CharityWatch Analysts perform an in-depth analysis of charities' audited financial statements and IRS tax filings, and often review other documents such as state filings, annual reports, and fundraising contracts during their evaluations. Below are select notes that CharityWatch believes may be of interest to donors.

Any time an Analysts' Note refers to a charity's Audited Financial Statements or IRS tax form, CharityWatch encourages interested donors to obtain a copy of the referenced documents so that they may view the information in context. Please contact the charity directly to request a copy of any referenced document. Charity tax forms and audits may also be obtained from a number of online databases. For a list of sources, please visit our LINKS page.

CharityWatch's rating of Common Cause Education Fund includes the financial activities of the 501(c)(3) public charity (tax ID# 31-1705370). Our rating does not include the financial activities of the related 501(c)(4) tax-exempt, social welfare entity, Common Cause (tax ID# 52-6078441), for which CharityWatch issues a separate rating.

CharityWatch issues separate ratings for 501(c)(3) & 501(c)(4) organizations, even when they are included together in a consolidated audit, due to their different tax treatment by the IRS. For more information on this topic, please see our sections on Types of Non-Profits, Tax Status, and Treatment of Related Organizations, which can be found in "Criteria & Methodology" under the "About Us" navigation header.

For more information about things to consider when donating to organizations that have related public charity and social welfare entities, click on the "Donor Alerts & Articles / Media" tab (above), and read "Sorting Out Non-Profit Pairs."
According to the Common Cause consolidated audit of June 30, 2016 (Note K, Commitments and Contingencies):

"Separation expense: A group of employees were terminated and received a separation package during the year ended June 30, 2016. Separation expense includes salary payments based on years of service in addition to other benefits, such as retirement and leave. Separation expense totaled $263,708 for the year ended June 30, 2016..."

"Employment agreement: The Organization [Common Cause and Common Cause Education Fund] has an employment agreement with its President and Chief Executive Officer. Under the terms of the agreement, should the Organization terminate her employment without cause, the Organization would be obligated to pay severance."
According to the Common Cause consolidated audit of June 30, 2016 (Note F, Unrestricted Net Assets):

"Deficit in unrestricted net assets: ...the Organization [Common Cause and Common Cause Education Fund] has a deficit in unrestricted net assets. The Organization is aware of the deficit in unrestricted net assets and is actively working to alleviate it through increasing unrestricted contributions, decreasing expense, and reviewing the allocation of costs to all programs which, in turn, will enhance the accuracy of the net assets released from restriction."

According to the audited Consolidating Statement of Financial Position at June 30, 2016, Common Cause Education Fund had a deficit in Unrestricted Net Assets of $55,231. (Additionally, Common Cause, the related 501(c)(4) organization, had a reported deficit in Unrestricted Net Assets at June 30, 2016 in the amount of $1,211,526.)
According to the Common Cause consolidated audit of June 30, 2016 (Note G, Endowment Funds):

"In relation to the quasi-endowed fund [see below], the original value of the fund totaled $932,014. During the year ended June 30, 2009, the National Governing Board approved a resolution to transfer $744,290 from the quasi-endowed fund to the operating fund to supplement the Organization's [Common Cause and Common Cause Education Fund's] cash flow needs. The National Governing Board intends to repay the quasi-endowed fund in equal amounts over a three-year period. The repayments are contingent upon the Organization's financial health and no repayments have yet been made. As a result of the transfer to the operating fund and due to changes in the fair value of the underlying investments, the quasi-endowed fund deficiency totaled $913,099 and $912,475 at June 30, 2016 and 2015, respectively."

[According to Note F of the Common Cause consolidated audit: "The Shriver Quasi-endowed Fund was originally established by a bequest from Joyce Shriver to Common Cause. The Shriver bequest had no donor restriction as to use but it was received by the New York state office. Thus, the National Governing Board of Common Cause passed a resolution to use the gift to establish a quasi-endowed fund to be used for the benefit of both the national office and the New York office."]

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