Tuesday, February 06, 2007

SF Chron Wrong on Delancey Street Income, Govt Grants? Yes.

What is with the Chronicle making the same mistake in two days? Have the reporters and editors suddenly forgotten how to IRS 990 forms from nonprofits? My two letters to the Chronicle about missing truthful information on the Delancey Street Foundation:

February 7, 2007

John Wildemuth
SF Chronicle

Dear Mr. Wildemuth:

In your story today on the Delancey Street Foundation, you report the following claims:

"The emphasis on job training -- and turning a profit with it -- also sets Silbert's vision apart. Delancey Street has never accepted government money or sought foundation grants. Instead, it relies on donations and the profit from its commercial enterprises."

Your assertion that the organization "has never" received government money is simply not true, according to the three most recent IRS 990 filings by Delancey Street.

A colleague of yours, Carolyn Said, on Tuesday also reported the claim that this nonprofit has not taken government grants, and I sent her a letter about this, with the following facts, as found on IRS 990s available at guidestar.org:

The tax filing for 2004 shows the nonprofit took in $253,529 in government grants, but, as with all IRS 990 reports, it doesn't say if the grants were from a local, state or federal government agency.

For 2003, the IRS filing shows Delancey Street received $322,347 in government grants.

And during 2002, the nonprofit took in $398,336 from government sources.

For two days running, the Chronicle has erroneously stated Delancey Street refuses and doesn't want government money.

In light of their IRS 990 filings, showing otherwise, I believe a correction is owed to readers.

Michael Petrelis

February 6, 2007

Carolyn Said
SF Chronicle

Dear Ms. Said:

In your story today
on Mayor Newsom approaching the Delancey Street nonprofit organization for help with his alcohol problem, you reported the following:

"[Mimi Silbert] declined to say how Newsom might be involved with Delancey's thriving businesses, which include a gourmet restaurant, moving company and bookstore-cafe. The enterprises serve the dual purpose of giving residents work experience and generating funds. Those revenues and donations are the widely praised program's only income."

I've checked the IRS 990 tax filings for Delancey Street, posted on guidestar.org, and the records show otherwise.

The tax filing for 2004 shows the nonprofit took in $253,529 in government grants, but, as with all IRS 990 reports, it doesn't say if the grants were from a local, state or federal government agency.

For 2003, the IRS filing
shows Delancey Street received $322,347 in government grants.

And during 2002
, the nonprofit took in $398,336 from government sources.

Over the course of three years, Delancey Street had a total of $974,212 in revenue from government contributions, so I don't think you accurately reported on the group's revenue sources in your Chronicle story.

In my view, that amount in government grants should be considered as income for the group. Don't you agree? Or it is wrong of me to think the government grants should qualify as income?

Michael Petrelis


Anonymous said...

As a graduate of Delancey St. in 1992 I truly question how well this so-called program works.
See, I was back smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol just one single week after graduating from there!
I was a supposedly a somewhat successful resident for 4 years too! I did everything they told me and did it well with no complaints.
I did receive my GED, but never learned any trades nor did hardly anyone learn a trade, unless you want everyone to be furniture movers or keychain salesmen.
I was not the only one either that immediately went back to drugs and alcohol.
Of the 8 or so other residents that graduated around the same time as I did, 6 were at least smoking pot and drinking shortly after graduation.
One is back in prison for 10 years. Another I know is dead.
Have any studies been done on the thousands of graduates at all? Are any records kept on the graduate’s actual success at all? If not, then why not?
How are the so-called graduates performing after 1, 3, 5, 10 years not to mention 2 weeks after graduation. Does anyone really know? I bet not!
All we hear about are the few success stories. The one doctor, the one politician (the founder’s brother), a mortician, and a fireman.
Okay now, that’s 4 successful graduates out of 15,000 plus graduates.
I contend that all Delancey Street Foundation does is keep criminals and drug addicts off drugs and out of jail only temporarily.
Although, I have never been sentence to prison myself, I have been arrested for DWI/DUI twice since graduating and am constantly struggling to stay sober and out of trouble.
Delancey St. never addressed my alcoholism and drug abuse, although I was actually sentence to Delancey St. with over 20 felony drug charges! As a resident we were forbidden to talk about drugs or alcohol even in the group therapy sessions. Dr. Mimi Silbert, the only license professional on the staff was rarely seen or never seen by residents.
Outsiders have only seen the nice buildings, the residents working hard at their jobs for free room and board or only a measly $20 a month, a clean and nicely structured environment, and felons off the streets learning new trades like basket weaving, cooking French fries, selling novelty advertising, landscaping, and furniture and office moving.
I contend that the residents are doing well while they are actually living at Delancey St. Foundation, but are ill prepared once they are released (graduate). The last 6 months before a resident is cut free they still live at a DSF facility, but work outside. Almost all the money they make working outside goes back to DSF. The residents have no choice in this and then get immediately clobbered by the high cost of living in San Francisco and usually can’t support themselves. The 6 months of money that goes to DSF is a savings for when you get out, but I couldn’t afford anything when I got out.
And get this. Once the resident leaves, DSF doesn’t have any way or any programs to keep in touch with their graduates. I feel as if I worked for them and made them a ton of money mostly with the moving company which is back breaking labor, for 4 years and then when I thought I was ready to leave they didn’t give a damn what happened to me! I don’t think that their goal is to have you return back to society a healthy person, but to hold on to you to see how much they can make off of you while you’re there.
So, if anyone out there is considering Delancey St. Foundation as a place to be cured from alcohol and drug dependence? Don’t go to DSF. Go see a doctor or check yourself into the emergency room.

Anonymous said...

The article also reads:"Thousands of others have learned trades and established careers with the training they received at the foundation."

That's not true at all! That's just an out right lie. Because they teach you how to change motor oil and change a car tire doesn’t make you a certified auto mechanic.