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CharityWatch Schools Charity Foundation

   Apr 01, 2007

Unhappy with its appearance in AIP's December 2006 Guide, F-rated charity The Hope School Foundation (Foundation) contacted AIP to request that we amend our report to reflect their view that our information is "misleading," and "incomplete and inaccurate." They also posted their concerns on the website of The Hope School (School), the group that the Foundation exists to support and to which it is related through common board members.

The Foundation appeared on AIP's list of 50 F-Rated Charities for spending only 1% of its total expenses, or $7,178 on grants to support the School, consisting of its entire program expense for 2005, as reported in the group's financial statements. In the same year, the group spent $782,000 on fundraising, and $263,000 on management expenses. One of the group's complaints is that AIP did not count as a program expense the money collected by the Foundation on behalf of the School. However, collecting money or earmarking part of its investments for later transfer to another group is not a program expense. Despite their complaint, the Foundation's own tax form and audit both report only $7,178 in program expenses for the year.

Another complaint of the Foundation is that AIP did not include contributions made to the School in our analysis. According to the Foundation, The Hope School directly received $155,594 in the form of contributions, legacies and bequests in fiscal year 2005. They argued that donors may have given to the School as a result of the Foundation's fundraising efforts, instead of giving to the Foundation. By the same reasoning, donors could just have easily contributed to the Foundation as a result of their familiarity with the School. There is no way to measure the net effect of donations given to one group as the result of a donor's familiarity with the other, unless a consolidated audit reflecting the activities of both groups combined were to be made available. It is significant to note that even if this amount were added to the Foundation's fiscal year 2005 contributions, it would not have changed AIP's F-rating of the Hope School Foundation.