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FASB Adds Collections Definition Project to Agenda

At its meeting last week, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) agreed to undertake a project to revise the definition of “collections.” The FASB will attempt to align the collections definition in its Codification’s Master Glossary with the definition in the American Alliance of Museums’ Code of Ethics for Museums. Specifically, the FASB’s updated definition would include the concept of direct care. The FASB said the definition change should have a prospective application. FASB staff members will draft a proposed Accounting Standards Update with a 45-day comment period. The Misalignment of Collections Definitions project is in response to museums’ struggles to determine the value of art collections and artifacts in complying with the American Alliance of Museums’ policies .

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FASB Could Align Definition of a Collection with U.S. GAAP

When the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) meets tomorrow, board members may align U.S. GAAP’s definition for “collection” with the American Alliance of Museums’ (“AAM”) definition. The decision would address museums’ struggles with determining the value of art collections and artifacts in complying with the AAM’s policies since the organization grants museum accreditations. Museums also seek GAAP-compliant statements. To be considered a collection, artwork and historical treasures must be used for public exhibition, education, or research for public service and not financial gain; protected, cared for, and preserved; and bound by a policy requiring that the sales proceeds be used. Read More.

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Art and Real Estate Clash in Federal Court

When a real estate developer decided to replace 5Pointz in New York City with condominiums, 21 artists filed a lawsuit claiming that demolishing the popular mural space without notice violated the Visual Artists Rights Act. The landmark trial in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn would determine whether graffiti receives federal protection. After three weeks of hearing arguments from both sides, the judge ruled in favor of the artists and awarded them over $6.7 million in damages for their art being destroyed. The ruling is viewed as a precedent for protecting street art. More on this case is available on the Nonprofit Quarterly website.  

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Limited Proposal Coming for Payments in Collaborative Arrangements

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) plans to issue for public comment a limited proposal that clarifies when to account for payments in collaborative arrangements as revenue. The proposed amendment to Topic 808, Collaborative Arrangements, would state that certain transactions between collaborative partners that are separate from third-party sales can create revenue that is accounted for consistent with Topic 606, Revenue From Contracts With Customers. FASB members unanimously approved releasing the proposal after reviewing feedback from its December workshops with auditors and companies. Members rejected calls for more specific guidance, stating that it would be tough to establish such guidance for. Read More.

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College Alumni Boost Charitable Giving in 2017

According to the Council for Aid to Education’s recent Voluntary Support of Education survey, college alumni were happy to give back to their alma maters in 2017. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017, colleges and universities amassed $43.6 billion in charitable donations. The total is a 6.3 percent jump from 2016 and marks the highest fundraising total in the survey’s history. While foundations were the top source of voluntary support in 2017, the survey says that the 14.5 percent rise in alumni giving is responsible for most of last year’s growth. More on this survey is available on the Inside Higher Ed website.

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Churches Now Eligible for FEMA Grants

Congress’ latest budget bill offers permanent eligibility for churches that apply for grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (“FEMA”) Public Assistance Program. The Bipartisan Budget Act amends the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, which sets eligibility requirements for FEMA grants to repair structures intended for nonprofit community centers. The amendment includes a change to the definition of a private nonprofit facility that no longer excludes houses of worship. More on FEMA grants is available on the Nonprofit Quarterly website.

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