Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Revenues and Expenses slightly down at Loaves & Fishes

Loaves and Fishes has released its 2009 Annual Report which shows that both revenues and expenses are down slightly in 2009 as compared to 2008. Still, the nonprofit organization added $294,975 to its Fund Balance (or Net Assets, or Reserves ― however they term it), giving them $5,910,137 at year end.

The 2009 Annual Report includes a variety of statistics and information on key employees and who's now on its Board of Directors. SacHo will look at all that tomorrow.

Today, we'll compare some key data: Revenues and Expenses, 2008 v 2009. This information was not provided on the 2008 Annual Report [found on the last page of this document], but it was on the Form 990 that Loaves and Fishes is require to send to the IRS by May 15 in the year that follows its fiscal year. [The 2008 Form 990 can be found in two parts here.]  L&F's fiscal year jives with the calendar year. The 2009 Form 990, due a little over a month from now, has not yet been completed by Loaves & Fishes, to our knowledge.

Last year, information on expenses relating to its various programs was also provided on the Annual Report. Not so this year. Last year, SacHo had some questions regarding a large expense category, Brother Min's Ministry - relating to the Volunteering program, that was never satisfactorily explained. Fiscal info on expense categories/programs will appear in the 2009 Form 990 report.

Here, a quick and easy table of the new 2009 data compared to 2007 & 2008, with change and percentage change data for 2009 contrasted to 2008:

 2009 vs 2008
Revenues$4,611,112$4,070,321$3,942,066<$128,255>- 3%
Expenses3,456,4403,675,8383,647,091<28,737>- 1%
Excess for year1,154,672394,483294,975<99,598>- 25%
Net Assets (or Fund Bal.) at end of year5,220,6795,613,4145,910,137294,975+ 5%
Admin as a % of all expensesN.A.5.64%7.00%+ 1.36%
Fundraising as a % of all raised fundsN.A.4.97%1.00%- 3.97%

While Loaves & Fishes got a tremendous amount of publicity in 2009, because of Tent City and the Oprah thing in February, which surely boosted donations, the economy worsened making it more difficult for people to give. That year, too, SafeGround became a new charity — yet an almost-wholly owned independent subsidiary of L&F — snagging donations most of which would otherwise have gone to Loaves & Fishes.

Last December, on the 22nd, Loaves & Fishes sent a letter in advance of a press conference. Emboldened in the letter was this text―

Yet you our donors have been affected by the economic downturn. The number of December donors is the same this year as last but the dollar amount of the donations is down by 14%. The same number of people are giving but they are each able to give less money this year.
To the great discredit of the once-mighty, now-feckless Bee newspaper, they printed an article passing along the L&F text without questioning it.. Such a call for donations by Loaves & Fishes is an example of the usual truthiness coming from the organization, that can now be demonstrated with the full-year 2009 data. While it is likely technically true that donations for the first part of one month were down significantly, the REAL situation is that donations were not down much for the year.  Taken in scope, with donations to SafeGround, which are not known, donations to the L&F Empire are almost certainly up.  As are funds that are being held in reserve. [That is, Loaves & Fishes continues to receive, year after year, much more money than what it spends.]

Lying by omission or use of selective, misleading data to get into the wallets and purses of those who donate to Loaves & Fishes is a terrible practice. Donors should be honored and respected and told the unspun truth such that they have a correct understanding of what a charity is doing and its circumstance. Libby Fernandez and Joan Burke of L&F should stop inveigling donors and tell things straight. And the sleepy Board of Directors of Loaves & Fishes should wake up and Do the Right Thing. What is the right thing? They would know if they'd wake up and think independently, and not behave like a glutinous mass that must all slavishly buy in to Der Leaders' far-Leftist groupthink.

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