NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a plan on Thursday that he says would revitalize and reform New York's nonprofit sector by eliminating outdated burdens.

Schneiderman made the announcement before an audience of business and nonprofit leaders, acknowledging that organizations throughout the state face historic strategic and financial challenges. The plan includes multiple new partnerships with the academic and business communities to improve nonprofit governance and will strengthen oversight and more effectively policing fraud and abuse, he says.

"New York is the proud home of the world's most dynamic and vibrant nonprofit sector, but for too long, our state's regulatory framework has placed unnecessary burdens on these essential organizations," Schneiderman said.

"This plan will unlock the full potential of our nonprofit community, and improve the lives of the countless New Yorkers they serve every day. In these difficult economic times, it is more important than ever to make New York a hospitable environment so nonprofits can continue to carry out their vital work. At the same time, we must maintain the public's trust by ensuring that nonprofits are governed effectively, and with meaningful oversight."

Last year, Schneiderman convened a leadership committee for nonprofit revitalization with 32 state nonprofit leaders to recommend proposals for reform. Thursday's plan was a result of those recommendations. The plan includes the Nonprofit Revitalization Act, New York on BOARD and Directors U. Jason Lilien, the bureau chief of Schneiderman's Charities Bureau, will aid in the promotion and development of the initiatives.

The Nonprofit Revitalization Act would streamline bureaucratic processes to facilitate the formation of New York nonprofits and the approval of major nonprofit transactions, modernize outdated requirements, such as permitting the use of technology to expedite efficient operations and reduce costs and require that board provide independent and enhanced oversight of executive compensation. The legislation would also require that nonprofits adopt whistleblower and conflict of interest policies, increase board responsibilities to oversee financial audits and enhance Schneiderman's tools to police corruption, such as self-dealing.

New York on BOARD is a new director recruitment initiative meant to build stronger and more diverse nonprofit boards. The companies that get on board with the program would agree to create new programs that encourage employees to serve on nonprofit boards and be matched with the appropriate nonprofits. The efforts of the project could be expanded to the academic communities and retiree population of the state as well. The program will be administered by the Association for a Better New York and will be developed by a steering committee that includes Loews Hotels, Lazard, First Niagara Bank, Cushman & Wakefield and Bloomberg LP.

Directors U is an initiative meant to improve director education, which will provide free or minimal cost training to nonprofit directors that is easily accessible. The program will create an online library of seminars and materials that covers a range of subjects for nonprofits and will also include in-person, live trainings.

Some of the academic institutions involved in the Directors U initiative include Yale University, the University of Albany, New York University School of Law, the New School, Cornell University, Columbia University, Binghamton University, Baruch College and Adelphi University.

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