Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Questionable Spending At Workplace Charity Amounts To Millions

by Gary Snyder

About $2-million in expenses claimed over seven years by the organization that ran the U.S. government’s workplace charity campaign in California was misspent or unaccounted for.

The $2 million included $770,000 that represented spending grossly over budget, even though no one had approved the deficit.

Questionable costs from 2005 to 2012 included a $112,000 down payment on a house, which Sacramento-based Metropolitan Arts Partnership sold at a profit shortly after it ceased working as a contractor for the Combined Federal Campaign. The organization, known as MAP, also spent tens of thousands of dollars in a given year on conferences, “donor recognition awards,” and “special events,” according to the audit by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s inspector general.

The Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Partnership received the contract to administer the Combined Federal Campaign in California for many years despite constant overruns, according to the Office of Personnel Management's inspector general. The board of federal employees overseeing it did not meet for most of the year.

Expenses were so high despite the fact Sacramento MAP didn’t have to pay the salaries or benefits for the dozen federal employees known as “loaned executives” who staffed the CFC full-time for five months each year. Their compensation is covered by taxpayers. 

Global Impact, another CFC contractor that said detailees needed "motivation," seemingly indicating that federal employees who were exempted from having to go to their government offices for up to six months viewed it as a vacation, even though taxpayers continued to pay their full salaries, and would work only if given additional perks. In May documented how Global Impact spent money on luxuries such as an in-office masseuse at its luxurious office suite on the banks of the Potomac River, which the firm said was necessary because its employees' jobs were so “stressful.”

The dozen full-time federal employees who worked five months out of the year on the Northern California CFC fundraising drive represent perhaps another $500,000 in annual costs footed by taxpayers. Counting that cost, in 2010, for example, the bureaucratic costs of just one layer of the government’s three-layer charity drive program amounted to 35 cents out of every dollar given to charity.
Sacramento MAP hired Kenneth I. Schaner, a lawyer who represented Global Impact, to defend the apparent diversion of CFC money. (source)

Nonprofit Imperative gathers its information principally from public documents...some of which are directly quoted. Virtually all cited are in some phase of criminal proceedings; some have not been charged, however. Cites in various media: Featured in print, broadcast, and online media outlets, including: Charity Navigator, Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio (NPR), Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), “Betrayal”, (a movie), NBC (on Charity Fraud…TBD), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Marie Claire, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, Charity Navigator, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, Board Room Insider, USA Today Topics, Accountants News,, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times, Portfolio Magazine, The Virgin Islands Daily News, NANKAI (China) BUSINESS REVIEW, National Religious Broadcasters newsletter, The Charity Governance Blog, American Chronicle, Palm Beach Post, Detroit Free Press, Oakland Press, Nonprofit World, Socially Responsible Business Forum, PNNOnline, Ohio Nonprofit Resources, Nonprofit Good Practice Guide, Nonprofit Startup Guide, Nonprofit Blog, National Coalition of Homeless Newsletter, Finance and Administration Roundtable Newsletter,, CORP! Magazine, Crain’s Michigan Nonprofit,, PhilanTopic, Nashville Free Press, Nonprofit Law Blog, Seniors World Chronicle, Carnegie Reporter, Assoc. of Certified Fraud Examiners Examiner,, Worchester (MA) Telegram and Gazette, Carnegie Corporation of America, EO Tax Journal, Wikipedia: Non-profit Organizations; Parent: Wise Austin, Accountants News, Veterans Today,, Far-roundtable, #Nonprofit Report, nonprofithelpnews, nonprofit news; National Enquirer, Northwest Herald, The HelpWise Daily, The #Nonprofit Report, Wikipedia (Nonprofit Organization),, Nonprofits: On the Brink (2006) Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (2011)
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