Research Shows Only 1.2% of .Org Domains Have Adequate Phishing Protection

Research Shows Only 1.2% of .Org Domains Have Adequate Phishing Protection

Only 1.2% of .Org domains globally have implemented measures to prevent email phishing, spoofing, and ransomware attacks. This figure rises to only 20% among the top 100 US non-profits .Org domains by traffic.

New research from email security provider EasyDMARC reviewed a dataset of 9,935,024 verified .Org email domains. EasyDMARC found that only 376,497 (3.8%) domains had implemented the Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) security standard.

The DMARC standard enables the automatic flagging and removal of receiving emails which are impersonating senders’ domains, which is a crucial way to prevent outbound phishing and spoofing attempts. Despite the standard being over a decade old, this research indicates a widespread under-adoption of the standard among non-profits.

While there is a greater degree of DMARC adoption among the 100 most popular US non-profits by traffic, one in four still has not deployed the standard. Further, only 20% of the top 100 US .org domains have both deployed DMARC and implemented a ‘reject’ policy that automatically rejected emails impersonating a legitimate domain.

The research also signals a failure by the global non-profit sector to adequately configure DMARC when implemented. Among the small minority of the global .Org domains tested that employ DMARC, 171,486 (45.6%) had incorrectly configured it. As a result, these organisations lacked visibility into any impersonating emails they received or blocked.

Globally among non-profit domains using DMARC, only 121,290 (32.2%) had implemented a ‘reject’ policy that automatically rejected emails impersonating a legitimate domain. Most domains employing DMARC had configured it to do nothing about impersonating emails, with 218,777 (58.1%) domains having no policy. 55,281 (14.7%) had configured DMARC to send impersonating emails into quarantine.

Gerasim Hovhannisyan, EasyDMARC CEO and co-founder, says: “Impersonating email domains is one of the main tools used in successful phishing, spoofing, and ransomware attacks. That’s why it’s so worrying to see our research indicate that only 1.2% of global non-profits have implemented domain authentication via DMARC, which remains the best way to curb this threat.

“With phishing and ransomware attacks rising dramatically, a widespread lack of domain authentication leaves the non-profit sector incredibly vulnerable to cyber-criminals. Without taking steps to rectify this, many charitable and philanthropic organizations are at risk of significant disruption and financial losses.”

Source: EasyDMARC

The preceding press release was provided by a company unaffiliated with NonProfit PRO. The views expressed within do not directly reflect the thoughts or opinions of NonProfit PRO.

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Part of old Goochland golf course back up for sale as proposed Covid memorial is put on hold

Part of old Goochland golf course back up for sale as proposed Covid memorial is put on hold

Humanitarian Ambassadors of America Community Development Corp. bought 151 acres of the former Royal Virginian Golf Course. (Photos courtesy of Humanitarian Ambassadors of America CDC)

Less than a year after being purchased by a local nonprofit, a portion of a long-dormant Goochland golf course is back up for grabs as the owner rethinks its plans for converting the site into a Covid memorial.

Approximately 150 acres that were once part of Royal Virginian Golf Course were listed for sale last week for $1.8 million.

The seller is Humanitarian Ambassadors of America Community Development Corp., which bought the same acreage in May 2022 for $750,000.

Led by Arlene Simmons, the group’s initial vision for the property included a memorial for those who died from Covid, along with rock gardens, water features, vegetable gardens and agricultural and educational programs. The plan was budgeted to cost $33 million, much of which was to be donated.

But Simmons said this week that her Goochland plans are on hold while her organization deals with the loss of multiple key members due to illnesses and deaths.

Arlene Simmons

“Due to some issues, it’s back on the market as of Friday and we are exploring options as far as the property is concerned,” Simmons said. “We’ve put everything on hold right now.”

Simmons said the listing doesn’t necessarily spell the end of the memorial project altogether, as it may take shape in another location elsewhere in the region. She said they are looking for a new site for the memorial closer to her group’s headquarters in South Richmond.

“In the meantime we are exploring an alternative (memorial site), something closer to home because we don’t have the manpower now to be able to do this in Goochland,” she said.

Simmons’ nonprofit has been around for 25 years. She describes the group as community advocates doing work related to issues of health, crime and homelessness. She said the group helped relocate the homeless after the closure of the so-called “Tent City” in the city of Richmond during the pandemic. The group also accepts and distributes in-kind donations for larger nonprofits during instances of disaster or trauma.

The idea for a Covid memorial came to her after several of her relatives died after being stricken with the virus, and also volunteering as a hospice counselor for Covid patients and their families.

With the vision for the memorial in her mind, she then set out to find a tranquil setting somewhere in the region. She found just that at the old golf course that’s been mostly reclaimed by nature.

Hole markers still remain on the old course. (BizSense file)

The Royal Virginian course fell into foreclosure in 2011 and sold for $525,000, before being purchased by an entity tied to Charlotteville businessman Justin Beights in 2018 for $750,000. Beights then shuttered the course and has since floated uses for the pastoral property, including planting trees for conservation tax credits and creating substance abuse recovery homes near a pond on the site.

Beights still owns the course’s remaining 107 acres, which sits across Royal Virginian Parkway from Simmons’ portion.

A message left for Beights this week was not returned.

Simmons said her efforts in Goochland went as far as holding an honorary groundbreaking last year, doing minor clearing and renovations at the course’s old clubhouse, and meeting with county administrators last month.

Simmons’ group is represented in the sale by Stephanie Taylor of EXP Realty, who also handled the group’s purchase of the land.

“We’re asking people to bring any options to the table,” Simmons said.

“We remain excited about honoring those who have lost their lives to Covid and to health challenges and those that are grieving. And just doing everything that will strengthen people’s outlook on health and the daily challenges.”

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Why We developed a more flexible approach toward grantees 

Why We developed a more flexible approach toward grantees 

Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, both of our organizations, Jim Joseph Foundation and Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, had been taking gradual steps to improve our grantmaking processes. We were guided by a desire to serve as genuine partners to our grantees, emphasizing information and insights over process so that our grantees have more time to focus on implementing their missions. 

Once the pandemic hit, it was clear that business as usual wasn’t going to work. Strict parameters around grant proposals, mid-grant reporting, payout structures and final grant reports were rigid, time consuming and ineffective for organizations that needed to be responding and adapting to the needs of their communities in real time. 

After listening to grantees, learning from emerging practices in philanthropy and embracing opportunities for responsiveness, we eased some of the grant proposal and reporting requirements, streamlined our processes and increased the pace and scale of changes to support our grantees in continuing their work seamlessly. We also identified other areas where we could be flexible and enable grantees to devote more time to pursue their missions under challenging circumstances.

Today, many of those changes have become standard best practices for both of our organizations. The net effect has been very positive for us and our grantees. Sarah Fried, chief advancement officer at Hillel International captured the perspective of many grantees: “This more flexible approach has positively impacted use of our time and resources — and led to more productive relationships with each funder. As a data-driven organization with numerous funders and stakeholders, we regularly develop reports and proposals showing our impact or detailing funding needs for our newest initiatives. Knowing that we do not need to create entirely new materials for these funders affords us more time to focus on our core work, which includes supporting Hillel professionals and student leaders.”  

We know every funder operates differently — ours certainly do — but here are three ways we have both adapted our process to be more flexible partners to our grantees in the hopes that it inspires other foundations to evaluate and evolve how they work alongside their grantees.

1. Grant proposals and reports prepared for other funders often work for us too. Ultimately, grant proposals and reports are a means to an end — to receive important information so that we and our boards can make informed decisions. While we once asked for lengthy, bespoke proposals and reports —posing specific questions requiring unique answers — now the content, the information, drives the materials submitted, whether grantees produced them for us or for other funding partners. Today, we would rather follow up with a few specific questions than ask for a time-consuming, bespoke proposal or report. 

2. Deadlines can extend and reports can adapt. During the pandemic, we saw grantees working diligently to adapt, create and re-invent Jewish learning and life experiences. We have worked to meet their innovation and drive with more flexibility — extending deadlines for reporting requirements, postponing check-in calls if a grantee’s time was needed elsewhere and waiving some written reports entirely if there were other, less time-consuming ways to capture grant outcomes. Now, these flexible practices are among our standard operating procedures, ensuring grantees have more time to pursue their missions under challenging circumstances. 

3. Flexible grant terms build trust and spur innovation. First in fall of 2019 and then in fall of 2020, Lisa Eisen and Barry Finestone, of Schusterman and Jim Joseph respectively, wrote for eJewish Philanthropy about the many benefits of unrestricted, general operating grants, noting that this kind of support is beneficial both “for what it gives them — dollars, flexibility, capacity, and trust — as for what it saves them from – uncertainty, constraints, and repetitive administrative work.” Indeed, general operating support is a vote of confidence and a way to build trust. Alongside more general operating support, we continue to give multi-year grants with less restrictive parameters, which can help to drive and sustain the progress of one organization and influence the entire field.? 

We know that every funder has reasons for operating with certain practices. But we hope that sharing some of the changes we’ve made encourages others to think about changes they might consider.

As Sarah Waxman, Founder and CEO of At The Well shared: “There is trust in us to execute what we said that we were going to do, rather than constantly proving that we are doing what we said we were going to do. It’s a subtle shift, but it’s crucial and very impactful. … Knowing that I have funders who both believe in me and trust me gives me a sense of strength in order to move forward toward our shared goals.” 

Old operating procedures don’t need to be scrapped entirely; in our examples above, even minor tweaks still had a significant impact on the grantee and our relationship with them. The last three years have shown all of us the incredible dedication of individuals who work to sustain and promote Jewish communal life and learning. It is their dedication and creativity that inspire us to continue searching for ways to be as supportive, efficient, and effective as possible in our work together.  

Aaron Saxe is a senior program officer at the Jim Joseph Foundation and Rebecca Shafron is a program officer for U.S. Jewish Grantmaking at Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies. 

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NFWF awards $660 million to reverse loss of Louisiana wetlands

NFWF awards $660 million to reverse loss of Louisiana wetlands

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has announced $660 million in funding to the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) to help reverse the loss of wetlands along Louisiana’s coast.

The largest single conservation investment in the history of NFWF was awarded from its Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF), which received more than $2.5 billion from BP and Transocean in settlement of federal criminal environmental charges brought by the United States related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. Under the settlements, GEBF funding allocated to projects in the State of Louisiana—a total of $1.272 billion—must be used to support barrier island restoration and river diversion projects.

The commitment will support construction of the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion (MBSD), the first and most significant of two planned sediment diversions in Louisiana that over 50 years are expected to build or sustain approximately 20 square miles of additional land. MBSD will improve the sustainability of other projects in the vicinity, providing sediment that will help those areas maintain their wetlands and buffering communities against storm surges. As required by the terms of the settlement documents, as the project was developed, NFWF consulted with CPRA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and NOAA.

“This award of $660 million…will help reverse the historic loss of wetlands along the Louisiana coast,” said NFWF executive director and CEO Jeff Trandahl. “The wetlands in the vicinity of the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion were among the most heavily oiled as a result of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and we are pleased to support CPRA’s efforts to continue restoring these vital resources.”

“The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion is an innovative, first-of-its-kind project that will bring unprecedented strength to Louisiana’s coastal program,” said Chip Kline, executive assistant to the governor of Louisiana for coastal activities. “The project will restore areas experiencing some of the highest rates of land loss in the world for decades to come through sustainable land building. Moving forward with this project is a monumental milestone…one that would not have been possible without NFWF. We’re grateful for their continued collaboration and support throughout project development. This award represents a significant investment in conserving Louisiana’s coast and furthers NFWF’s support of CPRA and Louisiana’s coastal program.”

(Getty Images/Jaime Tuchman)

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Partners commit $102.5 million for Tribal-led conservation

Partners commit $102.5 million for Tribal-led conservation

The Doris Duke Foundation (DDF), in partnership with Native Americans in Philanthropy, the Biodiversity Funders Group, and 14 other philanthropies, has announced $102.5 million in commitments in support of the Tribal National Conservation Pledge

The Tribal National Conservation Pledge is part of the White House’s America the Beautiful Challenge, which aims to streamline funding for conservation efforts. The pledge supports the conservation work of Tribal nations as well as public-private partnerships between the administration, Tribes, and philanthropy. As part of its new Indigenous-led conservation initiative, DDF is providing $32 million of the total commitment. 

“We are proud to stand with Native Americans in Philanthropy and other leading foundations to support Tribal and Indigenous populations in applying centuries of knowledge, insight, and commitment toward conservation that serves communities, protects the nation’s rich biodiversity, and addresses climate change,” said DDF president and CEO Sam Gill. “Conservation led by Tribal and Indigenous communities is one the biggest opportunities to assure a more sustainable and just future for all.” 

(Photo credit: Getty Images/stock studiox)

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UNCF announces new HBCUv online education platform

UNCF announces new HBCUv online education platform

UNCF has announced plans to partner with Deloitte Digital for a new online platform tailored to historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) for community learning.

Supported by more than $10 million in funding from the Lilly Endowment and the Karsh Family, Citi, Bill & Melinda Gates, and Bank of America Charitable foundations, the HBCUv platform will provide remote education, community engagement, and career pathways to students seeking an HBCU education. The platform will include tools and technology to help students with career planning and degree program matching. In addition, it will use machine learning and big data to fuel predictive analytics on student performance and provide real-time feedback to instructors as well as serve as a social platform for students across the HBCU network to connect.

To date, UNCF has partnered with nine HBCUs—Benedict College, Claflin University, Clark Atlanta University, Dillard University, Jarvis Christian College, Johnson C. Smith University, Lane College, Shaw University, and Talladega College—to develop and pilot HBCUv. This year, more than 8,000 students enrolled at participating HBCUs will have the ability to cross-register for and take credit-bearing courses online through the platform. As the platform grows, UNCF plans to include more HBCU students and institutions. 

“This isn’t just about getting more classes online, it’s about providing a safe space for Black joy and expression, giving students an opportunity to find their ‘tribe’ of people, and inspiring students of all ages by showing them Black leaders who are part of the same HBCU legacy,” said Julian Thompson, director of strategy for UNCF’s Institute for Capacity Building. “HBCUv will do this by embedding the culture, community, and commitment to Black excellence embodied by HBCUs into a unique online experience that will form the foundation of the future of Black education.” 

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Drazen Zigic)

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