Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fear of IRS Sunshine:
AIDS Fund, LA Gay Center, NMAC, NAPWA

[Correction: My headline should read AIDS United. Apologies.]

Eosophobia is the fear of dawn or daylight and I believe it applies to gay and AIDS service groups that do not currently disclose at least three-years' worth their IRS 990s on their sites.

Yesterday, I looked at several nonprofits and if they presently post their filings, and for how many years. Let's now examine four groups that not only fail to post 990s but also don't link to them on the Guide Star or Foundation Center sites.

1. AIDS United. This DC-based group formed when the National AIDS Fund and AIDS Action groups merged into one nonprofit. It's a public policy incubator and doles out grants to local efforts. Their publications page shares two annual reports and two other self-promotional reports, no IRS 990s are disclosed for visitors to read and no link is embedded to the filings at the 990 archive sites.

2. Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Center. The Southern California services agency is one of the richest gay groups around with $46 million budget and yet they skimp on sharing their 990s on their financial statements page. That page includes six-years' worth of annual reports and it's terrific so many are posted for all to read, but executive director Lorri Jean, a very smart movement veteran, clearly is not interested in making fiscal transparency a key component to the center.

The 2010 IRS 990 for the center, as posted at Guide Star, shows the revenue rose from $45 million in 2009 up to $46 million in 2010 and Jean's salary is now at $371,116. That amount seems fair enough for someone managing so many millions of dollars, and should be voluntarily made public at the center's site with the posting of the filing.

3. National Minority AIDS Council. Headquartered in Washington, NMAC serves as a conference facilitator and support network for minority HIV service organizations. At their About and Publications pages no IRS 990s are disclosed, same for links to the forms posted at 990 archival sites.

NMAC's 2010 filing is posted at the Foundation Center and shows revenue fell from $8.4 million in the previous year down to $6.1 million. They reported receiving $2.9 million in government grants, a nice chunk of change and executive director Paul Kawata's salary is listed at $229,534.

4. National Association of People With AIDS. They maintain an office in Silver Spring, Maryland, just outside of Washington, and their official mission is serving people living with AIDS. Their page for annual reports omits 990s and links to their filings at archival sites, and only two annual reports are posted. 

NAPWA's 2009 IRS filing posted at Guide Star shows revenue was at $1.5 million, with the bulk of money, $902,151, coming from government grants and Frank Oldham the executive director earning $125,800. When your funding stream is primarily from the federal government, it simply cannot be described as a grassroots organization whose mission is PWAs first, in IMO.

For AIDS United, the LA Gay and Lesbian Community Center, the National Minority AIDS Council and the National Association of People With AIDS to keep their IRS 990s hidden from public inspection at their respective sites is wrong and a serious blot on their commitment to transparency.

Today I'm calling on these nonprofits to immediately disclose their three most-current 990s, and ask them to also consider following the example of Food and Friends in DC and share five-years' worth of filings.

The only cure for institutional eosophobia is consistent sunshine, which brings groups closer to fulfilling their commitments to democratic engagement with donors and the general public.

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