Let's Get Honest! Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?' (See March 23 & 5, 2014). More Than 745 posts and 45 pages of Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

NYC’s largest anti-poverty organization (so it says) appropriates for its name a well-known 15th century British legend about a 12th century outlaw of noble character, a name preserved by Hollywood and a parade of famous actors for about a century– a name, like many iconic “handles,” often translated into business models (incl. “Anti-Poverty” ones) hoping to absorb some of the glamour, reputed compassion for commoners, and, in general, virtue. Such names are for positive PR connotations, and organizations adopting them, like this one, ALWAYS deserve a Closer Look, especially in this 21stC. I have been….

leave a comment »


Two related posts (both named just below) were on hold for some months in Q1 2018 while I restructured blog home page, added some tables of content posts (for Q4, 2017, actually) and posted on more current events, and how “Community Development” as “expanded Real Estate Development” was expanding government costs and concentration, while placing many assets directly in the hands of private investors who needed low-income populations to test their behavioral modification and social science theories upon, globally.

Having worked so hard on this blog, I then visited Twitter after a very long break and saw ongoing questions that a more consistent reading of (at least) this blog with its many links to supporting information on nonprofits and the professionals (attracting parental complaints) who tend to set up and populate them would’ve answered and took some moments to Tweet and reply to some I’d been included in.   Here’s a link to a recent Tweet” (3/18/2018, username there is @LetUsGetHonest) with three attached images re: reunification camps [another December, 2017, blog theme] also my chance to practice that new (to me) technique) with, I think, very well-annotated exhibits on some of the same.  Some deal with equine therapy treatments and the “aftercare” models so the reunification indoctrination sticks better post-experience.  So perhaps it’s appropriate to say regarding the nine-year span this month of investigative blogging and consistent and ongoing acquisition of more in-depth insight through administering (and writing all posts on) this blog  you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him (or her) drink,” of people who just can’t be bothered to personally tangle with this scope of information.

And, “oh boy!” do these posts elucidate just how globally such demonstrations are, some programs (and software applications) originating (which by now should not be surprising) out of Harvard, MIT, and a new center at Rutgers University, typically with a variety of creatively named and name-changing nonprofits reflecting the global intents, and justification for continued control of major assets under multiple corporate names by anyone BUT the people whose wages help create them, while those subcontracting or otherwise collaborating as employees  with those who have great, innovative ideas (for example, getting MORE people on as many public benefits as fast as possible, digitally) participate in the “fees for friends” and “trickle-down” business of consolidating federal funding across all the various agency “silos.”

Except this intro, post is mostly intact as written. I’ll add tags soon….//LGH March 18, 2018.

Post Title: NYC’s largest anti-poverty organization (so it says) appropriates for its name a well-known 15th century British legend about a 12th century outlaw of noble character, a name preserved by Hollywood and a parade of famous actors for about a century– a name like many iconic “handles” often translated into business models (incl. “Anti-Poverty” ones) — hoping to absorb some of the glamour, reputed compassion for commoners, and in general, virtue. of this well-known hero. Such names are taken for the PR connotations and ALWAYS deserve A Closer Look, especially in this 21stC. I have been…. (case-sensitive shortlink ends “-8NN.” Moved here Dec. 8, 2017, being published March 18, 2018(!), still under 8,000 words)


Short version of that information?  This post exists to preview my upcoming (but previously written) Robin Hood Foundation post*** which just about wrote itself as I summarized the information and thought about the significance of the situation which had gripped my attention for several days.  Previously written, moved here.

***RHF post title and link, still in draft as of this writing, Dec. 4, 2017 [and at March 18, 2018] refers to:


That long title took some explaining, resulting in this post.

[This “Pep talk” section added after the move, I’ll mark where it ends]:

Please remember when I explain certain levels of detail on single (or single groups of) organization, it is still “show and tell” mode.

Many transferable principles (practices) can be seen in operation across different organizations, including organizations following even vastly different stated purposes.  Seeing these principles (common practices) also builds for the person looking IF he or she consistently fact-checks my statements, as I intend people should, transferable skills which, put into practice, build at least three valuable things:

(1) An growing and ongoing awareness that there are many and significant other places to look for information often not on an organization’s  [or university center’s] on-line advertising website,** and how to access them on-line and many, for free –**which term applies even if it’s a public-supported one and not soliciting donations — the websites still justify the existence and funding of the organization, and promotes the involved personnel (lead staff, boards of directors, etc.), and provide a story line to pull it together, while helping out friendly organizations through mutual referrals and mentions, i.e., “our funders” pages…), which once become familiar, is “communicable.”  And I do hope readers will acquire a “communicable awareness” which becomes contagious –others, by association, might get a case of it too.

(1a) With exposure over time, acknowledgement that the organization and functionality of these various places changes over time, does not easily compare across jurisdictions (when it comes to state-level registries), and


(1b) How flawed (not to mention, how consistently accompanied by disclaimers) and time-limited (how far back it goes) and these various databases are.  By “flaws” I mean both fields available on which to sort, and regarding lack of style consistency (i.e., quality enforcers to) the data input into them.


(1c) Some sites provided pdf images which show what appears to be hand-stamps (i.e., personal handling) and signed or show official seals (Secretary of State, Attorney-General’s Office, or, for example, with tax returns, received by the IRS, at which office), others don’t even show that level of detail, while at the state level, an emphasis on electronic filing occurs, bypassing human interaction and, it seems, screening.  Some websites (such as Arizona’s comes to mind) provided the pdfs in “barely-visible” font, etc.


(1d) given the distance between actual registered document, or an image of it, and user search input forms,  (unless the process is somehow truly automated and flawless) data entry errors or OCR (Optical Character Reading/ scanning process) affecting search accuracy (or flexibility) can occur at any level of search:  first results, second level leading to a summary page (for states or agencies that even have them), or anything which is not actually the document itself, but extracting information from it for display.

1a, b, c and d are important for acknowledging what is NOT there — reliably consistent and functional for the public (not just for grantseekers, grantwriters, or foundations seeking grantees) information about the commerce done (for-profit or not-for-profit) within individual (U.S.A.) states, across state to D.C. to territorial jurisdictions, and of course internationally.

(2) In the process an ongoing mental database and familiarity with/awareness of some of the key influences (translation:  major foundations, significant geographically-focused nonprofits they sponsor, and related government entities — not to mention key universities, private (esp.) and public); and

(3) Better 3D vision  – comprehension — while reading major media headlines, including to what is NOT being reported when the experts are quoted or key policies or organizations featured.

Of course people who never get to “fact-checking” or testing what I’m saying on, for example, some organization of more personal interest to the reader — don’t expect better comprehension. You’re probably content with hearsay mode from both MSM and my blogging and don’t value highly enough getting to the point of understanding if either one is consistently lying, or censoring information, which one it is.  In such case, I’d guess that may indicate satisfaction with the self-declared “thought-leaders” and acceptance of (their) designation of YOU as passive consumer, i.e., thought-follower.  That characterization of course doesn’t apply to people who are already experts in finance, investments, accounting, and helping their friends, colleagues and clients continue to raise funds, build resumes, and publish endlessly, with no real conscience about using everyone not in this class for (a) a financial resource (tax receipts, remember?) and (b) appropriate subject matter for increasingly sophisticated behavioral modification test subjects, individually and en masse.

If that characterization offends you, wait for the next three posts:  One, “The Money Maze” (where I moved this one from) on the Giffords Gun control lobby  incl. four or five “Americans for Responsible Solutions” entities, with the Super PAC started by recently deceased (through suicide, using a gun) megadonor Steven “Hurricane” Mostyn (and some on the much smaller foundation people are encouraged to support for a memorial, “Mostyn Moreno Education Fund” or similar name); Two, this post, and Three, the RHF post identified to just above which this one exists to preview.  In addition, I am finding the “facilitating” nonprofits (GiveWell, GiveDirectly, Good Ventures, Open Philanthropy Project, etc.) and yet more nonprofits (“Ideas42.org” with previous name “Behavioral Lab, Inc.” (or similar –details coming up) and its previous Harvard connection, although the two-cofounders of that MA entity with a NY address are now associated with MIT and Princeton…

So I do not believe readers’ time who may not be particularly interested in a New York anti-poverty organization with Ivy League university connections (when professors’ CVs are also considered, and in this one, a related university “center”) is really wasted time.

[End of “Pep talk” section added after the move]


The title I’m previewing, again:


I’ve split the explanation (of that long post title!) into three parts* (each labeled in blue) (*and this short preview — four more paragraphs [I numbered them <Para.1,2,3,4>] and one quote — leading up to those three named parts labeled in blue). The first part …(“Disregarded Entities…Ponzi Scheme”) raises some questions which aren’t fully answered yet but regardless of Yes/No answers as to RHF involvement, the possibility still demonstrates that the most important information about any organization (especially tax-exempt foundations, including those classified as public charities like RHF) even when truthful still cannot be found on an organization website, or considering even its charitable projects and benefits. Only by actually looking at the other evidence can whether it, or the charitable events and website “About Us/History” is more relevant to WHO the organization is, and what its agenda is individually, or collectively with other like-minded organizations and people!

<Para.1>The picture is always incomplete without an eye to the assets and connections to other wealth-building activities and where/how/if this also relates to the leadership’s outside activities.  RHF dates to (as I recall) about 1989, so it’s had time to develop those, form related entities, and buy and sell investments over time. RHF calls itself the “largest anti-poverty organization in New York City and is consciously looking to export its model practices further abroad (certainly at least nationally), yet they do not even post their own Forms 990 as I recall. The chosen popular folklore name also is associated with radical do-good activities and as though going after the perpetrators (those with stockpiled wealth) to help the exploited victims (the poor).  Whether it fits or not might bear a closer look, and if not, then the name could or should be considered an attempt to throw others off-track when tracking the “macroeconomics”of the organization and whom it networks with.  (Famous actors who have played Robin Hood in film (LA Times 2010 recounts (May 12, 2010, Susan King)* about the time a Russell Crowe version was coming out).  Not counting the animated, musical or comedic versions, also includes:  Errol Flynn, Douglas Fairbanks, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner). Said the LA Times article, though the setting was 12th century, the earliest ballads recounting it weren’t until 15th and 16th centuries:

*The legend of Robin Hood is firmly entrenched in British folklore — an archer and swordsman who, with his band of merry men, robbed from the rich and gave to the poor during the early 12th century in Nottinghamshire’s Sherwood Forest. Originally portrayed as a commoner, Robin’s image changed so that he was later thought of as a nobleman who lost his lands and was cast out as an outlaw. …The earliest surviving ballads telling his story are dated to the 15th century or early 16th century.

<Para.2> When, and what cost, will we learn that corporate names can be mis-leading, and that there’s always more than one angle to what’s considered charitable organizations?  Even the best of them operate in a field which is vast, uncharted, and fast-growing, and whose collective economic impact is unknown and cannot be fathomed even in legitimate cross-sections within slice of time. One reason why: the potential for so many related entities per 501©3 (or ©4 or © 6 — that is, per entity), and lack of shareholder oversight because a nonprofit is by definition non-stock issuing.  But any nonprofit with assets can invest them in a variety of other companies (Public traded, private-traded, other investments, other assets are all categories shown in a standard IRS Form 990 Pt X Balance Sheet), and it can contract independently with all types of companies (private, public, or other tax-exempts, and corporations or LLCs  — and/or overseas companies according to their home country’s regulations), donate to other tax-exempts and government, take government grants (in essence, redistributing public funds), and likewise donate to a variety of other organizations (although most often it’s other tax-exempt private entities and/or government entities).  And, let’s talk universities — these donations to, investments in, subcontracting with university to serve the organization or vice versa, often come with professors or associate professors (whose careers have many times involved major grants from public, and/or private foundations; and universities in the USA also span the public and private sectors, and when private mostly as nonprofits often with their own companion or attached foundations(!!).  Some are organized at the state level and supported by people within the state, and typically commandeer significant institutional funds which can (“Go back to Square One”) be invested in a variety of vehicles both domestic AND off-shore, and employ many. … Also, leadership (board of directors, etc.) any public charity (501©3-filing corporation) leadership must declare “interested persons transactions” and business or family relationships — but simply having them is not prohibited.

<Para. 3> It can also have related tax-exempt (sister-organizations), and fiscally independent but obviously involved chapters or members which pay for the privilege using the company name, logo, and/or trademarked services.   I’ve showed this over time as a “nationalizing” strategy with NAMI, Coalition of Essential Schools and others — where a database search of similarly named entities produces results labeled by geography, whether state, county, or even national region.  This is a known and effective PR tactic because it spreads any name [names embody concepts and typically come with graphics to match] far and fast while putting limits (boundaries) on financial liability.  It’s done by the political Right and by the political Left and those inbetween. What’s recorded less often — how many of those are “flash-in-the-pan” (short-lived) entities or “0 assets” still processing revenues. Looking more closely at these variations and related involvements/investments when considering any organization typically turns on far more lights (comprehension) than awareness of the main program service activities, and often puts the promoted activities in an entirely different light –clearer focus — also.

<Para. 4> So here, whether or not the person caught in a Ponzi scheme involving entities named “Robin Hood”____ or “Robinhood”____ actually included the disregarded entity associated with the Robin Hood Foundation, it does show that it’s what’s inside that matters.  If anything, choice of terrifically beneficial and public-spirited foundation names — where not simply named after their founding families: Rockefeller, Ford, MacArthur, Annie E. Casey, Soros, Hewlett (of Hewlett-Packard), the Broads (Eli & Edythe Broad, rhymes with “road” not “odd,” although some of their entities and funded nonprofit relationships have been the latter, as I posted in (probably) 2016), etc.), Gates, Clinton, and so forth) — can be intentionally misleading.

RHF Title below first part (“Disregarded Entities…Ponzi Scheme”) explained: In the case of RHF, another set of “entanglements” made more sense to me once I saw who was involved (early board chair was hedge fund whiz and investor Stanley Druckenmiller, also known for his involvement, alongside Geoffrey Canada, in the “Harlem Children’s Zone,”) but even so, it looks like an identified Ponzi scheme involving similarly-named entities should be either confirmed or confirmed as “no-connection.” I discovered the Ponzi scheme only by looking for a related/disregarded (Form 990, “Schedule R” designations) entity mentioned on an RHF tax return which had not “LLC” attached to its name — but earlier versions did.

RHF Title below second part (“SingleStop USA”) explained: SingleStop USA, though I haven’t finished looking at it, seems features a related software attempting to get as many people as possible in the USA signed up for as many benefits as possible in a streamlined (i.e., centralized processing) fashion.  And, presently, there seems at least $3M of unaccounted for money between grants from RHF and acknowledge receipts by Single Stop.  Reasonable person will ask why, and also whether this has any connection to RHF’s decision to just not mention “Single Stop” in favor of “ImpactMatters” when both are closely associated with RHF, and in fact Michael Weinstein (see next part) is its current Chairman and has been on the board for a while.

For the record, this organization is growing, while “ImpactMatters” barely registers a tax return so far and has a conflict of corporate registration information (two different states seem to claim it as “domestic,” in two different years, as I recall off-hand (that is shown on the upcoming RHF post).  I established research folders (primarily imaged reviews of the tax returns) for this one and ImpactMatters, and in an ideal world with an ideal schedule, I want to know more about the underlying Single Stop USA software, who created it, and to whom it is proprietary. (USPTO.gov would be one place to look). (Judging by Initial Return (FY2007, YE Dec 2007), (<== entire return from “990finder”) this is probably “Self-Sufficiency Solutions, LLC” in Brooklyn, which was paid $76.5K for development.  This was characterized under “Other expenses” however as simply “Calculator Development”).

Single Stop USA (initial return FY2007) shows $825K grants. Elsewhere on this return, and apparently not included in that amount, is $224K of “donated services or use of facilities.” and specific mention made of RHF’s commitment to funding.

Single Stop USA (initial return FY2007) only one “independent contractor (Self-Sufficiency Solutions, LLC) paid over $50K, based in Brooklyn.

Single Stop USA (initial return FY2007), description of grantee monitoring?

I tend to look up street addresses, sometimes.  So, for Self-Sufficiency Solutions (at least as of 2007 — may not be current address), 484 11th Street, Brooklyn,  is a nice-looking multifamily home (see several photos here, “Agorafy”), over 2000sf which sold for $2M in 2016 (Realtor.com says, that’s about 58% higher than average for the area) and is now worth about $2.5M (and possibly now a single-family, two-story + basement setup) in a nice area. (actually, CityData.com says 2 condos at the address, first built in 1901). Current owner, a multimedia journalist working for the NYT (Degree from Columbia)

(Realtor.com®) Property Overview – 484 11th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215 is a multi family home built in 1901. This property was last sold for $2,050,000 in 2016 and currently has an estimated value of $2,544,000. The median sales price for the Park Slope area is $1,242,500. The $2,544,000 estimated value is 58.80% greater than the median listing price of $1,602,000 for the Park Slope area.

According to the Brooklyn public records, the property at 484 11th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215 has approximately 2,256 square feet, with a lot size of 1,667 square feet. Nearby schools include P.S.10 Magnet School for Math, Science & Design Technology, Park Slope Collegiate School and Secondary School For Law. Comparable nearby homes for sale include 449 7th St and 176 8th St.


USPTO Trademark Search for “Benefit Kitchen” showed only this one, registered 2015, first used in business 2014, owner Self-Sufficiency Solutions, LLC. (Click image to enlarge). Searched 12/8/2017

Self-Sufficiency Solutions (per the website SSCALC.org) is now called “Benefit Kitchen” and is redesigning the software for mobile phone use, more accessible for (poor people), from the ground up.  The LLC was only formed in 2004, the name change per NYS entities search happened in 2016. I quickly looked up the trademark “Benefit Kitchen” which was filed only in 2015, with registrant (former name) Self-Sufficiency Solutions, at a NY PO box.

Well, “Self-Sufficiency Solutions” is sort of a long name… and we liked “Benefit Kitchen” better.

But the real reason for the change is that the digital divide has closed (according to Pew 90-95% of low-income families have access to the internet via a smartphone). And the lower a family’s income, the more likely they’ll use a mobile device as their primary means of accessing the internet. We decided to rebuild the Self-Sufficiency Calculator from the ground up with mobile devices as our first priority.

At the same time, we built a tool that is caseworker-friendly and has a built in client-management and data-tracking system. Best of all, this client-facing tool allows families to begin a screening, but connect with a caseworker later.
Give it a try: download it for iOS and Android or visit in a standard phone or desktop browser https://app.BenefitKitchen.com
Our Self-Sufficiency Calculator and Database subscribers can still access their systems. However, we’re transitioning our clients over to Benefit Kitchen as we expand into new states. If you’d like to become a client or if you have questions, contact us via the Benefit Kitchen site.

More from the same website still shows a NY contact address, for general idea, and acknowledges RHF as an early partner.  Reminder (see RHF Post title) I found RHF claiming it had donated $11.6M to “Single Stop” in a year when the latter’s tax return only acknowledged a total (not “from RHF” only) of only $8.3M.  The listing wasn’t “approved for the future” but under “paid for current year.” and was the largest grant (as I recall, or one of the largest) to anyone that year, too.

 

Total results: 3Search Again.

ORGANIZATION NAME ST YR FORM PP TOTAL ASSETS EIN
Single Stop USA NY 2015 990 65 $17,268,591.00 20-8837690
Single Stop USA NY 2014 990 108 $16,138,246.00 20-8837690
Single Stop USA NY 2013 990 35 $13,262,098.00 20-8837690

(The extra details on Self-Sufficiency Solutions (creator Melanie Lavelle)) and Single Stop USA tax returns, added post-move).

RHF Title third part (“ImpactMatters”) explained: Not to mention, as title reflects and you’ll see once I publish this post also, the Robin Hood Foundation website, in acknowledging a (departing) long-term and apparently prominent (previously directed a center at the CFR/Council of Foreign Relations) employee (Chief Program Director Michael Weinstein) (<==click on his name under the SingleStop USA board members list) mentions just one of two spinoff nonprofits he was either chairman, or on the board of (SingleStop USA + ImpactMatters, f/k/a/ EvidenceAudit).  That, and those two spinoff entities’ IRS + corporate footprints are a bit of a multi-state maze, which just doesn’t seem accidental.  ImpactMatters, which was featured on the RHF website (after I searched for his name) announcing 5 new board members and management changes) in connection with departing chief program officer of 14 years, Michael Weinstein.  <==Notice also the language (adjectives — poverty-fighters, life-saving, trail-blazing, etc.) and the point made the plan to take (no doubt proprietary) “rigorous metrics” created at RHF global.  Translation: “metrics” means, establishing a means of measuring impact of social interventions on certain outcomes — i.e., justifying using certain interventions as a business model for the nonprofit sector.


 

Not mentioned on the various sites, really: that this isn’t exactly a new idea, and how many millions of dollars of public funds have already been poured into similar practices through other organizations (not to mention also the IPA, only around since 2002) yet, amazingly, we still have poverty around the globe (and in the USA)…..

(After list of the 5 new board members and their primary affiliations) “We’re thrilled that we’ve successfully recruited such an outstanding cross-section of poverty-fighters, education advocates, academics and caring leaders. These five trailblazers will help us continue Robin Hood’s life-saving and life-changing work alleviating poverty and providing pathways to independence for our neighbors in New York and beyond,” said Larry Robbins, the newly elected chair of Robin Hood’s board and chief executive officer of Glenview Capital Management. “Our collaboration with these national leaders reinforces our objective of using our long-term investment in fighting poverty in New York City to create a national conversation and export successful interventions and programs to those in need throughout the United States.”

MANAGEMENT CHANGES

Robin Hood also announced that Michael Weinstein, the organization’s chief program officer of 14 years, will be leaving the organization in March to become the executive director of Impact Matters, a global impact assessment charity. In his new role, Michael will help charities around the world implement the rigorous metrics he created at Robin Hood.

“While we will miss Michael as our respected colleague, we’re extremely proud that his creation and leadership of Impact Matters is yet another example of the commitment of our team to elevate the efficacy of poverty-fighting organizations on a national and global scale. Robin Hood and our neighbors in New York City will forever benefit from his innovations and insights,” said Robbins.

Emary Aronson, a critical member of Robin Hood for nearly two decades, will serve as acting chief program officer. Alongside Weinstein, Aronson has been the driving force behind Robin Hood’s grant making process. In addition to overseeing the organization’s education program, she has led both the 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy Relief Funds

However Impactm.org (once I found the website) says it had a previous fiscal agent nonprofit “IPA” (Innovations for Poverty Action/Dean Karlan (“bridging the gap between academia and development”; started as a center at MIT in 2002?), which I saw was taking in about $35M government contributions in a single year (see image, an excerpt from IPA’s FY2015 Form 990 Statement of Revenues (Pt. VIII), below) but which returns made no particular mention of ImpactMatters as a project.  Also, another link provided in a philanthropy announcement of the same position for Weinstein, called Dean Karlan, not Weinstein, as the founder of “Impact matters”(see “We’re hiring a Research Director” image, below).

Dean Karlan, founder of IPA called founder of ImpactMatters (elsewhere Michael Weinstein formerly of RHF, was characterized as Executive Director, but having developed the metrics it uses at RHF)

IPA, EIN#06-1660068,FY2015 Pt. VIII Revenues showing $35.6M of total $39.1M Contributions (and 0 program service revenues) was “gov’t grants.”

IPA’s “Dean Karlan in his early years, in Latin America”

(…from IPA’s “about/history page“) — it started in NJ under a different name….

IPA was first known as Development Innovations and started in New Jersey. Dean’s graduate advisors agreed to join him on the board of the new organization. In 2003, Banerjee, Duflo, and Mullainathan [his graduate advisors at MIT, says previous paragraph] started MIT’s Poverty Action Lab (now the Abdul Lateef Jameel Poverty Action Lab, or J-PAL), a center at MIT and a network of like-minded researchers from around the world. From the beginning, the two organizations*** were set up to work closely together and continue to promote a shared vision to this day. Development Innovations officially changed to Innovations for Poverty Action in order to show the closely-linked vision of the two organizations.

Rapid Growth of RCT’s and IPA IPA soon moved to New Haven and grew quickly

The last “IPA soon moved” statement is misleading.  All entities can have an “entity address” in one state but a legal domicile, where it’s considered a “domestic” corporation (or company) in ONLY one state at a time.  The summary simply reported a change of business address. IPA has filed IRS Forms 990, and they still show legal domicile, New Jersey.  Don’t be misled by half-expressed truths.  AGAIN:  A corporate (including any nonprofit) HQ or business address =/= a 1:1 match with its legal domicile.  Legal domiciles are chosen for favorable business conditions, or specific purposes, not haphazardly.  I’m sure this is also true of “Innovations for Poverty Action.”  A link from the NJ Treasury Dept (dated only  July 2014) goes to “Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services” if you want to take a closer look or conduct an “Business Standing Certificates, Entity, Trade Name or Trade/Service Mark” search: https://www.njportal.com/DOR/businessrecords/

Notably, the NJ Corporations database is less “revealing” than other states (including Connecticut’s).  Once you get a single line of information (search results) there is no click for any further level of details — for free, that is, so another fees-based service of the State of NJ seems to be coughing up anything but the barest basics on any organization.  No list of officers, founding document images, or record of annual reports (if they are even required, I DNK) showing compliance or non-compliance.  (Compare to, for example:  sunbiz.org for Florida, or Connecticut’s) (where, incidentally, I don’t see it registered.  Or, incidentally, any version of “Abdul Lateef Jameel Poverty Action Lab (or “J-PAL” but that’s another part of this story…). This situation MAY have been why NJ was chosen as a state of incorporation, despite its founders known connections to Connecticut…Connecticut also doesn’t allow search by principals, officers, or registered agents.  Just (like California) Business name, or Business Entity, or Filing Number, all of which are helpful to people who already have that information (accurately) and “not so much” for those who don’t, or for organizations featuring their “dbas” (trade, vs. legal, names) on their websites.

IPA NJ Division of Revenues registration showing current name and filing date (2002) + entity# ONLY…

See also recent posts (and a page, the one on Simple Charity Registration) referencing James Brooks Dill, the Corporation Trust Company (first established 1892), and the influence of, specifically, early (pre-income tax; pre-1910 when J. B. Dill (1854-1910) died) revisions to New Jersey as aiding major trusts and corporations get around the anti-trust sentiment AND laws (the Sherman Act) of the time, essentially, making it easier (for fees) to have a professionalized registered agent in any state, but not actually doing business in that state.

… IPA is the largest implementer of randomized evaluations in the international development field, combining rigorous evaluation design with high quality research implementation. IPA’s growth and successes have come about as others working to combat poverty have both embraced evidence to inform program and policy design and broadly accepted randomized evaluations as the gold standard

**IS “J-PAL” the povertyactionlab.org” center at MIT actually an “organization“?  I already know that IPA is; it’s tax returns have been found.  (This came up before in my blogging, let’s remember, with the Broad Institute at MIT, or — similar but not the same — AISR (Annenberg Institute for School Reform) at Brown.  Only a look-up OFFSITE MIT would tell for sure. That link certainly doesn’t, nor does the website it links to at MIT.  However notice the similar domain names:  povertyaction.org for the organization “Innovations for Poverty Action” or “IPA” for short, and “povertyactionLAB.org” for “J-PAL,” very much an abbreviation of the “Abdul Latif Jameel PAL (Poverty Action Lab) at MIT…”

Banerjee of J-PAL at MIT (from CV)

Banerjee of J-PAL at MIT (from CV). The 4th area of interest (bottom edge) reads “Macroeconomics.”

Three graduate advisors at MIT were mentioned.  I looked up the CV and bio blurb (at MIT) of just the first one, Dr. BanerJee, and noticed that throughout several pages of publications, co-author included “Duflo.”

RCTs stands for “Randomized Controlled Trials.” Described from the (posted on that website) most recent Public Copy Form 990 (FY2016) EIN#06-1660068, “founded 2002, in which $10.9M of total $38M grants were labeled “government,” I see that similar concepts are being tested and have been for years, across the USA and on low-income, welfare recipients, noncustodial fathers and other populations assisted over the years by nonprofits like MDRC (since 1974, joint funding at start up from the Ford Foundation and several federal agencies) conducting evaluations of program impact.  **(I first started looking at MDRC (until 2003 it was “Manpower Development and Research Corporation”) because of its involvement in framing the profession of fatherhood interventions to test whether increasing noncustodial fathers’ involvement in their families motivated them to do better on child support payments.  it’s had many website facelifts meanwhile, each with more moving images, colorful photos, larger print (and less information).

MDRC a well-heeled organization, and its latest home page slide-show is indeed impressive.  Here are just two banners out of several; notice, the theme is human behavioral change: what makes it tick (applied across the spectrum…).  They just wanna improve poor-people’s lives (while, through participating in the drainage of public funds into private hands, ensure enough low-income population are  kept around for (endless) future population research studies…):

MDRC — prioritizing pictures over words while running social science R&D, tax-exempt, since the 1970s.

MDRC Overview (abstracts, surrounded by more images) Created in 1974 by the Ford Foundation and a group of federal agencies, MDRC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan education and social policy research organization dedicated to learning what works to improve programs and policies that affect the poor.  MDRC is best known for mounting large-scale demonstrations and evaluations of real-world policies and programs targeted to low-income people. We helped pioneer the use of random assignment — the same highly reliable methodology used to test new medicines — in our evaluations. From welfare policy to high school reform, MDRC’s work has helped to shape legislation, program design, and operational practices across the country. Working in fields where emotion and ideology often dominate public debates, MDRC is a source of objective, unbiased evidence about cost-effective solutions that can be replicated and expanded to scale.

Essentially:

“YES, let’s turn the poor of the USA AND globally into a manufactured, human product, according to the best scientific practices (which preserve the caste distinction between the classes experimenting — and who funds them — and those experimented upon — and what they must themselves fund every time they go to work for minimum, survival level, or below that, wages)…..”

DOES MDRC post its Forms 990 or even reveal its EIN#? No, silly — of course not!  It does, however, under “Financials” (Look long enough and you’ll find the link as a sub-menu) after its own colorful piecharts, post a single link to just one single external audited financial statement.

From even that, however, anyone can see by the numbers that the primary source of “Operating Revenues” is government grants, and the secondary, previously held assets reclassified as “unrestricted.”  First, from Note 12 (page 17, bottom) admission which federal agencies paid it the most in 2016 and 2015:

Support from the U.S. federal government represented approximately 80% and 60% of MDRC’s total revenues and support in 2016 and 2015, respectively, of which the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education represented 50% and 29%, respectively, of federal government support for 2016 and 54% and 26%, respectively, of federal government support for 2015.

MDRC more recent tax returns (feel free to click through and see, for example, that among the top 5 of 37 listed independent contractors (Part VIIB, about p.8 bottom or so) for most recent year — the top five were being paid $9M, $2M, $1M, and in what categories.  I’m footnoting the MDRC tax return table and some excerpts from FY2015’s.  Look for “_____Footnote About MDRC, But Not From  its Website_______” below on this post..

And from an image, the absolute $$ numbers (classified by Federal, NYC, Foundations, “Released from restrictions,” etc.)

MDRC Statemt of Activities (Rev Sources, Expense Classifications) interesting, but avoids specific details any Form 990 would show..

I knew that IPA was paralleling (if not simply copying, applying it primarily OUTside the USA, and repackaging it as “innovative”) MDRC’s basic concepts and business model just from reading the description above, but detail from its (IPA’s) tax return, plus $33M out of $40M total expenses (and majority of overseas reported “offices” and “employees” (424) just happens to be in sub-Saharan Africa.  Even down to the attempt to parallel terms used in the medical field (such as “RCTs” for “randomized controlled trials”). Perhaps the world’s testing ground for social services and (you name it):  [[For: more quotes, Form 990 excerpts, and my wonderful commentary on this organization on image annotations, captions, or inbetween (or all three), SEE FOOTNOTE (on this post): IPA, RCT’s New Name for Old Practices: Social Science/Economic (human behavioral modification) R&D conducted for profit, at public expense, through nonprofit vehicles, and especially in sub-Saharan Africa ]]

It really should not be this hard to follow the nonprofit sector!! “There oughter be a law” about self-presentation for nonprofits and some regulations about default IRS electronic filing formats!! There should be minimum font-size (visible to the naked eye!) and form completion standards (no more 1 grantee/page when there are more than a dozen, no presenting millions of dollars of grants or dozens of grantees in  “size of grant order” rather than alpha by name, or by state, etc.), and program service accomplishment sections should (1) USE the form provided and (2) follow the form’s instructions when reporting expenses “including grants.” [See FOOTNOTE:  Forms 990/990PF LGH Complaints, at bottom of this post. “LGH” refers to the blogger (username) “Let’s Get Honest.” That’s me, the only blog administrator.]

That it is so tangled and impenetrable shows, I believe, that overall, it was not intended to be taken seriously as a fully functional system with administrative oversight enough to document the public benefit with which tax-exempt status is supposed to correspond. And I say that whether it represents before OR after the digital age, Internet revolution, and the availability of electronic filing of business or charitable reports, not to mention tax returns.

Again:  We (sic) put a man on the moon, and have amazing scientific discoveries and technologies facilitating them — all the time! — yet somehow, NO ONE could or did conceive of how to provide functional warehouses and accessible libraries of nonprofits large and small crossing even state lines within the USA, and extending back before (for the most part) the year 1999 or 2000??  When the Internet was around a decade or two before? And NO ONE could or did see in advance how this would play out in real time?

Why are databases, such as are available to the public (1) free and (2) without upfront having to cough up personally identifying information, not designed for user functionality with predictable types of searches that public might wish to utilize, cross-sector?  Whoever provides the TAGGS.HHS.Gov database, for example, and reformatted the user interface, actually removed the ability to search by EIN#, one of the few reliable identifiers around when there is already no consistent “style chart” enforceable for data entry? Or why wouldn’t the California Office of Attorney General-run Registry of Charitable Trusts (OAG/RCT) in displaying its first-level search results, including at least the Identification “Entity#” corresponding to the Secretary of State (which is one of only TWO possible search filters useable on the SOS database?).  You can, literally, search the OAG RCT  by Entity# and it does display in the second-level “Details” but not on the first level.

The US Department of Justice website (while I’m on this topic) doesn’t even have something comparable to the dysfunctional and unreliable — but still loaded with data — TAGGS.HHS.Gov.  It’s a “no-brainer” to provide this information in at least halfway useable form IF the purpose were transparency and accountability– but that isn’t happening.

I have to deduce they were just not considered important enough.


Footnote: IPA, RCT’s New Name for Old Practices: Social Science/Economic (human behavioral modification) R&D conducted for profit, at public expense, through nonprofit vehicles, and especially in sub-Saharan Africa ]

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH TOP RESEARCHERS IN THE FIELD, WE DESIGN AND IMPLEMENT RANDOMIZED EVALUATIONS TO MEASURE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF PROGRAMS AND POLICIES AIMED AT HELPING THE POOR. WE SPECIALIZE IN RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIALS (RCTS) BECAUSE THIS RIGOROUS METHODOLOGY, CONSIDERED THE GOLD STANDARD OF IMPACT EVALUATION DESIGN, ALLOWS US TO ISOLATE THE EFFECTS OF A PROGRAM FROM OTHER FACTORS. LIKE IN MEDICAL TRIALS, RESEARCHERS ASSIGN PARTICIPANTS AT RANDOM TO DIFFERENT STUDY GROUPS. ONE OR MORE GROUPS RECEIVE A PROGRAM (THE “TREATMENT GROUPS”) AND ANOTHER GROUP SERVES AS THE COMPARISON (OR “CONTROL”) GROUP.


IPA EVALUATIONS DO NOT SIMPLY GIVE A PASSING OR FAILING GRADE TO PROGRAMS, BUT RATHER SEEK TO UNCOVER AND DISENTANGLE CAUSAL MECHANISMS AND DETERMINE WHICH ADJUSTMENTS WILL MAKE A PROGRAM MORE EFFECTIVE.

Here’s: Pg.1 (in two images), Pt VIII (Revenues) and the Schedule F showing activities outside the USA (and grants there also).  I also included for reference (after mentioning it), FY2015’s Pt. VIII which did show mostly gov’t grants.  FY2016 by contrast showed majority ($38M+) private funding and just under $11M gov’t.  That’s odd…

Pg1 Bottom, FY2016, entity “IPA” asking a few pointed questions how the negative bottom line was maintained. To answer in part, the main portion of liabilities is simply Pt. X Line 19, “Deferred revenue.” There was also “other Liabilities” which the supporting Sched. D. showed was simply a $1.2M “Line of Credit.” These are not “Notes,” mortgages, it seems, but optional ways of handling their own accounting.

FY2016 Pg1 TOP: Not bad — this entity increased its contributions by $10M in a single year. No other significant revenue source is shown….

FY2016 Pt. VIII Revenues for IPA. (Compare to FY2015 image nearby showing diff’t amt from Gov’t grants).

IPA, FY2016 Sched F. Most ($33.3M) overseas expenditures are in sub-Saharan Africa. Out of total expenses this year of $44.9M, that shows priority (cf. to Mid-East + Northern Africa, blue oval)..

 

IPA FY2015 Pt. VIII Revenues showing $35.6M was gov’t grants, as I’d recalled earlier.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_________Footnote About MDRC, But Not From  its Website_____________

MDRC more recent tax returns (feel free to click through and see, for example, that among the top 5 of 37 listed independent contractors (Part VIIB, about p.8 bottom or so) for most recent year — the top five were being paid $9M, $2M, $1M, and in what categories.

Or, as the Part VIIA (Directors, Officers, Trustees listing with salaries) that it opted for “see additional table” thus putting, for example, Gordon Berlin’s half-million-dollar compensation (and others also well over $200K, $300K a year, section total compensation (not incl. benefits) $3M) it really IS profitable to professionalize and privatize problem-solving for poor people — if you’re on the right side, as a problem-solver, and not the “problem” which is people whose wages are typically NOT tax-exempt, like this corporation’s is, and so attract less direct donations, than donations to tax-exempt foundations who will then run tests on how to change the poor people’s behavior as a solution to their poverty… Sure:

Search Again  <==Reader Note/url Technicality.*

New look and URL, BEFORE click on tiny “More Search Options” arrow  just above orange “SEARCH” button for more fields (like EIN#)!! [“990 Finder Widget This (pretty precisely) dates URL redirect by FoundationCenter to Diff’t User Interface. Must use DropDown menu to access other options (such as EIN#)]

After click on dropdown “More Search Options” arrow just above orange SEARCH button (see other image) for more fields (like EIN#) and ZIP now display [“990 Finder Widget…Diff’t User Interface….]WHY IT MATTERS: Names are so often wrong on this database! Use EIN#, although occasionally even a filing entity will get it wrong by a # also.

*This link “990finder. foundationcenter.org” still redirects, but has very recently (while this post was in draft status and by early March, 2018) been restructured to a different search page, “http://foundation center.org/ find-funding/990-finder” (with no spaces in the url)(on which one must click to “More Search Options” within the widget to even display the field “EIN#” for search).  Obviously the emphasis is also different, from finding the tax returns to finding funding.  The phrase “990” is de-emphasized.I hope this doesn’t invalidate the MANY (probably thousands, herein, and perhaps millions, on the Foundation Center’s own records) access to the links show fing tax returns which forms a major basis of much of this blog!  Just goes to show how tenuous is basic public access to IMPORTANT information about who is doing which business, where, in the country and possibly right next door where any of us live.The color scheme shown below approximates a much earlier version of 990finder (for multi-year consistency within my own blogs and to distinguish it from other databases I often reference) (i.e., primarily California Registry of Charitable Trusts, with its light-blue and gray colors). I also just happen to like it…. (Comment added 3/18/2018).
ORGANIZATION NAME ST YR FORM PP TOTAL ASSETS EIN
MDRC NY 2015 990 68 $121,599,657.00 23-7379473
MDRC NY 2014 990 103 $135,809,694.00 23-7379473
MDRC NY 2013 990 142 $103,145,080.00 23-7379473

Images from FY2015 make a few points about why, perhaps, MDRC chose NOT to post its Forms 990 on their website.  A closer look raises a number of questions about the existence, purpose, and operations of this organization, particularly showing in more specific detail TO WHOM the (that year) $54M of direct government grants (of which the FS has admitted most came from HHS) is being redistributed, whether for-profit independent subcontractors at the multi-million-dollar level, AND (though lesser amounts, still several million dollars) where, in general, their largest grants are going — which is to other government entities (whether a school district, a county, a housing authority (which is part of government), or I saw a full $1M direct to “State of Illinois” without much detail on why, or what for, or which part of that state.  NONE of them were labeled “Gov” as they should be in this section, which makes this less immediately visible or discernible to the casual viewer….

MDRC (Form 990 FY2015) Bottom of Pt IX (Statemt of Expenses) showing $26M of $92M that year (only!) went to “Subcontractors.”

How is it possible to sell $24M of securities for only $7K profit? If that’s the profit, then why sell them in the first place?

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

martinplaut

Journalist specialising in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa

Let's Get Honest! Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?' (See March 23 & 5, 2014). More Than 745 posts and 45 pages of Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

Red Herring Alert

There's something fishy going on!

The American Spring Network

News. by the people, for the people. The #1 source for independent investigative journalism in the Show-Me State, serving Missouri since 2011.

Family Court Injustice

It Takes "Just Us" to Fight Family Court Injustice

The Espresso Stalinist

Wake Up to the Smell of Class Struggle ☭

Spiritual Side of Domestic Violence

Finally! The Truth About Domestic Violence and The Church

%d bloggers like this: