Indiana News

State Agencies Weigh Private Fundraising Through New Nonprofit Arms

7/30/2013

Two more state agencies have been authorized to set up nonprofit subsidiaries to do private fundraising.

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Legislators passed laws this year allowing the Indiana State Department of Health and the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives to create nonprofits to seek private donations, and use the money to support the agencies' missions.

Faith-based programs director Jeff Cardwell says without the new groups, there's no way for Hoosiers who want to donate to support particular state efforts to do so -- all they can do is write a check to the state treasury. He says the nonprofit subsidiaries allow targeted giving to supplement the work of the agencies and of existing nonprofits.

Neither agency is establishing its private arm immediately. Cardwell says he expects to do so eventually, but says other projects have higher priorities at the moment. The health department says it hopes to have a plan this fall, but is still hammering out the details, including seeking approval next month from the State Ethics Commission for proposed guidelines for the nonprofit and its board.

The law requires the nonprofits to report what they've spent and how much money they have left each year to the state budget committee. They'd also undergo an annual audit.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation, itself a private entity run by the state, already has a subsidiary, which has come under scrutiny for grants to companies with links to the subsidiary's board chairman.

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