Monday, January 09, 2012

Moral Calamity

The last few (3 or so) years I have been on a board for a neighborhood community group. They have been in business since 1979. A month ago the president of the board stepped down and I was elected as the replacement. It is an organization that is about to go under (yay- with my name on it!). This organization is in the red and my full belief is that the Executive Director is the person to blame, but guess what, she stepped down on January 3 to pursue her degree to become a counselor. I believe in people and I certainly understand when we are met with challenges, but this organization has been tanking since she has been in the ED position and I am two steps away from filing a lawsuit claiming she should be responsible for the demise of the organization as she burned every bridge that was in place. Now, I have only been part of the organization for going on 4 years, but my impression has remained the same of this person - appearing at events for her publicity, little work, no creative vision, and relatively ignorant to keeping up with fundraising alternatives to grants. I found out last week how much we were paying her. Too much for her to do as little as she does/did. With this situation, my brain is really having a hard time with non-profits and charities. My brother-in-law (soon to be ex) has worked for the American Cancer Society and the Ocean Conservancy. He is an asshole. He's the guy that takes the investors and sponsors to play golf, go to titty bars, etc. He is the biggest douche-bag and when I found out that people like that work for organizations that are typically looked at as a bleeding heart org, or at least that's what I thought, I started really evaluating how I donate to those large charities/non-profits. I'm disgusted. I've never been so disgusted about what I looked at as operating for the greater good. I've always had a conservative view on the WIC, Welfare, Food Stamps, and Link programs and how people could use cash to pay for alcohol. Not that I have anything against alcohol (whole other discussion), but I would watch folks come in to the grocery store when I was a checker in college and would just be so disgusted that the kid would need a new jacket, but the parent would throw down $20, with her new manicure mind you, on alcohol and use WIC to get the food for the children. On some level I still believe in it because there are folks out there legitimately using the programs, but then you get a large portion just abusing the shit out of the government.

I am holding a steaming pile of poop with a $7,000 price tag on it for someone who was benefiting herself. One problem, it's just payroll taxes that we need to pay off, but it's difficult to raise money for that and even worse, inappropriate to apply for grants if that is all you are going to pay for. Another problem is, I'm the only one that thinks the ED was benefiting herself subsequently putting the organization in jeopardy. I have virtually no grounds to bring any lawsuit against her for being irresponsible, prejudice against Polish folk, and misappropriating funds as I feel the other board members will revolt because I'm a newbie. WTF do I know about the situation. I know what I know and I will say that of my skills intuition and judgement of character are two of my strongest.

One more thing. I have offered on several occasions to do fundraisers with conservation themed events. Why? Because those are the resources I bring to the table. When they asked me to be on the board, this is what I brought to the table. Repeatedly my ideas have been shot down, poo-pooed and skeptically listened to. They have missed 6 opportunities to raise money for the organization just in the past year. If you run a non-profit, wouldn't you want to be open to ANY and ALL legitimate opportunities for fundraising even if it's a small amount that may be raised?

To say the least, my New Year has not started with the greatest of situations. I am on blood pressure medicine at my age already, I don't need to die of a stroke because someone else' bills got transferred to my problem list.