The Need for Nonprofits
Charitable organizations perform many important community functions, but how do you choose a charity to support?
Are you curious about the workings of a charity or nonprofit? You can easily check the latest federal filings on a variety of websites. Some, however, charge for their services.
Pro Publica has a free, easy-to-use website. Type in the name of the organization, select the state and click “search.” The organization will likely appear. If it doesn’t show up in the list, add Jacksonville to the search terms. If it still doesn’t appear, make sure its not a part of a bigger organization — for example, Second Harvest Food Bank is listed as part of Lutheran Social Services.
Click on the organization’s name and a summary of some of the financial information from its latest
IRS 990 will appear.
Click on the green box and read page after page about the organization, its finances and its officials.
In most cases, there are several years of forms available.
A word of warning: Unless you are the type of person who gets excited reading federal tax forms, these can put you to sleep.
Bruce and Peg Ganger might be the nonprofits power couple of Northeast Florida.
They each run a nonprofit and formerly owned a company that helps other charities raise money and promote their causes.
Bruce Ganger has led Second Harvest North Florida for the past two years, and his wife of 21 years, Peg, was chosen in August as executive director of Girls Incorporated.
“We feel we play a role in the quality of life,” Bruce Ganger said of the work of their agencies in Jacksonville.
With more than 1,500 nonprofits in the five-county area in and around Jacksonville, how can donors know which charities to give their money?
“We encourage all donors to do their due diligence before they invest in a nonprofit,” Bruce Ganger said. “That might include being a volunteer or attending an event or visiting their service sites to get an insider perspective of how the organization handles itself.”
At Second Harvest, Bruce Ganger oversees 31 employees and some 6,100 volunteers.
“At some point, you have to trust the organization and have faith in them and their work,” he said. “The best donors and investors are those who are also involved in the success of the nonprofit.”
Both Peg and Bruce Ganger said they would also recommend the United Way of Northeast Florida. Their agencies receive funds from United Way, and Bruce Ganger said the agency checks out all the organizations it funds.
“Many companies offer payroll deductions to give to the United Way, so it can be a very convenient way to give,” he said. It also allows donors to make contributions to specific charities.
The Gangers also expressed the importance of small donations.
“For Second Harvest, we can stretch a dollar donated to provide enough food to create seven meals, so every dollar is precious to us and to those seven hungry people,” explained Ganger.
According to the Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida, area nonprofits generate more than $5.8 billion in revenue, employ more than 56,000 people and have payrolls of more than $2.3 billion.
“Given the number of organizations, it should come as no surprise that the sector is extraordinarily diverse,” according to a report called “State of the Sector” released in fall 2012 by the Nonprofit Center.
“It is diverse in size. Revenues range from more than $800 million in one year to zero, with the vast majority reporting less than $500,000 in revenues a year,” the report states. Funded by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, the report uses data compiled by Roy Oldakowski at Jacksonville University’s Division of Social Services and analyzed by Mary Kress Littlepage of KBT & Associates.
“And it is diverse in mission. From state-of-the-art hospitals to stray-cat shelters, from soccer leagues in the suburbs to after-school programs in the urban core, to radio ministry to major universities, the nonprofit sector includes one of almost every flavor,” according to the report.
Soon, the old Haydon Burns Library in Downtown Jacksonville will be home to the Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida. The Jessie Ball duPont Fund, which in 2011 had revenues of $19.2 million and assets of $248 million, has purchased the former library and is spending $20 million to convert it to “a philanthropic and nonprofit center.” It will also rent out offices to other nonprofits and charities in the area at a discount.
An estimated 2.3 million nonprofit organizations operate in the United States, and the sector contributed $804.8 billion to the U.S. economy in 2010, according to a 2012 report from the National Center for Charitable Statistics, published by Urban Institute Press.
Technology and the Internal Revenue Service make it easy to determine the financial picture of a nonprofit — its spending and how much it pays its top executives — but they do not make it easy to determine the nonprofit’s effectiveness in providing services for its target audience.
Nonprofit agencies with annual revenues of $25,000 or more are required to fill out what is known as an IRS Form 990, a multiple-page form which has dozens of possible schedules charities must file each year. The completed forms are available online through several search engines, though some charge for their services.
Ganger recommends using Charity Navigator to check out nonprofits, though it doesn’t list charities with revenues of less than $1 million a year.
Charity Navigator issued a donor alert for two local nonprofits, the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police Foundation and the Allied Veterans of the World, both of which were involved in what prosecutors said was a $300 million gambling scheme through the operation of Internet cafés.
A jury has convicted Jacksonville attorney Kelly Mathis of more than 100 charges that could send him to prison for 30 years. Mathis is appealing his conviction, claiming he was merely acting as an attorney for Allied Veterans.
In addition to contributions from individual donors, many nonprofits receive grants from foundations, businesses and governments.
Each year as part of its budget, the city of Jacksonville issues public service grants, saving millions of dollars each year by allowing charitable agencies to handle legal aid, homeless residents, a medical clinic for low-income workers, a shelter for battered women, refugee assistance and dozens of other services.
In this year’s budget, the City Council approved public service grants of $2,015,501, compared with $2.4 million last year.
A chart presented by the nonprofit agencies during city budget hearings shows the value of nonprofits to the city. According to the chart, without the assistance of nonprofits, the cost of providing the same services would cost the city $93 million a year, according to a survey of 34 agencies which received public service grants.
In addition, an estimated 51,141 volunteers donate more than $8.76 million to work “on Jacksonville’s most pressing issues,” according to the center’s diagram.
While providing more than 2,000 jobs, public service agencies also bring in more than $49 million in federal grants.
Some nonprofits get by with a handful of employees and very little payroll, while large agencies may have hundreds of employees, with the CEO or president pulling in a six-figure salary or more than $1 million a year.
“The IRS permits tax-exempt organizations to pay executives ‘fair and reasonable’ compensation. There is no universal standard defining fair and reasonable, however; what’s fair and reasonable at one nonprofit may be a gross under- or over-payment at another,” according to a report on executive compensation by GuideStar.
“Any assessment of nonprofit compensation has to take into account a multitude of factors” such as geography, size of the organization and specialized skills, Littlepage said.
“Most of the serious funders who support nonprofits take the view that judging an organization by how ‘cheaply’ it operates is wrong-headed,” she said. “Nonprofits are businesses and, like any business, they must invest in staff and operations if they are to deliver quality goods and services and provide value to their customers/clients.”
“Just because a business is a nonprofit does not mean it should be impoverished. When we devalue the people who do the work, we devalue the work that they do,” Littlepage wrote in an email.
Folio Weekly examined several local nonprofits and charities, both large and small, choosing some because of their size and others because they have been prominent in the news. Every organization that has been recognized as tax exempt by the Internal Revenue Service has to file Form 990 every year, unless it makes less than $200,000 in revenue and has less than $500,000 in assets, in which case it has to file Form 990-EZ.
Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Northeast Florida
Total 2012 revenue: $1,704,842
Total function expenses: $1,575,736
Net income: $129,106
Contributions: $1,503,471 or 88.2 percent of total revenue
Executive compensation: $383,319; 24.3 percent of total expenses
Other salary and wages: $646,137; 41 percent of total expenses
Warren Grymes, CEO, $105,000
Steve Gilbert, COO, $81,847
Cheryl Grymes, vice president of programs, $80,000
Purpose: Its vision is that all children achieve success in life and to provide all children facing adversity with strong and enduring professional supported one-on-one relationships that change their lives.
Charity Navigator rating: 3 out of 4 stars
The Community Foundation Inc.
Total 2011 revenue: $33,261,314
Total function expenses: $16,676,142
Net income: $16,585,172
Contributions: $28,904,875; 86.9 percent of total revenue
Executive compensation: $526,282; 3.2 percent of total expenses
Nina M. Waters, president, $197,482
Grace M. Sacerdote, vice president, $137,477
Cheryl Riddick, assistant secretary, $95,185
Purpose: Its mission is to stimulate philanthropy to build a better community through grant-making that is fair and thorough but innovative.
Charity Navigator rating: 4 out of 4 stars
Community Hospice of Northeast Florida Inc.
Total 2011 revenue: $93,322,538
Total function expenses: $83,725,500
Net revenue: $9,587,035
Contributions: $2,249,974 or 2.4 percent of total revenue
Executive compensation: $2,024,730; 2.4 percent of total expenses
Susan Ponder-Stansel, president and CEO, $464,875
Phil Ward, chief business operator, $298,310
Carlos Bosque, CFO, $256,949
Other salaries and wages: $34,058,943; 40.7 percent of total expenses
Purpose: It provides home care of terminally ill patients and comprehensive guidance care and support for patients and their families.
Not yet rated by Charity Navigator
Girls Incorporated of Jacksonville
Total 2012 revenue: $572,884
Total function expenses: $609,564
Net income: -$36,680
Contributions: $528,482 or 92.2 percent of total revenue
Executive compensation: $122,340; 20.1 percent of total expenses
Beth Clark, president, $58,510 (This position has changed; Peg Ganger is executive director.)
Meg Bake, administrative manager, $38,967
Ebony Williams, administrative manager, $24,869
Other salaries and wages: $234,551; 38.5 percent of all revenue
Purpose: The organization’s main programs are an after-school program, outreach, a national literacy program and summer camps.
Not enough revenue to be rated by Charity Navigator
Total 2012 revenue: $4,824,426
Total function expenses: $3,647,125
Net income: $1,177,301
Contributions: $4,299,972 or 89.1 percent of total revenue
Executive compensation: $377,433; 10.3 percent of total expenses
Ellen Siler, CEO, $156,785; Carol Ginzig, $103,539
Gail Patin, $84,073
Other wages and salaries: $1,736,3633; 47.6 percent of total expenses
Purpose: Providing safety for victims of domestic violence and their children.
Charity Navigator rating: 4 out of 4 stars
Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida
Operates Second Harvest North Florida
Total 2011 revenue: $29,011,985
Total function expenses: $29,557,364
Net income: -$545,379
Contributions: $27,470,756 or 94.7 percent of total revenue
Executive compensation: $282,866; 1 percent of total expenses
R. Wayne Rieley, president and CEO, $146,720
Richard Mochowski, controller, $80,033 Jerome Crawford, vice president of operations, $79,732
Purpose: The faith-based social services ministry offers programs in AIDS care and education, refugee and immigration services, representative payee services, Second Harvest of North Florida and the Sharing Place Thrift Store.
Not rated by Charity Navigator
United Way of Northeast Florida
Total 2012 total revenue: $25,751,407
Total function expenses: $23,289,829
Net income: $2,461,575
Contributions: $25,729,071 or 99.9 percent of total revenue
Executive compensation: $1,008,869; 4.3 percent of total expenses
Connie S. Hodges, president, $363,317
Patricia Kilgore, vice president, finances and administration, $210,067
Linda Malloy, vice president, resource management, $142,733; Melanie Patz, vice president, community impact, $122,266
Kit Thomas, vice president, major gifts, $161,166
Purpose: It provides leadership, resources and focus to change lives in the community by creating sustainable improvements in education, income and health.
Charity Navigator rating: 4 out of 4 stars
Wounded Warrior Project Inc.
Total 2011 revenue: $74,058,348
Total function expenses: $57,757,314
Net income: $16.301,634
Contributions: $70,145,724 or 94.7 percent of total revenue
Executive compensation, $1,092,206; 1.9 percent of total expenses
Steven Nardizzi, CEO, executive director, $310,692
Jeremy Chwat, chief program officer, $171,657
Victoria Nemerson, executive vice president
and general counsel, $157,303
Professional fundraising fees: $1,796,697; 3.1 percent of total expenses
Other salaries and wages: $10,412,548; 18 percent of total expenses
Purpose: It is committed to serving wounded veterans with both visible and invisible wounds of war, from burns and amputations, traumatic brain injuries and paralysis to combat stress, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
Charity Navigator rating: 3 out of 4 stars