|more hypocrisy from sandy |
|Posted: Fri May 25, 2007 5:03 pm Post subject: Charity begins at home || |
|$17,000 on scholarships, $68,000 on "Glenn is the Messiah" T-shirts and frisbees. Has this woman NO SHAME? Imagine what $300,000 could do for inner-city kids going to college. Instead, she feeds her bloated ego and the memory of her incompetent husband. Sandy is not fit to go to Trenton - unless she's wearing an orange jumpsuit.
Cunningham's foundation spending more on costs than causes, records show
Friday, May 25, 2007
By JARRETT RENSHAW
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
The Glenn D. and Sandra Cunningham Foundation began in 2001 with little fanfare and even less money. Glenn D. Cunningham had just been elected Jersey City's mayor, and the couple's immediate focus was on policy.
As a result, the foundation kept just $1,000 in its coffers from the years 2001 to 2003, with no attempts to raise or donate money - but in 2004 that all changed.
Mayor Cunningham died of a heart attack, and Bolden Cunningham rededicated herself to the foundation. She assumed the role of its executive director and pledged to renew her husband's legacy by granting scholarships to local students and helping young people bounce back from trouble.
Along with her husband's legacy, the foundation has become a political asset for Bolden Cunningham in the race for the Democratic nomination for the 31st District state Senate seat against Assemblyman Lou Manzo.
In a recent piece of campaign literature, she says she has "worked hard to improve the quality of life in her community," citing the foundation as an example of her work. The pamphlet says the foundation has provided scholarships, mentored students and provided computers to seniors.
However, The Jersey Journal's review of the foundation's tax returns from 2001 to 2005 shows that the organization has spent far more on souvenirs and administrative costs than on charitable purposes.
Since 2001, the foundation has spent only $17,000 on charity, while shelling out at least $93,784 on operating and administrative expenses. The numbers don't include foundation activity for 2006, since the foundation has requested an extension to file its tax return for last year.
In 2005, the foundation spent 85 percent of its budget on operating and administrative expenses, and just 15 percent on charity, tax returns show.
"I think that she made it an issue on the campaign. If you look at its history, we are being told that the foundation has done one thing, but it has done something very different," Manzo commented.
The disparity between the foundation's charitable activity and its expenses may simply reflect that it's still getting its footing, but Bolden Cunningham has apparently ignored this nuance on the campaign trail.
In 2004, the foundation received two grants totaling $310,000 - $10,000 from Goldman Sachs and $300,000 from the Cunningham for Mayor 2005 campaign fund - along with $36,000 in other contributions and gifts, according to tax returns.
However, the foundation spent only $252 in 2004, all of which went to printing and publications.
In 2005, the foundation spent $93,532 on operating and administrative expenses, with the bulk of it spent on a block party marking the one-year anniversary of Glenn Cunningham's death. Tax returns show that more than $68,000 went to give-aways, souvenirs and other expenses for the event.
"Glenn meant a lot to the community, and we wanted to celebrate his life. We also wanted to promote the foundation, so we thought spending that money was a good thing," said Bolden Cunningham.
In 2005, the foundation also spent $17,000 on seven scholarships and the purchase of eight computers for a local senior citizen housing complex.
Bolden Cunningham says the foundation stepped up its charitable efforts in 2006, saying it has conducted seminars and issued more than 30 scholarships.
However, the foundation has yet to file its 2006 tax return that would show the spending, and Bolden Cunningham could not provide exact numbers.
"We are a growing charity, and we hope to offer more and more scholarships each year," Bolden Cunningham said.
The disparity between charitable and administrative expenses is out of step with the nation's other charitable foundations, according to statistics from the New Jersey-based Charity Navigator, a nonprofit watchdog organization.
Charitable organizations typically spend 75 percent of their budget on their programs, 10 percent on fundraising and the remaining 15 percent on administrative costs, according to Charity Navigator's analysis of the nation's top 5,000 charitable organizations.
However, Charity Navigator spokeswoman Sandra Miniutti said evaluating a charitable organization's financial activities during its first five years can often be misleading because it takes time to establish an efficient business model.
Cunningham told the Journal that she earns an annual salary of $25,000 as the executive director, but the tax returns don't mention salary payments. The IRS requires nonprofits to list the names of the top five employees making more than $10,000. No employees are listed.