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August 16, 1991 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-08-16

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I LOCAL NEWS 1

Charities

Continued from Page 1

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Fine Jewelers

EST. 1919

22

FRIDAY, AUGUST 16, 1991

30400 Telegraph Rd.
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Hours:
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THURS. 10-7
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Men's furnishings ono accessories

19011 West Ten Mile Road
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PARKING AND ENTRANCE IN REAR

We are winning.

i

'AMERICAN
CANCER
SOCIETY'

Forgotten Harvest, a charity
which distributes surplus food
from restaurants and organi-
zations to area food banks and
soup kitchens, found the
report equally damning.
The Free Press reported
Forgotten Harvest's annual
income at about $30,000, with
zero percent for programming.
It listed about $5,000, or 17
percent, for fund-raising costs.
Mr. Dembs, a professional
fund-raiser, said Forgotten
Harvest has one ad-
ministrative cost — Chris
Blakely, the driver.
"What's not apparent from
the report is that our driver is
our program," Mr. Dembs said.
Dr. Fishman said Forgotten
Harvest's method of operation
doesn't fit into the state's
method of compiling statisti-
cal information.
"All we do is deliver food
that has already been con-
tributed," Dr. Fishman said.
"The state's definition of pro-
viding a service is how much
money goes to put food on
tables. But not one cent is
spent on food. That's why we
don't fit their way of repor-
ting."
Dr. Fishman said Forgotten
Harvest functions from
donated office space and from
a donated, refrigerated van.
"All we pay for are utilities,
phone service, gas, van
maintenance and our driver's
salary," Dr. Fishman said.
"The figures reported are cor-
rect, but they don't offer the
right interpretation. We think
it's misleading because every
single dollar goes to delivery.
That's our program."
Assistant State Attorney
General David Silver said the
state has no control over the
percentage of revenues
charities decide to allocate
toward programming or ad-
ministrative costs.
lb be licensed in Michigan,
charities must give the at-
torney general's charitable
trust division a yearly finan-
cial report that includes
revenue, fund-raising and
management costs.
A 1988 U.S. Supreme Court
decision in North Carolina
said such regulatory power
was a violation of freedom of
speech, Mr. Silver said.
"Unofficially, we'd like to see
two-thirds of revenues
allocated for programming
and one-third for adminis-
trative needs;' Mr. Silver said.
"But that's an informal posi-
tion. This office doesn't attach
any implication on those who
don't. We're a clearinghouse
for this information.
"We have on occasion asked
for explanations?' he said. "We
may look into charities if we
feel they are using fraudulent
methods, like if we see 90 per-

cent is going to pay executive
salaries?'
Carmel Weems, a spokes-
woman for the Southfield
branch of the Better Business
Bureau, said the burden lies
ultimately with the donor.
"It is incumbent on donors
to ask before they write the
check to ask what the organi-
zation is going to do with the
money," Ms. Weems said.
Ms. Weems said tax exempt
charities must comply with 22
voluntary standards establish-
ed more than 20 years ago by
the Council of Better Bureaus
in Washington, D.C.
JNF and the Simon Wiesen-
thal Center failed to meet
BBB standards having to do
with reporting methods, Ms.
Weems said.
"JNF missed two standards
and the Simon Wiesenthal
Center missed seven," Ms.

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"It is incumbent on
donors to ask
before they write
the check to ask
what the
organization is
going to do with
the money.."

— Carmel Weems

Weems said. "It means no
more and no less than that."
Susan Burden, director of
administration for the Los
Angeles-based Simon Wiesen-
thal Center, said SWC will
soon be approved by the BBB
since it recently modified its
reports to comply with their
regulations.
The standards SWC missed
had to do with presenting a
detailed list of expenses incur-
red for each major program
and for failing to identify, at
point of solicitation, where the
money was earmarked.
SWC preserves the memory
of the Holocaust through its
Wiesenthal Holocaust
Museum and educational
outreach.
Laurie Nosanchuk, associ-
ate executive director of the
Detroit JNF office, said the
organization is now among
BBB's approved philanthropic
organizations.
JNF is incorporated to raise
money for the general welfare
of the inhabitants of Israel. It
stresses land reclamation, af-
forestation and resettlement
of immigrant groups.
"We received a memoran-
dum of our approval as of Aug.
7," Mrs. Nosanchuk said. "It's
rather disturbing to be listed
among those who failed BBB
standards, when I know we
made the list." ❑

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