Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fishy Foundation Factoids

     [See UPDATE below.]
     Recently, we’ve raised questions concerning the IVC Foundation’s finances. Two board meetings back (November), the colleges’ two foundations provided their annual reports (see). (For video, go here.) The IVC Foundation reps included the following graphic:

click on graphic
     According to this chart, 38% of "income" (for 2011-12)—i.e., $395,000was "district support." Wow. The amount of money given that year in scholarships was only about $173K—less than half of district support. Meanwhile, "expenses to college" amounted to $754K. 
     I don't understand these figures. They seem out of wack to me.
     But I rarely understand fiscal issues. (I should acknowledge that an apparently knowledgeable friend has offered to explain some of these data to me, but I've been too busy to contact him. I hope to do so eventually.)
     For what it's worth, at the time, none of the trustees had any questions for the Foundation folks. "Really?" I thought. "This makes sense to you?" Well, guess so.
     During the subsequent (December) meeting (video here), "audit reports" per foundation were presented (item 6.1), and, confronted with all the facts, Trustee Dave Lang (Irvine) was inspired to raise Baueresque questions about the large proportion of Foundation assets support coming from the district [no, actually the colleges: see below]. As I reported at the time
In the case of Saddleback [they said], it was something like 54%. In the case of IVC, it was actually more than 93%! What's that all about? Lang wanted more information about those factoids. 
(UPDATE: I went back to the video [available hereand I got Lang's exact words:
44:40 Lang: “I do have a request … I understand that there will be a separate report on the foundations in January. ... The one thing that strikes me when I review the financial information, particular this statement of activities for both of the foundations, is the level of support that the colleges provide to each of the foundations in the form of donated services and donated professional fees. For Saddleback it was like 53.4% of the unrestricted total support. For Irvine Valley College it was 92.76% of that figure. And I’m hopeful that in the reports that you’ll come back with, there may be some information that gives us a way to benchmark that against perhaps some of our other peers and community college foundations that are also out there. So I’m gonna be interested to understand that a little bit better.")
R. Morley
     How these factoids square with the aforementioned chart, I dunno. Like I said, I'm no good with fiscal stuff. But Lang's query seems to comport with mine. It'll be interesting to see where his query leads. An Orwellian episode, perhaps.

     SKEPTICISM. Many of us in the IVC community remain skeptical about our Foundation. For a while there, the IVC Foundation seemed more like an branch of the OC GOP Central Committee. The director—a Republican activist who was, shall we say, "not a good fit" as Foundation Directorwas in fact a crony of then-Trustee Tom Fuentes, former chair of the latter organization.
     In recent years, scandals have broken out regarding our foundation's (or at least our scholarship program's) failure to adhere to regulations/standards and the seemingly slipshod manner in which scholarship recipients are identified. Some of us have made inquiries, e.g., regarding the absurd deficiencies of scholarship application forms, only to be assured that better forms are on their way. But then the old forms remain. 

     And it ain't rocket science. Nope.
     A year or so ago, a new foundation director was hired (R. Morley), but, fairly or not, I've heard many complaints about him. At one point, he came before my school (the School of Humanities & Languages), essentially asking us to do lots of the work of properly identifying scholarship recipients for him. Contrary to the available evidence (coming out of his mouth and revealed in his missives), he assured us that he was once "an English professor," like many in the room. Some of us were put off by this approach. 
     These tasks—following regulations, producing application forms, developing criteria for scholarship recipient selection—should not be difficult. Why do the people hired by our college have so much difficulty doing them? It's not as if they aren't paid well. (And when they prove to be incompetent, why do they keep their jobs for so long? Eh, Glenn?)

A new wrinkle:
     Recently, a letter was forwarded to me. It concerned a very large endowment to the Saddleback College Foundation. According to the information in the letter (which I have good reasons to suppose is reliable), "new procedures" have been instituted at the foundation according to which very substantial sums of money are being deducted from endowments as one-time administration fees. 
     That's not all. There's also an annual fee, and it is not insubstantial.
     It all looks pretty, ahem, excessive to me.
     More to come.

     For a trip down Bad Memory Lane—regarding scholarship and foundation snafus & curious episodes—check out the following:
Scholarship program woes: a complete overhaul - IVC scholarship program out of compliance? General shambles
Schol*ar*ship (the form, the process, etc.) - Ridiculous application forms, serious confidentiality irregularities, etc. Snafu.
Mystery Solved! - the fubar explaining why the scholarship process dispensed with letters of rec this year; communication breakdown; etc.
Take a Letter, Maria - Letters of Rec no longer required in scholarship app process? Surely you kid?!
Wagner at the scholarship ceremony - Wagner uses the occasion to opine about prayer. Some in attendance are furious!
Breaking news! - the Patrick Healy debacle (foundation event)
The Foundation’s Adam Probolsky, Superhero - one Foundation dude is a local GOP operative. One of Mike Carona's "deputies"
"Mickey" Tello
Our hero! - IVC Foundation names a manifestly corrupt bastard "hometown hero." Y'know, these days, Mike's in federal prison. Thank you, Tom. May I have another!?
He's Tom's kind of guy - creeps
Al Tello's wife? - the IVC Foundation director's wife and the Tan Nguyen political scandal. It's the OC GOP effect!
Hey kids! Let's put on a book burning! - IVC's Foundation director has a curious campus event idea: a book burning. Me'n the Reb  seek to dissuade him

16 comments:

  1. Roy, thanks for shining a light on the foundation...something is very wrong there and as you noted the college (from general funds) is spending big $$$ to support it. Rumor has it that like Saddleback, they will soon be deducting fees from the accounts. Hey, if you can't raise money, then just take it from someone who has some. I guess fundraising is not in the Foundation Director's job description. Expense reduction suggestion - get rid of the foundation (since they can't raise money) and you save the college $750k!

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  2. I was over in A100 and saw two new people working in the foundation. Who is paying them? Why are we hiring new people, don't we have any good employees at IVC? Our Deans are having to cut back on support staff while the foundation director adds people. I thought we had to reduce expenses?




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  3. It's good that people have jobs.

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  4. One more factoid....the recent IVC Veteran's Gala raised over $16k for our veterans (according to Glenn's announcement to the campus) but I don't believe our campus veterans got a dime...where did the money go?

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  5. Where did all the money raised at the recent IVC Veteran's Gala to support our campus vets go? Glenn's announcement to the campus said they raised over $16k, but I don't believe our campus vets got a dime. Another scam in the making? How about an accounting of were the money went?

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  6. People have been working hard to address all the concerns. More will be revealed in the future. Be patient.

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  7. I think it's common to have some kind of flat administrative fee to process donations.

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  8. It's not a flat fee. It's a percentage. A rather large one-time fee plus a yearly fee, also a percentage.

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  9. The "new" scholarship form is online. Looks like the same one but it's hard to tell.

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  10. Mickey = Al, right?

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  11. Dear 9:45 - You don't indicate who the "people" are but acknowledge they have been working hard to "address all the concerns". What happened to transparency? If there have been all these concerns, why haven't they been disclosed and taken care of? What does "more will be revealed in the future" mean? Has there been some major financial issues that are being coverd up?
    How do we shine a light on the problems? Who is on the Foundation Board that has the backbone to tell the truth as to what is going on? Sure sounds like a cover-up by the administration...when will the Chancellor and Trustees wake up and do something.

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  12. More will be revealed in the future.... sounds like a line out of the the Wizard of OZ. I can see the smoke with the giant head and the man at the controls behind the curtin creating the great facade....Where is our TOTO to expose the fakery?

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  13. I love the Wizard of OZ

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  14. Go to Wendy's Wonderful Wizard of Oz ...
    http://www.wendyswizardofoz.com/main.php

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  15. There is no cover-up. Just a program with no home. It's time to consider Foundations and scholarship programs as a District function.

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  16. Certainly some kind of reform and/or oversight is needed - at least at IVC. The percentages seem seriously out of whack.

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