict of interest policy, an independent audit and a compensation review and approval process for their chief executive. We also find that organizational characteristics such as size, type of organization, government funding, age, board size and board independence all appear related to whether or not a public charity chooses to adopt these recommended practices.

Posted to Web: September 11, 2014Publication Date: September 11, 2014

The Impact of the Great Recession on the Number of Charities by Subsector and Revenue Range (Research Report)
Nathan Dietz, Brice McKeever, Melissa S. Brown, Jeremy Koulish, Thomas H. Pollak

Posted to Web: June 24, 2014Publication Date: June 24, 2014

The Impact of the Great Recession on the Number of Charities (Research Brief)
Melissa S. Brown, Brice McKeever, Nathan Dietz, Jeremy Koulish, Thomas H. Pollak

According to NCCS data, the charitable nonprofit sector proved surprisingly resilient during and after the Great Recession (2008-12), with only a small increase in the percentage of organizations closing their doors as compared to the period directly before the recession (2004-08).

Posted to Web: October 16, 2013Publication Date: October 16, 2013

Mandatory E-Filing: Toward a More Transparent Nonprofit Sector (Research Report)
Amy Blackwood, Ayobami Jaiyeola, Thomas H. Pollak

The Obama administration’s 2014 budget proposal authorizes the IRS to require electronic filing (e-filing) of returns filed by all tax-exempt organizations. While mandatory e-filing of these forms will yield more robust and timely data for potential donors, nonprofit managers, regulators, and researchers, some observers are concerned about the potential impact on paper filers and tax preparers. In this brief, we will examine this concern in more detail and report findings from a small survey of certified public accountants, thought by some to be opposed to e-filing, that shows instead that they are widely in favor of it.

Posted to Web: July 23, 2013Publication Date: July 12, 2013

Hearing on Public Charity Organization Issues, Unrelated Business Income Tax, and the Revised Form 990: Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Oversight of the Committee on Ways and Means United States House of Representatives (Testimony)
Elizabeth T. Boris, Thomas H. Pollak, Additional Authors

Staff from the Urban Institute, GuideStar and the Foundation Center submitted joint comments to the Subcommittee on Oversight of the Committee on Ways and Means, United States House of Representatives for its hearing on "Public Charity Organization Issues, Unrelated Business Income Tax, and the Revised Form 990" July 25, 2012. The authors make recommendations for achieving greater transparency, accountability and effectiveness in the nonprofit sector by requiring electronic filing of IRS Forms 990 to improve the quality of data on nonprofits and the speed with which those data become available.

Posted to Web: August 16, 2012Publication Date: August 16, 2012

The Nonprofit Sector in Brief: Public Charities, Giving and Volunteering, 2010 (Research Report)
Kennard Wing, Katie L. Roeger, Thomas H. Pollak

This brief highlights trends in the number and finances of 501(c)(3) public charities as well as key findings on private charitable contributions and volunteering, two vital resources to the nonprofit sector. It includes the most recent data available.

Posted to Web: September 14, 2010Publication Date: September 01, 2010

The Nonprofit Sector in Brief: Public Charities, Giving and Volunteering, 2009 (Policy Briefs)
Kennard Wing, Katie L. Roeger, Thomas H. Pollak

This brief highlights trends in the number and finances of 501(c)(3) public charities, as well as key findings on private charitable contributions and volunteering, two vital resources to the nonprofit sector. Figures on giving and volunteering include the most recent data available. Data reported on the nonprofit sector are from 2007—a snapshot of the sector just before the U.S. economic recession.

Posted to Web: May 06, 2010Publication Date: April 01, 2010

Five Questions For Thomas Pollak (Five Questions)
Thomas H. Pollak

Thomas H. Pollak, coauthor of "Washington-Area Nonprofit Operating Reserves" answers five questions about local nonprofits’ financial health. This first-of-its-kind study looks at the operating reserves of public charities—from soup kitchens to job-training centers to local arts groups—as reported in their 2006 tax filings. The study found that most nonprofits had weak reserves before the downturn, leaving them vulnerable to effects of the recession.

Posted to Web: July 13, 2009Publication Date: July 13, 2009

Washington-Area Nonprofit Operating Reserves (Research Report)
Amy Blackwood, Thomas H. Pollak

This report, funded by the Meyer Foundation, looks at the operating reserves—the cash and other liquid assets—of public charities in the Washington Metropolitan area. Using IRS Form 990 data, the report found that 57 percent had reserves insufficient to cover three months of expenses, a level that many experts consider the minimum necessary for financial stability. This leaves them especially vulnerable to the rapid declines in revenue or increases in expenses that occur in economic downturns like the present. A substantial perecentage of all types and sizes of organizations lacked adequate reserves.

Posted to Web: June 24, 2009Publication Date: June 24, 2009

The Broader Movement: Nonprofit Environmental and Conservation Organizations, 1989-2005 (Research Report)
Baird Straughan, Thomas H. Pollak

This study, the first comprehensive look at IRS data on more than 26,000 environmental and conservation organizations – 8,000 of which had revenues of $25,000 or more – reveals a core of prominent national organizations and a larger, more rapidly growing universe of regional, local, and other specialized groups. Taken as a whole, the environmental movement expanded in number of organizations, members, and in total revenues almost every year since 1960. It focused less on advocacy than on projects and education, and was younger, more densely networked, and more dependent upon grants and contributions than was the nonprofit sector in general.

Posted to Web: December 01, 2008Publication Date: December 01, 2008

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