Let’s see how many Christian charities get this.
That’s great! I use Charity Navigator to assess organizations for giving. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is also 4 stars but not the 100% sweep that FFRF achieves. World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse are 4-star charities, for those who prefer to give to religious charities, and that means that some major Christian charities do aim for high accountability and integrity. (Neither is as high as FFRF.) DI is 2 stars, AIG and RTB are 3. American Humanist Association is 4 stars.
It should be noted that it is not possible for Charity Navigator to assess many religious charities:
We have not issued this nonprofit a Finance & Accountability score. This does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, only that we have not reached a conclusion for the following reason:This organization cannot be evaluated by our Encompass Rating methodology because, as a religious organization, it is not required to file the Form 990.
The lack of a rating for this reason simply means that the organization does not meet our rating criteria. It does not indicate a positive or negative assessment by Charity Navigator.
This means that extra kudos should be given to those like WV & SP, who voluntarily allow such oversight, when they could use their religious nature to avoid it.
Don’t you see the problem here? Religious organizations are not required to file Form 990’s! why not? Why are religious organizations given special treatment? Why shouldn’t the local church who are given a religious exemption from local property taxes, be required to fill out a Form 990 to show that they indeed do charitable works with the money they receive in donations?
Yes, I did, and I do. I was just trying to live down my reputation for being abrasive … for once.
Admittedly, 990s, and even a high score doesn’t necessarily mean much – Liberty University gets 100% on Finance & Accountability, in spite of its reputation for letting Jerry Falwell Jr (before his fall from grace) treat it like his own personal fiefdom and piggybank:
In interviews over the past eight months, they depicted how Falwell and his wife, Becki, consolidated power at Liberty University and how Falwell presides over a culture of self-dealing, directing university resources into projects and real estate deals in which his friends and family have stood to make personal financial gains. Among the previously unreported revelations are Falwell’s decision to hire his son Trey’s company to manage a shopping center owned by the university, Falwell’s advocacy for loans given by the university to his friends, and Falwell’s awarding university contracts to businesses owned by his friends.
“We’re not a school; we’re a real estate hedge fund,” said a senior university official with inside knowledge of Liberty’s finances. “We’re not educating; we’re buying real estate every year and taking students’ money to do it.”
– ‘Someone’s Gotta Tell the Freakin’ Truth’: Jerry Falwell’s Aides Break Their Silence
That’s interesting. I don’t know a great deal about World Vision, but I know a good many Christians that are not thrilled with Samaritan’s Purse with the extremely large salary and political leanings of Franklin Graham.
This is a relatively old article which came to mind but it does a good job of explaining some of the reasons why evaluating charities (and evaluating the organizations which evaluate charities) can be quite complicated:
I’ve observed enough first-hand (while dealing with non-profits and charities) to be very careful and even cynically skeptical about a great many charities. Remember when people used to treat the Big Eight accounting firms as trusted verifiers of corporate finances? Eventually we discovered that a lot of their audits were bungled and the financial statements which they verified were actually fraudulent. Some charity evaluators have also had some major failures in their histories. (I will not risk litigation by posting my memories of various episodes.)
If we ever have a Peaceful Science convention in non-virtual space, I’ll share some memories. Celebrity Christianity is one of my beefs—as are celebrity-driven phenomena in general.
Yep. An org can get high ratings for transparency by simply telling the world how it spends its money, even though that info can disqualify it in the minds of reasonable people. For example, the amount per dollar spent on actual charity differs by 10 cents between Doctors Without Borders and Samaritan’s Purse. Some of that difference goes into enriching the despicable Franklin Graham, but no simply mathematical metric can capture it.
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