Not for Profit

Reno’s “Hot August Nights” Goes For-Profit and Skips Town?

Though the connection between the non-profit Hot August Nights organization that’s been putting on Reno’s biggest party for 24 years and the newly-registered for-profit Hot August Nights of Las Vegas is unclear, what is clear is that part of the event will be held in Long Beach this year due to “horrific” costs to put the event on in Reno.

Reno, if you don’t already know, is in pretty bad shape. I used to live there so I know that it always was but it’s in really bad shape right now. With the iconic Fitzgerald’s Hotel and Casino indefinitely boarded up directly under Reno’s “Biggest Little City in the World” sign as a direct result of the Corus Bank failure 1,500 miles away in Chicago back in late 2009, downtown looks more destitute than ever. I take full artistic license for use of the word “iconic.” This is Reno we’re talking about.


You’d think Reno city commissioners would want to encourage fun and leisure, mostly through the only event any of us with the big money to the West are familiar with (Hot August Nights) but all signs point to the city losing it.

On the same day paperwork was filed in Nevada to establish the for-profit, non-profit Hot August Nights officials announced part of the event would be held in Southern California in 2011.

There’s been a bunch of bitchfighting in Reno (and neighbor Sparks, who gets some of the tourism run-off for the event) and it continues.

We don’t expect you to be familiar with the Reno area (unless you happen to work for Deloitte or E&Y in town, though we don’t like those odds) so for a little background on Hot August Nights, it’s a yearly car show stamped as family fun for everyone. The event costs $700,000 to put on each year according to organizers who swear they aren’t looking to move the show to Long Beach in 2012.

The Reno Gazette-Journal breaks down the non-profit side:

In the 2004 tax year, Don Schmid, then listed as executive director, was paid $93,962 in salary.

On the nonprofit corporation’s 2008 income tax return, current executive director Bruce Walter is listed as collecting $256,890 in salary and $11,940 for a housing allowance, resulting in total compensation of $268,830.

Yes, I’m sure it’s the costs of putting on the event that are inspiring a move. Anyone been to a convention in Reno lately? It’s got to be the cheapest place in the country if you don’t count middle states. You’re telling me it’s cheaper to host the event in Long Beach?

For-profit Hot August Nights corporation created in Vegas [The Reno Gazette-Journal]

Looking for a Tax Break? Try Donating Your Erotic Artifacts to the Museum of Sex!

Using a foundation to fuel your for-profit business is never nice, especially when there is an extensive collection of BDSM memorabilia involved.

New York’s Museum of Sex does not claim to be a non-profit but it has obtained over 1,000 items donated through its tax-exempt Muse Foundation for tax deductions. Well? You wouldn’t donate your old brushed-steel bondage machine to Goodwill for the deduction now would you?


Want to help by bequeathing your great-grandma’s old pasties? There’s a handy donation link on their website that explains this bizarre relationship between for-profit museum and non-profit foundation:

The Muse Foundation of New York is a fully registered private foundation affiliated with The Museum of Sex. Its mission is to work with The Museum of Sex to preserve and make available a comprehensive collection of materials relating to the history, evolution and cultural significance of human sexuality.

That’s awesome but does the Treasury realize taxpayers can get fat deductions for contributing to this effort?

Museum founder Daniel Gluck claims that his lawyers allowed this relationship (plenty of for-profit companies have non-profit foundations that share their name) and the Museum would love for its Foundation to be, erm, profitable enough to serve its stated goal of providing underwriting art grants but that plan just hasn’t quite worked out. Yet. After more than a decade of operation. “The Muse Foundation is completely its own separate entity,” he said. “We can’t take money from the foundation and we don’t plan to. We aim to build it up into a foundation whose interests are aligned with the museum.”

Gluck told the NYT that the museum earns 70% of its income from admissions fees – nearly $17 a pop – and the remainder by selling cute Sex Museum tchotchkes in the gift shop (perhaps your dog is sexually frustrated and desperately needs a modern and arty $650 toy to hump?)

Before you ask, no the $300 bunny bondage hood is not tax deductible. But hold onto it long enough and you might just be able to get one for donating it back to the museum if Treasury still hasn’t caught on to this unique foundation/corporation relationship.

Tax Break for Erotica? A Museum Favors It [NY Times]

New Jersey May Limit Pay For Nonprofit CEOs

Nonprofits doing business with government agencies take note, the days of bloated compensation structures may be over.

Starting July 1st, 1200 nonprofit social service agencies contracted by the state of New Jersey’s Department of Human Services with budgets above $20 million will be subject to a salary cap of $141,000 for its top executives. Executives of NFP agencies with budgets from $10 to $20 million will be limited to salaries and compensation of $126,900; those with budgets of $5 – $10 million will be capped at $119,850 and agencies coming in under $5 million will be limited to $105,750.


The limit would affect at least 30 executives who received compensation packages in excess of what is allowed by the new rules.

The state would save about $5 million by paying less money in CEO salaries, as well as cutting back on travel, education, severance, and vehicle expenses for all nonprofit employees, said Nicole Brossoie, a rep from the state’s Human Services office.

“In light of the state’s fiscal challenges, the department has been exploring cost efficiencies in every part of our budget,” Brossoie said. “The department’s continued goal is to ensure that state dollars are being spent in the most efficient ways.”

While that’s an admirable goal, the proposed changes would also impact organizations that do not feature over-paid executives or frivolous waste of precious funding. One CEO of an NJ nonprofit is worried that her organization may be barred from rewarding staff with cheap gifts (think $5 Starbucks cards) under the new rules – though she is not compensated enough to be impacted by any new restrictions on executive salaries.

State may limit pay for top leaders of New Jersey non-profit social service agencies [Press of Atlantic City]