Thursday, November 12, 2015

Charity Fundraisers Take It All; Celebrities Assist; No Oversight

by Gary Snyder



California youth nonprofit that has raised some $6.9 million since 2011 with the help of celebrities and major-league sports teams has paid 83 percent of the money to professional fundraisers, the Los Angeles Post-Examiner writes. California Police Youth Charities paid $5.7 million to two for-profit solicitation firms while earmarking less than 1 percent of its revenue for programs supporting at-risk youths, according to tax filings.

Since 2011, the nonprofit, based in Roseville, CA, has raised more than $6.86 million in charitable contributions, but about 89 cents of every dollar has gone toward salaries and professional fundraisers — with more than $5.7 million in payments to the same fundraising companies named in a 2009 lawsuit filed by California Justice Department officials, according to records.

To build its good name, California Police Youth Charities advertises its past and present affiliations with the NFL’s San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and the MLB’s Oakland Athletics. Its board of celebrity advisers includes former Playboy Playmate of the Year Brande Roderick, whose 2009 appearance on Celebrity Apprentice netted the group $168,000; singer Eddie Money; NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry; surfer Jeff Clark; and retired NFL players Christian “the Nigerian Nightmare” Okoye, Rod Martin and Steve Wisniewski.

California Police Youth Charities didn’t just survive the state’s investigations – it claims to be in a stronger financial position because of it.  “We benefited from the lawsuit in the amount of $200,000,” said the organization’s executive director. “We admitted to no wrongdoing and must continue to maintain our innocence to this day.” The nonprofit received $200,000 as restitution from the for-profit fundraisers, according to the settlement. A $700,000 fine in damages and restitution levied against California Police Youth Charities was stayed as long as they complied with the settlement.

Despite Attorney General’s tough talk, California Police Youth Charities’ problematic fundraising practices have continued. Since 2011, with the Attorney General’s office watching, less than 1 percent of the organization’s funds have been distributed in the form of charitable grants.

A solution needs to come from both sides: increased government oversight of charities and more vigilance by individual donors, Loyola Law ethics professor Jessica Levinson said.

To make matters worse, beginning on Jan. 1, 2016, professional sports entities, including NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL franchises, will be allowed to run 50/50 raffles to benefit charities of their choosing. The bill was strongly opposed by the California Association of Nonprofits, a statewide advocacy group that represents more than 10,000 nonprofit organizations. “The bill doesn’t include any provisions to assure raffle patrons’ funds would go to legitimate charities that are in good standing,” said Jennifer Fearing, a spokeswoman for CalNonprofits. (Chronicle of Philanthropy)






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, Newsweek.com, 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, MichiganNonprofit.com, CORP! Magazine, Crain’s Michigan Nonprofit, ncrp.org, PhilanTopic, Nashville Free Press, Nonprofit Law Blog, Seniors World Chronicle, Carnegie Reporter, Assoc. of Certified Fraud Examiners Examiner, msnbc.com, Worchester (MA) Telegram and Gazette, Carnegie Corporation of America, EO Tax Journal, Wikipedia: Non-profit Organizations; Parent: Wise Austin, Accountants News, Veterans Today, Answers.com, Far-roundtable, #Nonprofit Report, nonprofithelpnews, nonprofit news; National Enquirer, Northwest Herald, The HelpWise Daily, The #Nonprofit Report, Wikipedia (Nonprofit Organization), Answers.com, Nonprofits: On the Brink (2006) Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (2011)
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