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Size Still Matters — So, How to Assess Who’s Got the Biggest (Most) Assets, Where Are They Stored, Who Manages the Most of OTHERs’ Assets (AUM), How Much are Americans Bankrolling Both, or Should We Be Measuring Something Else? [Started 8/24, Published 10/8/2017.]

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Post title: Size Still Matters — So, Who’s Got the Biggest (Most) Assets, Who Manages the Most of OTHERs’ Assets (AUM), How Much are Americans Bankrolling Both, or Should We Be Measuring Something Else, like Donations? [Started 8/24, Published 10/8/2017]  (case-sensitive short-link ends “-7up”)

This short, informative, and I admit at times flippant post still makes its points about distinguishing size of entities and ones that seek to present themselves as smaller (or larger) than they actually are. I also was going through some of the definitions of “syndicate” in reference to topics I was more focused on in August, 2017 (Tobacco-RICO-related), than I have been in September 2017. Those comments are on: Basic Definitions and Etymology (Roots) of the word ~syndicate. Syndicates can be formed for legal OR illegal purposes. Know the Difference! (8/26/2017, published Oct. 3) [short-link ends “-7vi”]

Still, with persistence, I find that topics covered in one context tend to come up in others, too. Some of these revelations (to me at least) continue to astound as to the casual tossing around of millions, or sometimes billions, of dollars from a given entity towards the cause, and from there to subcontractors, grantees, while being retained — or lost — as reflected on the corresponding huge and sometimes rapidly fluctuating, but always illuminating balance sheets of each entity.

Take for example the American Legacy Foundation later renamed “Truth Initiative Foundation(™).”

The post title, and this post, came from my feeling I should qualify the statement that the American Legacy Foundation (total gross assets around one billion, only formed in 1999, too) as being “monster-sized.”  Obviously, with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation being ten times its size (and involved in some of the same projects) — or a center under the CDC which involved a tobacco-cessation nonprofit I was writing about (because it was among the USDOJ Intervenors in the RICO Case against Phillip Morris et. al…) which referenced this nonprofit — that center’s 2016 budget was $1.17 Billion, I learned — size is still “all relative” (only meaningful in comparison to other entities or some outside standard).  (where it started, ca. August 29, 2017)

After publishing the post, on reviewing it more, I saw and decided to label its three basic sections, which may help people understand why those particular organizations.  American Legacy Foundation (first section) relates to the ongoing recent blog themes re: big tobacco litigations as it intersects with HHS and agencies under it.  The second and third sections below are:

  • 2nd section: CENIC (Corp. for Educ. Network in Calif.) & CITY OF HOPE
    • For non-Californians:  other states surely have parallel organizations, and City of Hope typifies what comprises a major healthcare operation, with its component parts as shown on their financial statements.  The takeaway here is, ALWAYS check for tax returns, but realize because of the networking, individual tax returns are rarely the whole story.
  • 3rd section: Forbes’ 50 Largest Foundations 2016 and its #2 Charity: The Task Force for Global Health & Related /Similar Orgs. associated w/ Emory University in Georgia.
    • Take-away here includes the tendency of organizations that get big — often from public funds but not always — to form spinoff entities in later years, often on the exact same website.
    • Emory University anchoring both Task Force for Global Health and (see that section) the famous “Carter Center” (named after former President Jimmy Carter and his wife) in effect clouds the types of in-kind medication donations, and in the latter case, millions every year targeted specifically to sub-Saharan Africa through the spin-off entity.
    • Not reported here — but I will post: I found through looking at board members, another small but still “iffy” set of nonprofits run by an Emory University business (not Public Health) professor. From what the tax returns are telling me, this is a legitimate professor using tax-exemption for illegitimate purposes (i.e., simply paying less taxes, write-offs, etc.).  That’s not what academic privileges are for, and has me even more curious about what else is going on in Georgia, and at this institution.
    • Organizations also tend to copy each other’s behavior.

I believe all the topics are interesting in their own right, but as usual and as ever, am still promoting individual initiatives to look up and look at foundations, charities, and of course the direction of government programming (especially under HHS) over time. I found that even turning away for just a period — a year, a half year, two years — major developments that are NOT typically referenced in the mainstream media, OR the “alternate” media supposedly correcting mainstream (“alt-right” or “far left,” “progressive”), although once you start looking some of the big ones up, the connection to MSM and headline news will become more and more regular.


American Legacy Foundation funds as I recall came from the MSA Tobacco Litigation settlements, a process which had been driven by some of the organizations mentioned in the (see next link) post, which in part was also pushing for major HHS/NIH (Nat’l Institutes of Health) expansion especially for biomedical research, also for cancer.

My August 5, 2017 post (ca 15,500 words) has many details, images and documentations.  I was studying some of the background of key organizations and of the related (driven by some of the same major players in this field) NIH funding expansions…because Congress appropriates the HHS (NIH is under HHS) funds, when I say “driven by,” I’m talking here about the ability of well-connected people and their well-funded organizations to influence Congress and specifically here regarding smoking cessation efforts on the basis of smoking causing cancer.

An Alternate Viewpoint on the Anti-Smoking / Smoking Causes Cancer! Campaign and its Syndicated (?) Backers incl. the Whiteheads, the Laskers, the NIH and the U.S. Congress (from SmokersHistory.com and Other Sources. See also Tobacco Lawsuits and 1998 MSA Settlement Funds ~~} American Legacy Foundation, now the so-called Truth Initiative®) (post started 7/31, published 8/5/2017) with case-sensitive short-link ending “-7na” 

(Check out the closing paragraphs on the “Alternate Viewpoint” post…)

For a general “size” point of reference, I showed that back in 2002, the “ALF” managed to lose $35M by selling over $8B of securities — but then again, it also earned $54M** $16M from dividends and interest the same year.  Then again, it spent $91.7M on “Other expenses” per its tax returns, of which (says the Form 990 detail) most ($87M) went to “Contract Services”.”  The other major chunk of expenses that year were $32M of grants, the delegation of most ($27M) of them being presented at least as uploaded to the databse which gets them from the IRS, in virtually illegible form.  Of another $4.2M (of those $32M) grants under the “sponsorship” category, the largest chunk went, unsurprisingly given the subject matter, straight to UCSF ($3.3M as I recall). Here’s that tax return, all of it, in pdf format:

American Legacy Fndtn (Tobacco MSA grants est 1998) FY2002 Sold 8’5B investmts at a 53M Loss (!!) 911956621_200306_990 (all pp, ptd 7-30-2017)

**correction — double-checking the $54M quote, I see that referred to “unrealized gains” part of the return, not shown on Page 1 summary.  This would’ve been shown in the financial statements.  On the other hand, $54M of the $91M (“Other expenses) that year was shown going to a single contractor in Boston “Arnold Communications.”

Three images from within the FY2002 return and one from FY2003 showing a $46.8M gain from sale of securities..  Which securities, one wonders!  Who is donating $8B worth of securities over such a short period (or possibly even within a single year).


ALF 2002 details some of the “sponsorship” grants — showing ca. ¾ ($3.3M of $4.2M) went to UCSF.

ALF FY2002 detail from a listing of $27M grants to others had been shrunk to below visibility, in explicably… and the entity is at this point only a few years old…

ALF FY2002, $87M in “Contract Services” is major “Other Expense” of $91M total.

American Legacy Fndtn FY2003, prior yr lost $35M selling over 8B assets; this year somehow they profited $46M. Where that many assets came from, I still don’t see reflected on tax returns.


The numbers we are dealing with over time are, by a normal person’s standards (supporting self, family, maybe contribution to charities, or saving for retirement, helping/hoping to send children to a decent college) are phenomenal — millions, hundreds of millions (regularly) and billions.  Plural.

But within these there are still degrees of relative size, there are types of donations (for example, in one example below — actually two — among the $100M+donations (or close to it some years) of donations, were in-kind donations of drugs, medications and related inventories for use in, (Carter Center Collaborative, Inc.) primarily sub-Saharan Africa.

Another issue that came up as I looked for some of the “50 largest foundations” on different lists, besides how they were categorized, is what are actually membership dues (contributions, technically speaking) are classified on the Form 990s as “Program service Revenues” in one place, and contributions (same organization) in another.  Also, in looking for “the largest” for some list — for example, Forbes had one — this often doesn’t take into account related organizations, which consideration of the tax returns would quickly show.

Here’s “American Legacy Foundation” (“Truth Initiative”) tax returns from that post:

American Legacy Foundation DC 2016 990 65 $957,381,718.00 91-1956621
American Legacy Foundation DC 2015 990 92 $1,096,789,302.00 91-1956621
American Legacy Foundation DC 2014 990 97 $1,151,506,314.00 91-1956621

It’s hovering around $1B assets (Gross) now — but it had its hands on much more a dozen-plus years ago.  See also my post published 8/19/2017 (continuation of this one) which may have more detail.  I looked at this again recently, took more “screenprints” and am considering posting a separate page just on that year’s return, to emphasize — what’s really going on there?  Why should the public be funding such an operation?

[Shortlink generated by “TAGGS.HHS.gov” for an advanced search on “American Legacy Foundation” (no results will show for “Truth Initiative” shows only $18M total grants, none before 2006, but is nevertheless fascinating. Sort by any column.  http://tinyurl.com/ydcof5aw).
This shows that, at least according to “TAGGS” the majority of “Government Grants” reported in Form 990 FY2002 (and probably other years too) do not come from the federal agency directly.  Probably from state or local instead.]TAGGS shortlinks save searches — not results. If data changes meanwhile, so do results. For search filter, all I did was uncheck the year, type in recipient “American Legacy Foundation” after selecting specific columns besides the default ones marked, at bottom of the input page. (update 10/9/2017], I also saw that CDC grants were the largest, but NIH more numerous.  As I have recently posted (that huge long title starting “Public Health Service…”) much more on the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, it’s interesting to see this in here.  I also during one search, on this session, included the column “Affordable Care Act flag” (it’s a Yes/No field) but a differing number of results showed there was at least a 3rd possibly response to ON/OFF showing as “REC” (==??)

TAGGS Adv. Search (partial) American Legacy Fndtn, done Oct. 9, 2017, sorted by OpDIV, some anomalies noted (Recovery Act flag columns).

TAGGS search Oct. 9, 2017, on American Legacy Fndtn, segment shows a 3rd response “REC” in the Recovery Act column, as well as one referencing the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

Since then, as well:

For example, here I see I was looking up some of the largest charities (among which are several who were Tobacco RICO intervenors and major players in the US health system — American Cancer Society, Lung Society, et al.).  But in a recent major update to my 2017 Table of Contents page (it’s sticky = near the top of this blog, was published January 9, 2017) 2017 Table of Contents Continues Themes From 2016., I remembered there was also a section on the 50 largest foundations (“Endnote #12 from the 2014-2012 years” thereon;  there’s an image with that caption.)

Separately, last June (2017) I ran across another $89M nonprofit operating in California, connecting us to the world (telecommunications -wise — “CENIC.org”) — from their visit to FamilyCourtMatters, i.e., my website (blog administrators have ability to view which browsers are visiting, and how often.  Corporations and government entities tend to have their own browsers named after the company.

Not knowing who it was, I then looked it up — an earlier 990 shows $77.5M gross assets; latest one from this website shows now it’s $89M, and the “Charitable Details” from the registry of charitable trusts show the pattern of growth since at least ca. FY2000 (entity was only formed in 1997):


CENIC (Corp. for Educ. Network in Calif.) & CITY OF HOPE:

Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California CA 2013* 990 31 $77,566,613.00 94-3289022

*Note: with any fiscal year end than “December 31” this column “YR” indicates previous fiscal year.

CENIC.org, IRS Form 990 FY2012, Gross receipts (see blue box, top right) $55M. Then look at the image of bottom half (same year, same tax return, Page 1) showing main source of revenues (program services, not contributions) and expenses (“other expenses”) which other parts of this return would better detail, all of which leads to more information on the entity. In addition the organization website declines to post any EIN# or financial statements, despite its major functional purpose being to service (“connect”) public (and private) member education (incl. PK_12 public schools and universities, incl. research university) institutions…

CENIC.org, FY2012, bottom part of Page 1, Summary.

(Link to entire return provided above; as it turns out, the summary on Page 1 is misleading in implying that its main revenues are from services.  Part VIII (line 2) shows that the largest number is from “Membership Dues/Assessments” which are actually a “Contribution” item — and the membership organizations tend to be public entities.  See also the Schedule A of Support for previous years where Line 1 there is characterized as including “Membership fees” and CENIC characterizes those fees, in that attached schedule, under “contributions.”   Meanwhile, among its main expenses are leasing circuits from others, etc.) while, that year, for example, pulling in a $4 million profit.  Just look at the different parts of the tax return…)

CENIC FY2012 Page 2, Program Service Accomplishments (described in very brief terms): compare $48.6M expenses to $52.0M revenues = ca.  $3.5M profit that year, for just one activity (Line 4a), which also matches Page 1 bottom, approximately).

CENIC FY2012 Pt VIII (Statement of Revenues) top. Line 1b, “Membership dues” is blank — but look at Line 2a. This is a major switch of category from contribution to “fees for services” style production of revenues. Why? (I’ve noticed this in several orgs.). Compare to its Schedule A of support (not shown, but link to the entire return is provided above) which breaks it down more traditionally.

CENIC FY2012 Pt IX (Statement of Expenses) bottom of page.  Look at lines 24a +b which alone are nearly half ALL expenses, raising interest in from whom (line 24a) it is leasing those circuits and passing along the cost to clients.  Those controlling the circuits, depending on the debt carried, are the financial beneficiaries of such major and consolidated operations, it seems.

…and that one of CENIC’s — in fact its only — “Auxiliary Associate” member, “City of Hope” focused on finding the cure for cancer, was as the “development corporation” of a number of entities (of which it’s the sole corporate member for all of them, representing — per its Consolidated Financial Statements — the “Affiliated Group,” in addition to a significant “Auxiliaries” — unincorporated associations throughout the country raising money for the cause) — in its California Office of Attorney General Charitable Details (and IRS Form 990) filings, is showing over $1 billion assets.

I posted these screenprints with more detail on the updated 2017 Table of Contents page.  For points of reference here below, the first is from a tax return, the other two from most recent posted (at its organization website) financial statements, Note #1, in two parts, defining who’s who whether City of Hope’s “Affiliated Group and its unnamed “Auxiliaries.  The Schedule R (not shown) from the tax return relates to those also mentioned in Note 1 as comprising the “Affiliated Group;” Schedule I of Grants and Other Assistance to Orgs., Gov’ts. and Individs (none here) in the US, shows that the sole and significant in size grants are going to its own three related entities.  Click any image to enlarge:

Hopefully this post will be interesting, informative, and I bet a bit entertaining, while I work another day on getting out some of the other ones also waiting, 85% or 95% complete, in draft from the month of September. (Several of these are now published….//LGH, Oct. 2.)

Size Still Matters — So, Who’s Got the Biggest (Most) Assets, Who Manages the Most of OTHERs’ Assets (AUM), How Much are Americans Bankrolling Both, or Should We Be Measuring Something Else, like Donations? [Started 8/24, Published 10//2017] (short-link ends “-7up”)

Also, when entities show up looking “needy” and calling for a hand-out, it may just be that they set up a back-door entity to store those assets separately, and prefer to keep collecting through both outlets.

Forbes’ 50 Largest Foundations 2016 and its #2 Charity: The Task Force for Global Health & Related /Similar Orgs. associated with Emory University in Georgia.


(The website doesn’t actually have much information.  I have tax returns below, and it comes up because a Forbes article listed this as second only in size (measured by non-government donations) to United Way Worldwide.  On noticing that its founder was Bill Foege, MD, MPH (the latter from Harvard) credited with ending the smallpox epidemic, and formerly at CDC, I also noticed this:

In 1984, Foege and several colleagues formed the Task Force for Child Survival, a working group for the World Health Organization, UNICEF, The World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Its success in accelerating childhood immunization led to an expansion of its mandate in 1991 to include other issues that diminish the quality of life for children.

(Images from the Carter Center (Expert profile of Wm. Foege)

“The Task Force for Child Survival” referenced in the image is a nonprofit (EIN#58-1698648) which in 2007 changed its name to “The Task Force for Global Health — after having in 2005 formed a related entity, “Global Health Solutions.” Forbes referenced the more recent entity, but the Task Force is the older one. I show tax returns for both below. There is a close relationship (it seems) with Emory University.

So this nonprofit is considered a “working group for the WHO, UNICEF, World Bank, UN Development Program, and the Rockefeller Foundation.” It’s working to eliminate parasitic diseases (river blindness, for one).



(Reviewing some tax returns before publishing this post):  The Carter Center, named after and founded by the famous US Presidential couple from Georgia, was started in 1981; while the Task Force for Global Health dates to just a few years later.  Emory University is the paymaster for The Carter Center, which is considered its affiliate.  Board of Trustee overlap between Carter Family (Jimmy and Rosalyn, a grandson, and two employees) and those appointed by them with Emory University President and Board of Trustees (and even one from University of California Board of Regents, I noticed in FY2014 at least).)

Carter Center tax returns look like this (screenprint followed by interactive table in the usual format for this blog, both from the same web page/Form 990finder search results):

The Carter Center recent Forms 990PF (check out Sched R Pt. III on any year)

Total Results: 3.  Search again:

Carter Center GA 2015 990 71 $705,391,619.00 58-1454716
Carter Center GA 2014 990 66 $672,737,759.00 58-1454716
Carter Center GA 2013 990 55 $583,945,118.00 58-1454716

EIN# 5814854716 for this entity. Sched R. Pt. III for The Carter Center, Inc. shows two entities in the UK (one a Foundation), and “The Carter Center Collaborative” in GA, EIN# 205704991, which I see was formed in 2006, has six board members, 0 employees and in one year I checked processed $108M (In-kind donations, medications, drugs — from just 5 contributors) and expended “on behalf of” (not as a grant to) the Carter Center Inc. (CCI, main entity) health programs, $126M as recorded on its Schedule F — all in “Sub-Saharan Africa.” It seems to exist mostly on paper, using the same website. That year (FY2012) the collaborative’s “deficit” for the year was $108M = $126M = ($18M). Meanwhile (Pt. X) its primary assets were those inventories, valued at as I recall around $25M (Beginning of Year) ~~> $7M (End of Yr) and $240K “other assets.” IT SEEMS TO ME that the Task Force for Global Solutions <~~> Global Health Solutions (split off about the same time, and in the same general area, with related personnel/history) is following the same general model of operations.  Maybe I’ll put some of the screenprints up on a related “Page” for this post.

Carter Center Inc. (CCI). EIN# 5814854716 for this entity. No big deal here — some Carter relatives working in the family (nonprofit) business.

(This is a single screenprint from The Carter Collaborative, Inc. (see above caption to Sched R Pt. III image for The Carter Center, Inc.):


[Next paragraph quoted near top of the post also:]


The post title, and this post, came from my feeling I should qualify the statement that the American Legacy Foundation (total gross assets around one billion, only formed in 1999, too) as being “monster-sized.”  Obviously, with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation being ten times its size (and involved in some of the same projects) — or a center under the CDC which involved a tobacco-cessation nonprofit I was writing about (because it was among the USDOJ Intervenors in the RICO Case against Phillip Morris et. al…) which referenced this nonprofit — that center’s 2016 budget was $1.17 Billion, I learned.

I went looking for other people who’d written up “largest tax-exempt foundation” points of reference, and found what you see here, including the phenomenal (over 10-fold in a dozen years) growth in donations for one which qualified as #2 in a Forbes list — only to realize Forbes had named the wrong group in describing its “in-kind” donations of drugs, and that a separate entity had been formed for shipping them overseas, strangely, at almost no cost whatsoever, if the tax returns are to be believed.  Meanwhile another group (National Council for Behavorial Health) had paid substantial subcontracting fees just to ship goods related to running “Mental Health First Aid®” around the US, that is, it paid the UPS…

I also found some figures that didn’t make sense internally (in the same #2 on the Forbes list) charity out of Decatur, Georgia, that is, Page 1 said one thing, and Page 2 said quite a different thing, within a single tax year.

So this has some overlap with my topic of interest, but is a “case in point” of consciousness raising about the whole “tax-exempt” field, including (first section here, briefly) those held in “Defined Contribution” plans such as retirement funds.  Otherwise, you’ll see a huge input from the drug companies….

No question money tends to flow to where it’ll be taxed less not more — and to justify this, a whole lot involves population control and alleviating some of the distress from not having enough personally preserved in the first place to avoid the special population designation of “low-income” alongside several other ethnic or sexual-orientation based categories designated, at any given point in time, for some federal social policy aimed at closing the achievement gap, equalizing health disparities, or (we are supposed to believe) wealth disparities — but doing it in the very system that helps maintain them in the first place.

We should learn to discern “mega” from “mini” from “medium” regardless of the cause addressed.

Taking the bait dangled from a “mini” organization (or mistaking a larger one for a “mini” simply based on its assets — when money is steadily flowing through the doors each year) could be hazardous to one’s economic health and cognitive integrity.  In the related post, I am illustrating how major organizations, and longer-standing ones involved in tobacco cessation, brought along just one (NAAPTN) as Intervenor, while NAAPTN maintains assets $0 (no matter how much CDC funding continues to flow out).

Meanwhile, the ALF (American Legacy Foundation ,now “Truth Initiative® Foundation) doesn’t have such huge donations — but maintains assets acquired (and at times lost) over just a single generation, starting with contributions from government grants, themselves received (??) from the tobacco settlements moneys.  I haven’t got that all figured out, but anyone could see the rapid change from a tax return dated 2002 to one dated 2015, which I show separately from this post.

ALL of this relates to the ever-expanding health function in the federal government as developed throughout the 1900s.

This is no “heavyweight,” post, just a few things to consider.  I removed it more for the vertical inches it took up than word counts, which is below 3,000 words.  The images, however, took up a lot of space, so I moved them here…//LGH 8-24-2017

Wikipedia has a 2016 list of the 37 largest charitable foundations in the world (but based on its net endowment, not total assets — footnotes show it was looking at their consolidated financial statements, not tax returns).  In this list, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was first, the Wellcome Trust in the UK, second, and RWJFoundation, 11th.

Another article discusses types of tax exempt organizations generally (including “the Roman Catholic Church” (religious), universities (Harvard’s endowment being the largest), business leagues (example:  The American Bar Association),  and even the YMCA, Goodwill, the NCAA, NFL, but not tax-exempt foundations generally. (“10 of the Richest Tax-exempt Foundations in the United States” 12/16/2014 in Listverse.com by Andrew Lisa).  While not everything it says seems to be true, or even clear, it’s helpful in at least reminding us of the categories of such tax-exemption and some of its history. The article seems geared more towards entertainment than education on the topic; it references several types of powerful and long-standing nonprofits we sometimes don’t think of in that category, my reason for referencing it here.

The overwhelming majority of these are called 501(c)(3) organizations, after the section of that IRS code that exempts them from taxation. The rules to achieve and maintain 501(c)(3) status—or any of the more than two dozen other 501 sub-statuses—are complicated and convoluted.## Generally, these organizations should not exist for the purpose of enriching themselves or their shareholders, they should not be political in nature, and they should be charitable or contribute to social welfare.

Many, however, are among the wealthiest organizations in the world and engage in far less charitable work than their counterparts in the private sector. ###


While this article doesn’t even bother to define “private sector,” the public sector in this country generally designates government entities; the private sector, corporations, businesses, associations that are by process of elimination in how they are formed (and other qualities unique to government, such as the ability to tax and duty of accountability to taxpayers) is what is not “public” even if it was created by an Act of Congress AS a nonprofit corporation (such as the CNCS).  [[I’ve posted this on the blog, quoting the US Census of Governments. So 501©3s are in the private sector.  So are 501©4s which are allowed to engage in political activity, etc.

What’s more, a so-called public charity vs. private foundation each file different forms:  Form 990 vs. Form 990PF, although either entity (?) be a “501©3” entity.  I’m not stating expertise in telling who must file which form, simply pointing out that both forms exist and the “PF” seems to represent “Private Foundation.”  Some of the largest ones around are in fact 990PF filers, not public charities.  Different information is solicited and reported on each.

Another Dec. 2016 list of largest charities by Forbes measures them by non-government amounts received (donations), NOT gross or net assets held. The list also excludes “DAF” charities (Donor-Advised Funds) which, admittedly and it says function as administrative holding-pens for other charities, with tax-exemption that can be claimed by the donor in the year donated to the DAF nonprofit, regardless of when the funds eventually reach the intended grantees. That section from the Forbes article:

The Largest U.S. Charities For 2016 12/14/2016 in Forbes, by William P. Barrett

…Significantly, we exclude from our list donor advised funds, or DAF. These organizations, some affiliated with financial service companies such as Fidelity, Schwab and Vanguard, are essentially tax-favored holding pens for future charitable gifts from individual donors. A taxpayer can claim a charitable itemized deduction in the year money is put into a DAF and then parcel the funds out to favorite charities (including, perhaps, some on our list) over many years.**  Contributions to DAFs rose to $22.6 billion in 2015. The largest DAF, Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, took in $4.6 billion, which actually is more than United Way collected. We choose not to include the larger DAFs because each is an administrative umbrella for thousands of individual donors in effect running their own quasi-foundations.

Some nonprofits on the Forbes list have substantial revenue other than donations. For instance, No. 18 on the list, Lutheran Services in America, the umbrella organization for several hundred Lutheran social service agencies, received $723 million in gifts but collected nearly $20 billion in fees. The Mayo Clinic brought in more than $9 billion in fees for services rendered.

Of the 100 charities, 18 reported paying some employee more than $1 million. The highest compensated chief executives were Delos M. Cosgrove, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, $4,195,251. He was followed by Steven J. Corwin of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, $4,591,728; Craig B. Thompson, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, $2,844,637; and Emily K. Rafferty, Metropolitan Museum of Art, $2,555,131.

Looks like all highest-compensated chief executives were associated with medical or hospital-related operations except for the very well-known Metropolitan Museum of Art.

DAF entities (I’ve read several tax returns from entities involved in this) often stipulate that the “advised” in “Donor-Advised-Funds” doesn’t indicate actual control — once donated, the holding entity makes the final decision, typically.  … (search for my earlier posts discussing “CFFPP” and “JustGiving.org” or “JustGive.org” as DAF operations).

Forbes 2016 Largest Charities (see article for how measured and excluded types such as large DAF foundations). Image #1 of 4

Forbes 2016 Largest Charities Image #2 of 4

Forbes 2016 Largest Charities Image #3 of 4

Forbes 2016 Largest Charities Image #4 of 4 (but not the whole list)

Several on this list (I marked) were taken “under the wing,” taken over, or otherwise highly encouraged by Albert & Mary Lasker and friends (American Cancer Society, Planned Parenthood, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, American Heart Association) and, several, as you can see, deal with health, and specifically the issue of cancer.

Also interesting — United Way Worldwide (Alexandria, VA) collects by workplace paycheck deduction (i.e., streamlined, privileged solicitation process); consists of 1,000 legally separate entities who control their own use of funds (that’s one way to become “the largest” — be the umbrella agency, but fiscally separate, from one’s networked nonprofits); and, says Forbes, outstripped the second on the list by over one-half billion, while the for that one in Decatur, GA, private donations were huge in part because they are in-kind, which also can tend to be “over-valued.”  For this one, the “in-kind” donations were drugs and vaccines…

No. 2: Task Force For Global Health. The Decatur, Ga.-based nonprofit, which sends donated medicines abroad, reported gifts received for its latest fiscal period of $3.15 billion. That’s nearly double the $1.61 billion of a year earlier thanks to increased gifts from some large drug companies. Donated goods, known as gift-in-kind, or GIK, are a legitimate form of charity, although they can be subject to inflated value issues.

Remaining No. 3 is Feeding America, the Chicago-rooted umbrella for hundreds of food banks around the country. It reported gifts–mainly donated food–of $2.15 billion, up 6% in a year.

Good grief, I just looked at No. 2 (for the “in-kind” contributions, for its latest year) which reported NO in-kind contributions where they would normally show up (Pt VIII, Line 1, Contributions), and which detailed descriptions on Page 2 (Program Service Accomplishments) reporting both expenses and revenues (meaning program service revenues, which would normally show up also on Pt. VIII Line 2) — and the total of these revenues closely matches the total of its expenses — but NO program service revenues — at all — are even mentioned on the Statement of Revenues (or Page 1, Summary).  Also, Page 2 references far fewer actual grants than does Page 1 or Pt. IX (statement of expenses).

It does show $15M of government and $35M of private grant (and references both CDC and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on page 2 as involved and helping sponsor).  Perhaps its highly-paid employees figured “revenues” on page 2 didn’t refer to those produced through its tax-exempt program service activities.  MOST of the grants (reported on Page 1 as $16M; the prior year it was only $6M) went overseas, and the few that stayed in the US not going directly to a state health department, the largest one went to an entity in Utah identified only by an acronym (and, fortunately, an EIN#).  It also is an “affiliate” of Emory University, with its employees on the university payroll it says, and has (per Schedule R Pt. II) just one related tax-exempt entity out of the same street address. I show both, below.

Most offensive to common sense — there is no endowment, there are no investments for producing dividends, and it’s reporting $43M held in savings out of its total over $50M Gross assets.  That is simply poor stewardship..


Total results: 3Search Again.

Task Force for Global Health GA 2015 990 58 $52,016,338.00 58-1698648
Task Force for Global Health GA 2014 990 43 $50,776,930.00 58-1698648
Task Force for Global Health GA 2013 990 52 $45,267,876.00 58-1698648

This smaller related entity I see had “gross receipts” of over $1 billion, so I gather its handling of investments is being “outsourced” possibly to attract less attention?  This one was only formed in 2005 (the other, in 1986).  This is the one receiving the donated medicines (and vaccines) and shipping them overseas — (1) from Merck, (2) from Pfizer, and (3) there is a “Center for Vaccine Equity.”  It doesn’t have employees, or any other costs than “bank charges” apparently, and its assets seen in the table below are classified as “other” and represent money due from the main entity.  As we can see, the Forbes article got the entity names wrong (i.e., mixed up).

Total results: 3Search Again.

Global Health Solutions GA 2015 990 42 $2,354,008.00 20-3674498
Global Health Solutions GA 2014 990 37 $2,354,303.00 20-3674498
Global Health Solutions GA 2013 990 39 $2,354,585.00 20-3674498

These figures just do not seem credible (next four images, two from each entity’s latest return; the ones marked in red are from the larger entity; those in blue, the one that had larger receipts (through donations of drugs and vaccines) but is showing lower total assets):

The Task Force for Global Health (now $55M gross assets — mostly held as was just shown in simply “Savings”) long ago was called something different (Up to 2006, or at least in 2006, it was called The Task Force for Child Survival, Inc.)

Here’s its FY2002 return showing that the total receipts were only $8 million. So what happened between 2002 and 2013, 2015 to so drastically expand operations, and in 2005 to form a new entity which the drug companies (or some significant donors anyhow) could donate to, valuing their own donations at will?

Anyhow, it’s rarely just one major organization at a time.  Related entities, and aligned entities are good to know.  In preparing to finish this post, I took a quick, but closer, look (as you see above) at the Carter Center, Inc. and its Carter Center Collaborative, Inc. – it seems reasonable that the practices might have been copied from each other.



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