Monday, June 1, 2009

Article in Sacramento Press re Loaves & Fishes

An article I wrote for Sacramento Press, "Why shouldn't Loaves & Fishes pay to shelter homeless rather than the cash-strapped county?" is now up.

The story is a very straightforward one. Loaves & Fishes recently released their 2008 Form 990 – a glorified financial statement most nonprofits are required to complete and make available to the public – which shows they've amassed a $1.5 million addition to their general fund in the last two years and had, at the end of last year, $2.2 million in liquid assets [cash, savings and temporary investments].

Thus, I question why Loaves & Fishes doesn't, itself, pay for homeless shelter that is needed rather than try to shame the cash-strapped county to do so. Providing homeless shelter is a part of Loaves & Fishes mandated mission. And not sitting on funds is a tenet of the Better Business Bureau's Standard for Nonprofit Accountability.

Karen Banker, the chairperson of L&F's Board of Directors was asked to comment on a draft of the article, but did not respond. Curiously, this afternoon, Loaves & Fishes' website was down. I don't think that I am paranoid when I suspect a staffer went in and culled out damning text there, relating to my article's disclosures.

Update 5/2: Gulp. So much for me thinking myself or my ideas important. Loaves & Fishes website is back up, with all the bad-old stuff back up, as it was.

Update 5/3: While it's hard to tell, precisely, reaction to my piece, relative to that of other Sac Press articles, has been tremendous. I don't see any other article getting as many thumbs-up reactions nor as many thumbs-down reactions from readers. Still, just 13 thumbs up and 6 thumbs down ain't a lot compared what one would expect from more-widely read websites, like the Bee's. The comment stream was nice – eight comments, currently – but doesn't suggest that the piece is doing much to get the word out that things at Loaves & Fishes aren't all Milk & Honey. Sigh.

BUT the people at Sacramento Press – especially Geoff and Colleen – have been wonderful; SacPress is ascendant, growing both in becoming better and more popular; and I like the software of the site and it's egalitarian approach.

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