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Post-Sandy, Nonprofits Struggle in Tri-State Region

PHOTO: In the wake of recent disasters on the East Coast the Pro Bono Partnership is offering legal advice on everything from tenant-landlord issues to how to deal with employee pay issues during these trying times.
PHOTO: In the wake of recent disasters on the East Coast the Pro Bono Partnership is offering legal advice on everything from tenant-landlord issues to how to deal with employee pay issues during these trying times.
November 13, 2012

NEW YORK - First came Superstorm Sandy, then the snowy Nor'easter, to kick off November. The one-two punch left many nonprofit groups in the tri-state area struggling to get by.

Rick Hobish, executive director of the Pro Bono Partnership, says every dollar counts for nonprofits, especially after this bout of severe weather.

"It's very real, because they rely on these funds - the money that they raise - and Mother Nature undermined their ability to do it."

The Pro Bono Partnership provides free legal advice on tax, employment, and other related issues for nonprofit organizations in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The group tackles everything from tenant-landlord issues to how to deal with employee pay issues during these trying times.

Heading into the holiday season, this is a big time for nonprofits to raise badly-needed funds, Hobish says. However, he adds, many groups had to cancel fundraisers because of Sandy and other weather-related woes that followed, and they are now left with big legal questions.

"If the event was cancelled, can they keep the money that was given to them? Do they still have to pay the vendors with whom they contracted? Everybody is operating very close to the line, every dollar counts for these organizations; but by the same token, they want to do as much as they can to help individuals in need."

He says his organization also makes sure local groups don't try so hard to help that they overstep their service boundaries, which were established when the nonprofits were first set up.

More information is available at www.probonopartner.org.


Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY