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Where’s The Charity? Some Scrutiny for Non-Profit Organizations

Dennis Byrne 29 February 2012 2 Comments

No one more deserves sympathy in these troubled times than the nonprofit charities struggling to survive.

In this recession, government subsidies are tight and in Illinois, the state is stiffing them. Contributions are off. Their staffs are shrinking …

Wait, let me start again. No one more deserves sympathy in these troubled times than the clients these charities serve — the starving, sick, homeless, addicted, despairing and destitute.

I rephrased that because I’m not so sure that the various charities, nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations should escape scrutiny for how well or poorly they do their jobs.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune


  • Michael R said:

    I found the full story here.

    One of my side-jobs is that I help run a Chicago area non-profit. My work and all the the board members’ work is unpaid and strictly volunteer. We have employees, but they are laborers and are paid a competetive wage for that kind of work.

    Our accountant says that an organization like ours is rare. According to the accountant, most non-profits are there with a principal goal to provide jobs to their employees.

    If you look at disclosures of most non-profits, you will see that many times 80% of what you donate goes towards salary and overhead. Makes you think twice about giving. Makes you think three times about where government grants to nonprofits go.

    The rest of Dennis’ article is here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/ct-oped-0228-byrne-20120228,0,6853590.column

  • Farmer Bob said:

    This is an important article, and Michael R. also makes a very important comment.

    I have in the past worked for a non-profit organization, and I have worked with many more. The first word that comes to mind is “bloat.” Even in a small agency such as the one I worked for, less than half the effort was actually expended in the execution of the stated mission of the agency. The rest was directed toward fund-raising, non-productive — if not counter-productive — meetings, political in-fighting, and, most certainly, career advancement. Those most directly involved in fulfilling the agency mission and most obviously working the hardest were also those who were paid the least.

    It’s good to see Rick Roberts cite the Greater Chicago Food Depository as one of the agencies doing a great job though. After more than 30 years the Depository apparently still bears the ethical imprint of its founding director, Dave Chandler.

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