Wednesday, August 17, 2011

IRS Sunshine Galore:
Food & Friends, GLAAD, LIAAC, NCLR

The past ten-days have been full of beautiful fiscal transparency at several gay and AIDS service organizations, some more cooperative and committed to sunshine than others, but all-in-all some good developments to report. Let's go over the groups and their sunshine moves in alphabetical order.

1. Food and Friends. This  DC-area hot meals program has long faced criticism over the high salary of the executive director Craig Shniderman. Last year he voluntarily agreed to reduce his salary, which as at $333,800 and IMO could be lowered even more, but let's laud him for this reduction.

Mike Bento, the secretary of the board sent me this note of his own volition the other day:

I know you’re always curious to see this, so I thought I’d send [the 2010 IRS 990] directly. We filed it today and its posted on the website, along with the 990 for 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006. Craig has voluntarily declined regular increases that were negotiated in his contract, so his 2010 compensation is slightly less than his 2008 compensation.

Executive salary concerns aside, Food and Friends, like last year, gets a Gay Sunshine Award for quickly posting their latest tax filing, making this critic aware that it's available for public perusal and sharing five-years' worth of 990s on their site. The IRS requires nonprofits to make just three-years' filing open for the public, and does not yet mandate web-posting, making the disclosures of Food and Friends quite noteworthy. 

All gay and AIDS organizations should follow this group's fiscal disclosure example. They receive another Gay Sunshine Award this year.

2. Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. This worthless group that serves as a bridge between corporations seeking gay dollars, actively solicits donations from media outlets they're supposedly watchdogging and hands out useless awards at drunken galas, had to be forced last year under Jarrett Barrios' leadership to finally post a single IRS 990.

In keeping with their extreme hesitation to democratically engage the community and adhere to basic voluntary transparency, I had to nudge GLAAD leaders in recent weeks to not only post their 2010 filing but also push them to post their 2008 filing. Click here to read GLAAD's tax filings. Since the disclosure was forced, they win no Gay Sunshine Award.

3. Long Island Association for AIDS Care. This organization was in the news in the spring when the New York Post reported on their leader Gail Barouh's $355,000 salary. After receiving a tip about Barouh also being compensated as head of BiasHELP and LINCS, two social tolerance agencies housed in the same building as LIAAC, I checked their 990s and combined Barouh's three salaries to arrive at a $526,000 take-home figure for her last year.

None of her groups posted any tax filings, and I contacted all three to ask about the 2010 filings. The director of finance for the groups, Maria Jacinto, sent this note:

Thank you for your inquiry. Please be advised that LIAAC 2009 990 was amended in May of this year and is available on LIAAC’s website. As of yet, the amended return does not appear to have been posted on Guidestar even though we sent it to them already. Regarding our 2010 990 form, we have requested for an extension since we had to amend our 2009 990. Please check our website for posting which will be before the extension deadline of November 15, 2011.

The LIAAC 2009 IRS 990, which last week was not on their site, has been added to it along with a letter explaining some confusing info and figures in the filing. Click here to read both.

BiasHELP's About Us page and the same page for LINCS have yet to share any IRS 990s. That should change and all three Barouh organizations should immediately disclose three-years' worth of filings. No Gay Sunshine Award for any of these groups until they post their three most current 990s.

4. National Center for Lesbian Rights. This San Francisco-based advocacy group last year, with fine voluntary disclosure from executive director Kate Kendell, publicly committed to posting their three most current 990s. They're doing that and they also say the name of the person to contact, Kris Hermanns, with a link to her addy.

To better help the public understand their finances, NCLR has this info posted above their three tax filings:

Our 2010 budget was $3.6 million, 84% of which is spent directly on our legal programs and services. As for our revenue, 75% of our annual budget is raised from individual donors, with major gifts of $1,500 or more making up about 40% of our total income. Additional funding comes from foundations and corporations, along with pro-bono services contributed by co-counsel.

Piques the appetite for more details, that easily available with a click, wouldn't you agree?

NCLR receives a Gay Sunshine Award for all of these steps and serving, like Food and Friends, as a beacon of transparency that is voluntary and worth citing.

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