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Feeling charitable? Here’s how six local nonprofits spent their money

As the holidays approach, some people are feeling charitable and looking to donate to local nonprofits. Here’s a breakdown of how much money six Whatcom County nonprofits received and how the organizations spent it.

About the project

The Bellingham Herald received a list from the Whatcom County Finance Department of the top 20 local nonprofits that received county funds. From that list, The Herald selected six well-known local nonprofits.

Data for the story was collected from the Washington Secretary of State’s website, the organizations’ tax forms, as well as GuideStar, an online website that compiles data on all registered nonprofit organizations in the United States. Some of the information, such as top employees’ salaries for 2016, were not reported or readily available, but a list of top paid employees was provided for that year (just without the salary figures).

Opportunity Council:

The Opportunity Council provides services to families to help them meet basic needs, stabilize their lives and become self-sufficient. The nonprofit provides basic food and housing for those who are homeless, as well as energy assistance, home repair and child care and job resources, according to the nonprofit’s mission statement on its tax forms. A representative from the Opportunity Council could not be reached for comment.

Revenue:

▪  2016: $27,343,881. More than $770,000 came from solicitations.

▪  2015: $25,529,747

Expenses:

▪  2016: $26,700,877. The organization spent $24,533,793.00 on program services.

▪  2015: $25,078,022. It spent $22,217,511 on program services.

Director’s salaries/administration costs:

▪  2016: Not available, but the highest paid employees were Greg Winter, David Foreman and Sheri Emerson.

▪  2015: Opportunity Council spent $2,820,491 on administration services, or 11 percent of its total expenses.

Highest compensated employees in 2015:

▪  Dave Finet, executive director – $118,417

▪  David Foreman, chief financial officer – $77,541

Percentage of money going to program services:

▪  2016: 92 percent

▪  2015: 89 percent

Cascade Connections:

Cascade Connections provides services to people with disabilities. It includes home care, residential programs, training and vocational services. Cascade Connections started in Lynden and has been helping people since 1980, according to the company’s website. A representative from Cascade Connections could not be reached for comment.

Revenue:

▪  2016: $6,471,231

▪  2015: $5,990,561

Expenses:

▪  2016: $6,497,066. Cascade Connections spent $5,872,610 on program services.

▪  2015: $5,985,789. The organization spent $5,359,553 on program services.

Director’s salaries/administration costs:

▪  2016: Not available, but the highest paid employees were George Beanblossom, Kristin Nguyen and Angela Enos.

▪  2015: Cascade Connections spent $619,311 on administrative services, or 10 percent of its total expenses.

Highest compensated employee in 2015:

▪  Geroge Beanblossom, executive director –$64,010.

Percentage of money going to program services:

▪  2016: 90 percent

▪  2015: 90 percent

Whatcom Humane Society:

The Whatcom Humane Society has been caring for animals since 1902. The organization operates a domestic animal shelter, a wildlife rehabilitation center and a farm facility. More than 5,200 domestic, wild and farm animals received care or services in 2016 through the Whatcom Humane Society, according to Laura Clark, the executive director. The humane society is an open-admission shelter and turns no animal away, Clark said. The organization also offers animal adoptions, lost and found, animal control and rescue, animal cruelty and neglect investigations, licensing, outreach and education, a pet food bank and spay/neuter services.

“In addition to our 24-hour a day animal control and rescue department and our ongoing outreach and humane education programs, one of the most valuable services we offer the community is our wildlife rehabilitation center, which is funded entirely by generous contributions from the community,” Clark said. “(We) believe that all animals, as sentient beings, have value beyond economic measurements and are entitled to legal, moral and ethical consideration and protection.”

Revenue:

▪  2016: $2,084,171. More than $947,000 came from solicitations.

▪  2015: $1,993,214

Expenses:

▪  2016: $2,067,176. The organization spent $1,497,338 on program services.

▪  2015: $2,139,796. The organization spent $1,549,066 on program services.

Director’s salaries/administration costs:

▪  2016: Not available, but the highest paid employees were Laura Clark, Karen Dolphin and Paul Evans.

▪  2015: The Whatcom Humane Society spent $423,891 on administrative services, or 19.8 percent of its total expenses.

Percentage of money going to program services:

▪  2016: 72 percent

▪  2015: 72 percent

Northwest Youth Services:

Northwest Youth Services helps at-risk, runaway and homeless youth in Whatcom and Skagit counties. The organization offers housing, street outreach, job and educational services, connections to mental health services, support for LGBTQ youth, and restorative justice for juvenile offenders, according to a previous media advisory from the company. A representative from Northwest Youth Services could not be reached for comment.

Revenue:

▪  2016: $2,308,666. More than $868,973 came from solicitations.

▪  2015: $2,266,969

Expenses:

▪  2016: $2,216,354. Northwest Youth Services spent $1,812,573 on program services.

▪  2015: $1,921,866. The organization spent $1,776,249 on program services.

Director’s salaries/administration costs:

▪  2016: Not available, but the highest paid employees were Riannon Bardsley, Katie Cruickshank and Tari Caswell.

▪  2015: The organization spent $124,062 on administrative services, or 6.5 percent of its total expenses.

Highest compensated employee in 2015:

▪  Riannon Bardsley, executive director – $67,096.

Percentage of money going to program services:

▪  2016: 81 percent

▪  2015: 92 percent

Lydia Place:

Lydia Place works to disrupt the cycle of homelessness and promote sustained independence for families, according to Shultzie Willows, community engagement director. The organization mainly provides housing and housing-related services, including a parent education program, case management services and a counseling program, among others.

Lydia
Lydia Place provides and connects families experiencing homelessness in Whatcom County to services. In 2016, Lydia Place spent 85 percent of its money on its program services. Lydia Place Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

“In Whatcom County, every fourth homeless person is a child and a full 10 percent of the homeless population has not yet seen their fourth birthday,” Willows said. “Families experiencing homelessness continue to be left out of most conversations, yet ... the only true solution to homelessness must start there, with our most vulnerable children. This is the mission, work and heart of Lydia Place.”

Revenue:

▪  2016: $1,777,868

▪  2015: $1,945,786

Expenses:

▪  2016: $1,224,566. Lydia Place spent $1,035,875 on program services.

▪  2015: $829,922. The organization spent $691,640.00 on program services.

Director’s salaries/administration costs:

▪  2016: Not available, but the highest paid employees were Emily O’Conner, Shultzie Willows and Ashley Thomasson.

▪  2015: Lydia Place spent $55,140 on administrative services, which accounted for 6.6 percent of its total expenses.

Highest compensated employee in 2015:

▪  Emily O’Connor, executive director – $66,706.

Percentage of money going to program services:

▪  2016: 85 percent

▪  2015: 83 percent

Alternatives To Hunger/Bellingham Food Bank:

The Bellingham Food Bank has served those in Whatcom County with a steady supply of nutritious groceries and fresh food, according its website. They also have services that help connect people to hunger relief programs, such as food stamps and meal programs. People can visit the food bank once a week. A representative from the food bank could not be reached for comment.

Revenue:

▪  2016: $7,461,617

▪  2015: $7,260,755

Expenses:

▪  2016: $7,338,561. The food bank spent $7,021,903 on program services.

▪  2015: $6,223,693. The food bank spent $5,945,843 on program services.

Director’s salaries/administration costs:

▪  2016: Not available, but the highest paid employees were Mike Cohen, Robert Norton and Matthew Cooper.

▪  2015: The food bank spent $251,483 on administrative services, which accounted for 4 percent of its total expenses.

Highest compensated employee in 2015:

▪  Mike Cohen, executive director – $90,547.

Percentage of money going to program services:

▪  2016: 96 percent

▪  2015: 96 percent

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt

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