These days, I’m often asked, “What’s going on with the Art Alliance?” Truth be told, I admire the organization’s mission to keep art alive in schools. That’s why I chaired numerous events over the last two years, including the first public art exhibit.
Through my involvement though, I saw and experienced things that caused concern. I brought my concerns to the board members, individually and/or collectively, and yet, requests for information were ignored and questions were left unanswered.
The lack of financial transparency and disregard for the “duty of care” responsibilities required of 501(c)(3) officers were raised by myself and others at AAI’s annual meeting on Jan. 23. A free financial audit was even offered. Two months later and, as of this letter, there are no signs that the audit is scheduled.
Instead of addressing issues, the board has publicly distributed statements that could be construed as tactics aimed to cause harm to my reputation; and they deleted both my image and signature from the Idyllwild Deer Sightings statement on the AAI website. My requests for financial transparency and full compliance with the California Attorney General’s Guide for Charities are not personal, yet I have felt personally targeted. Because I believe in the AAI mission, I cannot turn a blind eye to what needs to be done to ensure that its nonprofit status is not jeopardized. The guidelines governing public charities (www.oag.ca.gov) include:
• Separation of duties
• Checks and balances
• Dual signatures on checks
• Periodic financial reviews by third-party accountants
• Rotating board members
My questions are simple.
• Why hasn’t the free audit been scheduled?
• Why was only $9,900 donated in 2014 when the year-end cash balance was $29,000?
• What is the plan for the $29,000, excluding the $4,000 set aside for scholarships?
• Why aren’t net-proceed statistics from events shared with paying members when members contribute $14,000-plus annually in dues?
• Why were deer artists not paid in 2013 for their talents when the AAI 2012 year-end cash balance was $22,000?
• Why are financials not provided to project/event chairs for making informed financial decisions?
• Why are board members exceeding four years, regardless of their interpretation of the law, and not rotating out like other local nonprofits?
• Why are questions posed by the Town Crier and members going unanswered?
Let’s stay focused on the core issues.