Thursday, July 15, 2010

Another Non-Profit Profitting at the Expense of Taxpayers - Welcome to Indiana Humanities Council, Inc.

The Indianapolis Business Journal website has a puff piece about Keira Amstutz, who in 2008 became CEO of the non- Indiana Humanities Council. Amstutz had been chief counsel and policy director for Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson.

The Humanities Council is according to its Bylaws attached to its 2007 (latest available) tax return an outfit "to promote the humanities as a means of enhancing civil life throughout Indiana." According to the IBJ, this comes down to "develop[ing] programs and encourag[ing] discussion about Indiana culture in the context of history, politics, the arts, agriculture and other areas vital to Hoosier life." In the video she makes a suggestion about fundraising.

The pitch should include going to government and asking for tax dollars. In the 2007, return $759,250 of the $832,324 in income that year came from government contributions. That's 91% for those of you scoring at home.

Like with most Indianapolis non-profits, the Humanities Council pays its officers and employees well. According to the 2007 return, Catherine O'Conner, VP for administration raked in $118,800, Nancy Conner, Grant Director made nearly $100,000, Keira Amtutz, then listed just as "President" made $78,465, Andrew Lee, Controller, made $46,074, Kerry Benjamin, also listed as a "Controller" made $61,019.

Compensation of the Indiana Humanities Council's "current officers, directors, and key employees" on the 2007 tax return is listed as $684,178, which is 82% of the income received in 2007. That is 82% BEFORE considering any other administrative expenses of the Council.
One has to wonder how much money at the end of the day trickles down to the "cause."
Here's the way to wealth in Indianapolis. First, get a high ranking position in city government. Second, leave the government job and start (or join) a non-profit that is supposedly doing some noble cause. Third, go back to government and get a grant, or several of them. Fourth, pay yourself and your friends handsomely from the grant money. Fifth, if there is any money left over, spend a few dollars on the "cause."
The Internal Revenue Service might want to take a closer look at these non-profits to see if they're truly pursuing their mission or whether they're more about allowing people associated with the non-profits to live the high life at taxpayer expense. When non-profits don't pay taxes, we taxpayers pay more.


Marycatherine Barton said...

Great points, Paul. Sigh!

Had Enough Indy? said...

Nobody in their right mind would give to a charity that spent such a high percentage on administrative costs.

Just what is "developing programs and encouraging discussion about Indiana culture in the context of history, politics, the arts, agriculture and other areas vital to Hoosier life" anyway?


Here is another one in which the Arts Council wants us to discuss our cultural literacy. Ok, I have to admit that I didn't know what that word meant. Was it like "synergy"? So, I looked it up. Here's what wiki says: "Cultural literacy is the ability to converse fluently in the idioms, allusions and informal content which creates and constitutes a dominant culture.

Test your cultural literacy about Indianapolis as the Arts Council hosts the next IndyTalks. There's a game show-style quiz followed by lively discussion.

Date: Thursday, July 22, 2010
Time: 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: Athenaeum, 401 E. Michigan Street, Indianapolis

What is cultural literacy? Do we have it? How do we get it and encourage others to want it? What does it mean to Indianapolis?

Through a lively, fun-filled evening featuring a television-like quiz game, the master of ceremonies will ask questions regarding arts and culture in Indianapolis. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate as a contestant in the game or as an audience member. Everyone will be encouraged to explore their own cultural literacy and reflect on the cultural literacy of their community, as well as to discuss the impact of cultural literacy on Indianapolis during the discussion following.

Location: Athenaeum, 401 E. Michigan Street, Indianapolis

Organized by: Arts Council of Indianapolis – Event Partner: Primary Colours

Contact: Janet Boston (Director of Marketing) or 317-631-3301, ext. 214

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