Frum non profit organizations disclosing financials.
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- This topic has 36 replies, 17 voices, and was last updated 2 years, 10 months ago by YW Moderator-29 👨💻.
June 30, 2020 3:50 pm at 3:50 pm #1878150HaimyParticipant
Should major frum organizations that raise millions of dollars from the Frum community be more transparent about their overhead & percentage of raised funds going to needy recipients? They are doing great work for the frum community but do we the contributors deserve to know where the money is going? What would be a reasonable salary for a founder of such an organization? I think these are fair questions we should be asking.June 30, 2020 4:31 pm at 4:31 pm #1878234
look online to the IRS form 990, it breaks down the salary of the top ten employeesJune 30, 2020 4:50 pm at 4:50 pm #1878240
We are NOT supposed to let know the poor recipient of charity who gave him the tzedaka; the giver is not supposed to know who the recipient is; AND the public is NOT supposed to know which poor people were given tzedaka.June 30, 2020 6:53 pm at 6:53 pm #1878264DovidBTParticipant
Joseph: The OP didn’t say anything about identifying individual charity recipients.June 30, 2020 6:53 pm at 6:53 pm #1878263yehudayonaParticipant
Joseph, what does your post have to do with the OP?
To expand on what CS wrote, there are websites that publish Form 990. One of them is Guidestar.June 30, 2020 6:54 pm at 6:54 pm #1878267Yoel BidenParticipant
This is an obnoxious insinuation by do-nothing folks about organizations that do real work for the klal that they are doing things illegitimate. The fact is if your busy enough to be fotzing on the coffee room you probably dont give to much tzedaka anyhow. Too many people kvetch and complain and never would think about doing anything for anyone. The heads of Hatzola, Bikur Cholim, RCCS, Oorah, Bonei Olam and obviously the countless others can say a number for all i care. I’m not doing the work and I will only be thankful and show appreciation to the people to who take achrayus for klal yisroel. conversations otherwise are poor attempts to by lazy pathetic losers who are so blinded by their own lack of accomplishments in life.June 30, 2020 6:55 pm at 6:55 pm #1878261GadolhadorahParticipant
Reb Yosef: I recall that Lois Lerner (an expert on tax-exempt giving and former senior lawyer at the IRS dealing with tax-exempt organizations) had stated in a recent article that the IRS and NYS law BOTH require a fairly high level of disclosure of such administrative overhead and fundraising costs by a 201(c)(3) organization. The underlying application is also subject to public disclosure once approved by the IRS.June 30, 2020 7:24 pm at 7:24 pm #1878274CTLAWYERParticipant
The question of what a reasonable salary for the founder of a frum charitable organization may be absolutely meaningless. Many were founded by volunteers who never drew a salary. You need to ask what the paid executives of the charity are receiving as salary.
A charity that pays its CEO 100K but only raises 1 Million is paying too much,
but if it pays 100K and raises 10 Million, the salary is a bargainJune 30, 2020 7:36 pm at 7:36 pm #1878279
I added a tangential point to the OP.
Since when does anyone get all broigas about a comment not directly answering an OP?July 1, 2020 12:50 am at 12:50 am #1878313
You got to the IRS.gov website and look up the 990July 1, 2020 12:52 am at 12:52 am #1878315SchnitzelBigotParticipant
I personally don’t care how much the exexutives earn. I do appreciate tzedakos such as Kupath Ezra in Monsey which just gave out a 4 page mailer full of stats. It makes me more comfortable giving tzedakah to those kind of organizations. What does bother me however is that I perceive a lack of transparency or official system regarding who the recipients are. For example, are the tzedakos that help families of incarcerated individuals helping all people including the ones in jail for blue collar crimes (a specific example that happened comes to mind that cannot be mentioned on this site) or do they just help people that are in jail for defrauding the government or banks. Do chareidi tzedakos help MOs? Stats would be helpful for this.
@biden and @joseph, please don’t insult hardworking people who are careful with their money and who want to maximize the impact of their tzedakah by giving to the right organizations. The sole fact that a certain tzedakah is popular with the tzibbur won’t make me automatically give up any reservations I may have with it, especially when they don’t bother to share basic financial information.July 1, 2020 12:52 am at 12:52 am #1878318GadolhadorahParticipant
“Since when does anyone get all broigas about a comment not directly answering an OP?”
Never happened before…..the Mods strictly enforce rules requiring that all comments be directly on point and germane to the OP. Violators are subject to being severely trolled.July 1, 2020 12:54 am at 12:54 am #1878321MistykinsParticipant
I believe they should know where the money goes. Not specifics, but definitely what the total intake was, what percentage was given out to the community, and maybe even the highest employees salaries if they exceed a certain percentage of the intake.
Disclosure keeps everything honest, and while I know the vast majority of frum charities have nothing to worry about compared to other non-profits, it is still important to be seen as honest. If a company is managing their money poorly, I would rather give to a charity where I know the community is benefiting.July 1, 2020 11:23 am at 11:23 am #1878435
I personally disagree with those posters who say it is nobody’s business how much these executives make. I agree if the CEO is a hard worker and has a unique talent that no one else can do he should get a higher salary than the underlings. But the donors should also realize how much of their donation is going to that. I think many people would be shocked to find out the salaries of some of these execs. I am talking about $300K, $400K and above. When we ask our children to go out and raise money for these institutions realize how much of it is going for very very high salaries. There are others that rely much more on volunteers and minimize overhead as much as possible.
Recently there were a number of schools in one city that all decided they would be strict with tuition payments during COVID-19. Some parents fought back and disclosed the salaries of the principals which are over a quarter of a million$ each year.
Realize that many yeshivas file as a synagogue and therefore do not file 990s. Curious as to the ehrlichkite of thatJuly 1, 2020 11:33 am at 11:33 am #1878426unomminParticipant
Sunlight is an amazing disinfectant. Whether it says that anywhere in the seforim hakedoshim or not I am not sure, but it is definitely true.July 1, 2020 11:35 am at 11:35 am #1878444
A Yeshiva is a religious institution and isn’t required to file a 990. There’s no reason for them to go above what the law requires.
Catholic parochial schools don’t file 990s, either.July 1, 2020 11:50 am at 11:50 am #1878462
Joseph -Are you referring to this exemption “A school below college level affiliated with a church or operated by a religious order”
Which religious order or synagogues are the yeshivas affiliated with?July 1, 2020 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm #1878459
BTW- I just checked the 990s of one very popular tzedaka in the US. They do a lot of good but realize that the salaries of the top 7 employees totals $1,720,000 not including benefits. This organization reports $22 million in revenue. Another organization pays $248,000 total for its top executives with $42 million in revenues. That is a very significant difference. That was just one quick look at two organizations. If the mods allow I could let you know the names of both organizations and a lot more.July 1, 2020 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm #1878470
That may be one of a number of relevant provisions of the law, CTR. There are other relevant exemptions as well.
If a Yeshiva is part of a chasidus the provision you mentioned would kick in. If the Yeshiva has a synagogue (shul) that provision also becomes relevant. In fact, the mere fact that a Yeshiva is a religious institution itself likely makes it relevant.July 1, 2020 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm #1878478DovidBTParticipant
Disclosure keeps everything honest
It’s not only about honesty. Disclosure also tells you whether the management is competent.July 1, 2020 1:27 pm at 1:27 pm #1878512
Ya know what really worries me about that disclosure? I sit here and listen to people stand on soapboxes ranting and spewing about things they barely know about. Tell them that someone is paid $250k and watch them foam at the mouth. I would probably react same. But most people have NO IDEAA what it means. Zero. They will rant the loudest and post opposition and followers will line up out the door as the organization is destroyed.
There may be plenty with inflated salaries (may), but 90% of you would not be able to give a synopsis of what the job entails. And even when you do know, you still don’t. Like parents of children with special needs, how many people really know what their days are like? And how often do teachers suffer from decisions made by board members who never stepped foot in a classroom? Plenty.
Ranting is fun but words are swords and Haimy’s topics consistently do the rabble rousing thing – sound virtuous while holding the syringe of toxins out of view. Very few people are knowledgeable enough to read disclosure and have a clue if it is really sound. The numbets alone just aren’t enough of a reason to drsg an organization thru the mud (sorry ctrebbe to burst your bubble).July 1, 2020 2:55 pm at 2:55 pm #1878584
Syag-The point of disclosure is to bring these points into the open and let the answers come out. If the head of the organization can easily explain why he deserves a salary of $457,681 let him explain. He may say “If you don’t like it, find someone else who can do a better job”. Principal salaries are determined by supply and demand. It is a beautiful thing when people running tzedaka organizations simply take a moderate salary but not required.
We can also look at from the other angle. Instead of people getting angry at the guy making $457,681maybe they will gain a greater appreciation of the guy who takes a $96,000 salary and has 96.5% of the money he takes in going directly to the program. Perhaps in will help people make different decssions as to how they allocate tzedakah when they see where their tzedaka money goes.
Another unfortunate factor in all this is the power of glitz and heartstrings. The reality today is that campaigns have a better shot at bringing in more money based on their marketing campaign and/or if they can present a more emotional unique story. The ideal (although I admit there is no absolute measure for this) is that more money would be allocated to what accomplishes a greater good. True this “greater good” is very very subjective but if you could make the case to people in a forthright honest approach I think many would allocate thier tzedakah differently.July 1, 2020 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm #1878668
Sickening, I read what some guys are making at non profits and I wanted to throw upJuly 2, 2020 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm #1878779hujuParticipant
I continue to insist that there is no such thing as a “non-profit” organization. Profit is the excess of revenue over proper expenses. Excessive salaries, payments to suppliers which are kicked back to top executives, and no-show jobs for spouses or children are distributions of profits, no matter what the operating statements say. IRS Form 990’s are a good place to start evaluating the efficiency of a charitable organization.
There have been some recent scandals involving Jewish charitable organizations, e.g., Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. We must be sure that our tzedaka is used for tzedaka.July 2, 2020 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm #1878815
I don’t remember ever agreeing so wholeheartedly with CTLawyer, but he’s absolutely correct.
If the CEO does a great job, he deserves a great salary. I don’t remember learning that human nature changes when you work for a good cause. Doctors are credited with humanitarian motivations in addition to their lucrative earnings, and there is no reason that people involved in non-profits shouldn’t enjoy the same benefit of the doubt.
unommin, even Moshe Rabbeinu was careful to have as much “sunlight” as possible, according to the Medrash.July 2, 2020 2:54 pm at 2:54 pm #1878992
The big difference is that if someone is a CEO at Southwest airlines / Walmart / Pepsi, the CEO salary and benefit package is set by the Board of Directors who are elected by the shareholders.
When I have Camp Simcha/ Tomchai Shabbos/ Masbia/ Hatzolah/ Project Yes etc.etc. hitting me up for donations I am a shareholder by donating the money and I am entitled to know if the CEO is earning a six figure salary and high end car lease on my chesbon.July 2, 2020 3:36 pm at 3:36 pm #1878997
wow commonsaychel, good to be so scrutinizing with your tzedaka dollars! Do you double check the salaries before the $15 dollar donations too or just the $36 ones?July 2, 2020 5:42 pm at 5:42 pm #1879064
@syag, the donations of $1000 and up I personally know the tzvek, [ kerem yisomim, person lost a job] or the organization has no salaried people such as Kupat Ezra in Monsey. The rest are easy to find out with 2 minutes of a read of a return. Yes I check it out same way I check out product reviews and TripAdvisor reviews other then a person coming to shul who I give a Dollar or Five.
PS read some 990 forms on some of the place you will find it very informative.July 2, 2020 6:02 pm at 6:02 pm #1879070
Why? To see if i can dig up some dirt to post in the CR?July 2, 2020 7:04 pm at 7:04 pm #1879083
@ Syag, no, just to see where Dollar is goingJuly 2, 2020 8:22 pm at 8:22 pm #1879101anonymous JewParticipant
Syag,I really don’t understand your issue with verifying the effectiveness of a charity. If learning that a tzedaka only distributes 40 cents of every dollar collected,why would you call that digging up dirt.July 2, 2020 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm #1879112
I’m not sure I agree that Tzedaka organizations are analogous to publicly owned companies as opposed to privately owned corporations.
Either way, the point is that if an executive excels at his job, he deserves an excellent compensation package (just as any employee does).
If the CEO of a Tzedaka organization delivers outstanding performance for his organization, and, in order to retain his services, they choose to compensate him accordingly, I would be very happy for them all.
We can debate the definition of “outstanding performance,” if you’d like. I just don’t think that the executive compensation package is a good barometer in and of itself. I think all the regular questions of finance and meeting goals, delivering goods and services, etc. that you would ask of any other company are just as valid for a non-profit.
If, for example, a Kiruv organization is financially sound, provides a robust Kiruv program, and successfully brings Jews back on to the Derech HaTorah (whatever numbers you would consider success), wouldn’t the CEO of that organization deserve a large salary and good benefits (obviously, relative to the size of the program)?
I’m not intimately familiar with the finances of the organizations you mentioned, but I do know that they (at least some of them) provide services that are the pride of our generation. They are tremendous operations with huge budgets. If the CEO deserves to keep his job, he probably also deserves a great compensation package.July 3, 2020 12:17 am at 12:17 am #1879117
@catch, so if its such a point of pride why doesn’t the various tzidoka organizations print on the promotional brochures our CEO does such a great job we pay him 250 K a year plus his mortgage and car leaseJuly 3, 2020 11:23 am at 11:23 am #1879202
commonsaychel, it almost seems like you deliberately took my words out of context in order to post what seemed to you like a witty rejoinder.
Of course, what I said was that the services [these organizations] provide – not the salaries their employees earn – are the pride of our generation, which was to the point of the discussion about CEOs leading their organizations to success.
Coca Cola doesn’t market its product by advertising the CEO’s salary. One obvious reason for this is that, even if the CEO deserves his pay, that won’t motivate the consumer to choose their product over the competitor’s. They tell the consumer what he needs to hear: “Drinking Coke will make you appear to be the coolest person on the planet. You will always be ecstatic while drinking Coke. You will be surrounded by friends and celebrities, and you will drive the best cars. Also, Coke tastes really good!”
Likewise, a Kiruv organization shouldn’t market its CEO’s salary, no matter how well deserved. This is not what will motivate their potential donors. The marketing should be about how well they fulfill their mission, or about how cool it is to ride your bicycle to the mountains, or how great it is to play hockey, or whatever will bring in the cash.
I suspect you knew all of this.
To be clear, of course I think it’s important that non-profits should be fiscally responsible. Corruption is reprehensible and should have no place anywhere in our society, certainly not in Tzedaka organizations. I have no problem with people who research the financial dealings of these organizations. I think “sunlight” is healthy, and transparency is good.
All I was saying was that I agree with CTL that there is nothing inherently wrong with employees of non-profits earning generous salaries.July 5, 2020 12:35 am at 12:35 am #1879439HaimyParticipant
In my humble opinion, the leadership of chesed/tzedakah organizations are Gabboei Tzadakah who should be beholden to the klal & be relatively transparent about how the directors are compensated & what percentage of raised funds reached the intended recipients.. How genuine are the pleas of a rosh hamosad of chesed if he’s walking away with an overinflated salary? I don’t know what constitutes a fair salary but there’s got to be range that’s acceptable. The fact that these organizations are critical to the frum world doesn’t justify the taking of public funds for large personal compensation. A vaad of Rabbonim should be representing the Klal in analyzing the expenditures of the important mosdos.July 5, 2020 9:20 am at 9:20 am #1879512anonymous JewParticipant
Charitynavigator does a great job analyzing all public documents and reporting things like,how much of every dollar donated actually reaches the intended recipients and how many cents per dollar it spends to raise funds..July 6, 2020 4:27 pm at 4:27 pm #1880179YW Moderator-29 👨💻Moderator
Looks like this thread is heading nowhere fast. Thank you for your public service announcement which I am sure was made for all the right reasons. Listing specific organizations and critiquing their spending with little or no understanding of the details is not appropriate.
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