Nonprofits should be held accountable

  • Follow Letters

America is awash with organizations that qualify for state and federal tax-exempt status. Collectively these are loosely known as nonprofits, and qualify under myriad regulations and are constructed to address many, if not all, of the ills that beset mankind.

Since the 1990s, when the fraud scandal was unearthed involving United Way's national CEO, there has been a positive push by most of the larger groups to appear more transparent and accountable. It is easy to understand that the public will withhold funding from any organization that appears to be acting in self-serving ways.

Therefore, donors and potential donors are now presented with large, attractive annual reports that emphasize how well their contributions are being used, and assuring us all that there is no skulduggery afoot.

In fairness, it must be said that many of our nonprofits do an excellent job of meeting their goals while generating only nominal administrative overhead. The sky is not yet falling.

However, if we look closer, we see there are a number of typically very small groups that have questionable motives. Many appear to exist for the sole purpose of giving their administrators jobs. Collectively their expenses, which are attributable to administrative overhead, are by any measure excessive.

When the goals of these groups are examined closely, it is rare to find one that exists for anything more than the redistribution of taxpayers' money. There is no goal of weaning the client from the program. There is no attempt made to do anything to resolve the underlying issues that brought the client to them in the first place.

In short, these groups have become enablers that assist in perpetuating cycles. Like giving a bottle of whiskey to a drunk, they have done little more than prolong the inevitable. Much of the funding for these programs comes from government agencies, and as such it is our money. I would like to know that it is being spent to actually resolve a problem rather than just postpone it.

Our charitable organizations need to let us know how many of their clients have been taught how to fish for themselves, and how many have just been fed and sent to the back of the line again. We owe it to ourselves and to those we seek to help, through these agencies, to demand real accountability. Support those who can get the job done.

Phillip A. Williams


Comments (4) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
chascush 02/16/11 - 09:53 am
‘Since the 1990s, when the

‘Since the 1990s, when the fraud scandal was unearthed involving United Way's national CEO, there has been a positive push by most of the larger groups to appear more transparent and accountable.’
In the early 90s a friend worked for the guvamint in DC. Some businesses would take him to a very expensive restaurant for lunch. He notice the same group, 7 or 8, folks their every time. They would be there when he arrived and still there when he left. He asked one day who they were. They were the TOP MANAGEMENT OF UNITED WAY.

Chillen 02/16/11 - 11:13 am
The easiest way to solve this

The easiest way to solve this would be to end the tax exempt status of all non-profit organizations. It would be too expensive & time consuming to track down the fraud and abuse.

corgimom 02/16/11 - 01:30 pm
Mr. Williams, you mean like

Mr. Williams, you mean like an organization receiving a $12,000 Federal grant like this-
"Augusta was among 40 communities getting grants through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Health Communities Program in the latest round, according to a news release from the funding group. The money will help leaders foster better health in Augusta, Thornburg said.

"The funding will help this group go and learn how other communities have been successful," she said. "It's exciting. We're just now working together on how we can make this happen."

Go and learn? Can't they send an email or pick up the phone and call someone?

Sounds like some people are planning an all-expenses paid trip.

crackerjack 02/18/11 - 06:09 am
You're right Corgimom, and

You're right Corgimom, and I'm pretty sure the city that is most like Augusta is Honolulu.

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs