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Posts Tagged ‘Failure to ‘Fess Up (Orgs that don’t post their own financials!)

Q1, 2018 Posts and “You Are Here,” on my Blog. Meanwhile, WE are Here, Collectively. (Or, from ‘Hewers of Wood + Drawers of Water’ To Functionally and Financially Illiterate** Consumers of Information, Products, and Social Services). (Publ. April 19, 2018)

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Full Post Title:  Q1, 2018 Posts and “You Are Here,” on my Blog. Meanwhile, WE are Here, Collectively. (Or, From ‘Hewers of Wood + Drawers of Water’ To Functionally and Financially Illiterate** Consumers of Information, Products, and Social Services). (Publ. April 19, 2018) [Case-sensitive, WordPress-generated shortlink ends “-8X8” and this post ends after about 9,600 11,000 words, sections of which may be moved elsewhere to shorten it!] [The “Read-More” link will also, in time, be moved closer to the top, making for a shorter lead-in section.]

**Explained more below in this post, and in a typical post. No apologies for failing to sugar-coat the news. Or for long sentences in the next few indented paragraphs, summarizing my understanding and explaining that comment. With additional “show-and-tell” relating to the rest of this post (and blog).

In my experience, (far) too many people, as for generations most of us have been conditioned, whether or not holding any number of white-collar professional jobs, whether or not possessing sufficient understanding of running a business to handle themselves, whether employee or self-employed, not only lack the functional vocabulary — financial literacy — to even acquire an understanding of the intersection of public and private finances, or on government and taxation itself — but also are so emotionally and financially invested in what works — at least tolerably — for themselves — they do not really want to (will not to the point of continually “cannot”) understand something different, that is, a different assessment.  Indicators and symptoms that something odd, that an ongoing, major economic “black hole of non-accountability” exists are thus sidelined, dismissed, and/or ignored, as are people who may broach the topic and point to it.  These fainter, less “in your face” indicators in some ways could be called “the canaries in the coal mines.” i.e., ignore at your own risk.

I have of course stood in the “too many people” category above until shocked out of it (in the context of family court), but unlike some, that shock didn’t eradicate all my curiosity, or my healthy respect for the value of ongoing observation and assessment of current surroundings as survival traits (which I also know are best utilized BEFORE in “fight-or-flight” mode).

The literacy and information (including functional vocabulary and its use) on certain economic matters and the operations of government as it is versus as it is portrayed to the public is where “first come + mutually organized = first served” and the rest of the population will be allocated to useful, functional positions within society* as organized by those more aware of just what public resources actually exist [1], and how to access them for private profit [2].  *That these positions may not look exactly like what they did centuries ago doesn’t mean they’re still not symbolically “Hewers of water and drawers of wood.”


[1] Key to understanding this is whether the public has been told the truth regarding the bottom line of (particularly) the federal government, and based on that, the legitimacy of all systems of taxation portrayed as beneficial and necessary for example, to balance that budget.  Bottom lines whether of both government and private sectors are expressed not just in terms of annual or bi-annual budgets — but of financial statements. AUDITED ones. Looking at a single entity or just a few entities within a field (OR at public only or private only) is inadequate because public and private constantly interact with each other. Both sectors frequently change names, consolidate, spin off or (for government departments) set up new offices within existing departments, etc.

[2] There’s far less competition in fields mutually controlled by those who pioneered them.

(Example: See blog search phrase:  Harvard/Bain/Bridgspan (as a business model) and click on the “Why Bother to Unravel” post [2.1] (its concluding paras) on that search result (2nd search result after this post).’ I concocted that phrase during a drill-down involving all three. I had discovered “Bridgespan” as a subcontractor on another foundation’s tax returns.  My fabricated phrase refers generally to commandeering the profits in NONprofit consulting, and as a NONprofit, which takes collaboration with others also so inclined.  Notice “Bain” is associated with well-known public figure from Massachusetts (who also ran for President not too long ago).[3, with two associated images]  Notice that an elite, private university (in that aspect, HBS — Harvard Business School) is integral part of the phrase, as it is of that model. Better yet, spell “Bridgespan” correctly in the search and read (scroll down towards the bottom for that section) what I published last year (March 30, 2017): Omidyar Entities: The Harvard/Bain/Bridgespan Consulting Model (Transform and Help Run — or own — Distressed Assets, LIKE U.S. PUBLIC SCHOOLS), Rebranded, on Steroids, and Gone Global).

[2.1] Full title and image from top of “Why Bother to Unravel” post (publ. June 16, 2018):

Why Bother to Unravel…Link provided nearby or see blog “Archives” for 6/16/2018. Bottom section of this post also summarizes key concerns in a few paragraphs, regarding social service delivery in the private sector, and the tax-exempt sector in general (from an accountability standpoint — not from a “service-delivery” standpoint).

[3] Bain Execs Spent Nearly $5M on Romney’s White House Run, Records Show (Anne Faris-Rosen in Center for Public Integrity, 2/7/2012 (let’s call this “about six years ago.)  Mitt Romney and John Kerry both referenced, in the article, but the image (excerpt shown here) mentions  Bain Capital LLC and Bain & Co., the latter being a consulting company. Note the timeframes and that Bain & Co. formed in 1984, a decade which is ON my radar below as to LBOs and major Tax Reform, and within the following decade (1986-1996) and with (Tax Reform Act of 1986) organizing personnel and nonprofits in common, welfare reform, which brings up right up to “the elephant in the room” when discussing why family courts are so conflict-ridden and economically, socially and psychologically devastating for so many. Romney, it says below, had continuing passive income after the fourteen years he spent at Bain & Co.  Note Bain & Co. LLC also did those leveraged buyouts which (for some of the bought-out companies’ employees) resulted in job loss through the heavy (i.e., “leveraged” with debt) burden the resulting setup provided.

Image #2 of 2, excerpted from Bain Execs Spend Nearly $5M on Romney White House Runs (2/7/2012 in Center for Public Integrity)”Click image to enlarge

Image #1 of 2, excerpted from Bain Execs Spend Nearly $5M on Romney White House Runs (2/7/2012 in Center for Public Integrity)”Click image to enlarge

 

Along the way (and on most posts on this blog), you’ll see that I continue to name and profile (economically) many organizations directly associated with and set up to affect custody proceedings, child support decision-making, and of course, defining what is and (especially) is not “domestic violence” or “child abuse” and is better described instead as, “high-conflict.”  Most of these address how to problem-solve any assessed condition  — typically through more trainings (some qualified under CEU or for lawyers CLE credits), certifications, and guidelines for those in the (existing and as we speak, more being created) professions involved. MOST of which will be supported, up front, or once in operation long-term, by public funds.  

This time (not most times) the image is the link to article. Click to access. It’s a short read — Please Do! (from Atlanta Business Chronicle originally).

McKinsey & Company copies Bain (2014)

This section/illustration may be moved (or may not) later! I added to it where McKinsey, already a global consulting company (for decades) connects also to the US-based National Governors’ Association., and the significance of the NGA among other similar associations in setting policies which obviously will affect US citizens due to size, scope and major corporations involved. //LGH.

While I’m on “Harvard/Bain/Bridgespan (The Bridgespan Group)” — it’s no secret that Bridgespan was a spinoff of Bain and involves consulting for nonprofits with positive spin on the social impact (benefits of course are featured) of doing so.  


On basic Google search again, among plenty of results on the first page, one is Nonprofit Quarterly reporting that the big consulting firm (multi-national) McKinsey & Co. (which I featured as a “Corporate Fellow” to “National Governors Association Center for Best Practices,” a pay-to-play status), reported in March 2015 that it has copied the model and spun off its own nonprofit.


Click nearby image to read more (see esp. para.3), however this next quote from it specifically acknowledges the “Bain’s Bridgespan” model being circulated — obviously among powerful corporations whose profits, otherwise, would be taxed — considerably if they weren’t moving revenues from nonprofit to nonprofit for better “social impact” and to help economic mobility of retail-level entry workers (!).

If you explore this example further, that’s exactly what they’re talking about.

Someone has to work for all the corporations who have so many profits they have to pour excess into tax-exempt foundations.

If you read further (on this post) for example, on the background of people like Grover Norquist (active in pushing for Tax Reform Act of 1986, and after that, “Contract with America,” which so dramatically (but in the “background operating systems”) impacted judicial decision-making in America’s (meaning here, the USA’s) family courts, it becomes clear that businesses organize in response to tax laws so as to reduce their corporate taxes.

There seems to be a connection between Tax Reform Act of 1986 and “Welfare Reform” (major restructuring) of 1996.

McKinsey & Co. Starts its own version of Bain’s Bridgespan Rick Cohen, March 27, 2015 in Nonprofit Quarterly.

…Some portion of McKinsey’s thinking on nonprofits is contained in the McKinsey on Society website, where there are essays and research summaries addressing topics such as how poor school systems can become good school systems and, not surprisingly, extolling the potential of social impact bonds. In other words, as a global management consulting firm, McKinsey has had a nonprofit practice carried out by some of its 19,000 staff in over 100 offices in 61 countries.

This looks a little like Bain & Company’s creation of the Bridgespan Group in 1999. Bridgespan started out strongly with a $1 million grant from Bain plus several loaned staff. Like McKinsey, Bain & Company is a wealthy parent for its nonprofit consulting spinoff, with sales of around $2.1 billion.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy suggests that the McKinsey Social Initiative will start life with a $70 million capital infusion from McKinsey & Company plus access to 25 of its consultants to work on MSI projects and advice from 10 McKinsey partners …

Well, I just looked up the Form 990s and found it’s already (since 2014 origins) changed its name AND its website, and the one linked to on the 2015 report (which is neither) isn’t what the 2016 tax return shows (latest year shown on a separate database — NONE are shown on the website) (EIN# is 471073442).
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Who? (Besides Harvard, MIT and Other Boston-area Institutes) is Funding and Promoting/Soliciting for Personal Genomics (volunteer your personal, identifiable, genetic code for the PGP, a global database to be shared internationally) — GET Research (fine-tuning and equipping the Nature vs. Nurture debate) as Essential for Global Public Health? (publ. 7/31/17)

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Who? (besides Harvard, MIT and other Boston-based Institutes) is Funding and Promoting/Soliciting for Personal Genomics (volunteer your personal, identifiable, genetic code for a global database to be shared internationally) — GET Research (fine-tuning and equipping the Nature vs. Nurture debate) as Essential for Global Public Health Issue? (title’s short-link ends “-7m3”; published 7/31/2017)

[ “MIT” added to the title at some point, but not the internal record of the title.  With MIT’s involvement with both the Broad Institute (named on its corporate papers in MA) and the Whitehead Institute (which calls itself independent, but uses “MIT” in its website URL(!)), it’s “not just Harvard.”


Well, just the other day I learned more about one of the terms in the post title in the typical way — while updating one post, referring to one website in passing, I took a second, closer look at other parts of the website (“conferences” link), which revealed both the GET conferences and the name of a nonprofit sponsoring them. That’s how “GET” and “PersonalGenomes.org” came up to my attention.

So, in this post expect to hear about:

~|~ PgEd.org ~|~ PersonalGenomes.org/Open Humans Foundation ~|~  the GET conferences ~|~volunteer your personal genetics” solicitation as a recurring theme ~|~ (leaving aside the Broad Institute for a while) more on the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research (“Whitehead Institute”) ~|~ and Treatment Advocacy Center (“TAC”) associated with the Stanley Medical Research Institute (“SMRI”) ~|~ Which of the above have (as it applies) boards of director personnel, funders and/or it seems, well-coordinated purposes in common.

~|~ And several images + a table tax returns, because of their support of the Human (and “Personal”) Genome Project, the Coriell Institute for Medical Research (formed 1953, it says, in Camden, NJ). They provide the Biobank, cell lines (and more), funded by, currently it says, seven NIH awards.

I talk about and show some of their financials, and how at least one them went to special efforts NOT to show them, at least on the main website while promoting its cause, scientists, research, and outreach (and soliciting more support, preferably $10K at a time or more). I took a short enough (hopefully) look at the source of Whitehead wealth in the sale of the clinical diagnosis instrument company (“Technicon”) to Revlon in 1980, and what happened to Revlon not long after — because it’s interesting, and relevant.


When and Where? Of these, PersonalGenomes.org/Open Humans Foundation and The Whitehead Institute (“WI.MIT.edu) are in the Boston area (although one of their legal domiciles isn’t in MA but NC) and PgEd.org web page gives contact address at Harvard Medical School Dept. of Genetics (PgEd.org doesn’t appear to be a separate entity), SMRI is in Bethesda MD, TAC which SMRI supports, is in Arlington, Virginia, and the Coriell Institute in NJ (website + tax returns don’t match).

The oldest entity in the list (until I added Coriell to it!) seems to be the Whitehead Institute, (<= EIN#061043412, that’s a link to an older Form 990, which I’ll show below, at Nine Cambridge Center, Cambridge MA)(website says 455 Main now) started in, says its Form 990, 1982.  SMRI (per tax return) started in only 2001, and, which is interesting, the TAC, three years earlier, 1998.  Coriell started in the 1950s..

In this post, you will also hear about two more entities who have worked side-by-side for decades to shape government-sponsored research in particularly cancer (smoking cessation), heart disease, biomedical research into genetics, and to push for more and more NIH funding:  

~|~ Research! America (est. 1989), and ~|~ the Albert & Mary Lasker Foundation (it seems 1974)

Briefly, how they came up.

When the Whitehead Institute’s famous founder is looked at, and through basic Google search on my part (I didn’t know who he was…), this also brings up his participation/founding of Research! America (inc. 1989, a VA-based entity with a D.C. legal domicile — and apparently some legislators (or at least “Hon.’s”) on its board over time)*, with its push for doubling NIH funding for biomedical research in five years, and in general PR for BioMedical Research (incl. on stem cells) as a public and global health benefit.

I put that discussion (several annotated images from its timeline) towards the bottom of the post, but it will pull together, I believe other parts of the narrative in a timeline. The website gives a timeline of events, and shows how many other foundations (incl. Bill & Melinda Gates, Robert Wood Johnson, and others, and not a few Congressmen, were involved, and spinoff organizations (at least two 501©4s) in pulling this off.  Where I found this information was on a multi-page, all-text, highly linked (although some have expired) and detailed tracking of networked families, companies and foundations, especially related to the anti-smoking campaign (American Cancer Society), America Heart Association, and pushing money towards biomedical research.  I spent hours (in fact, a full work day just reading, not writing) looking at this after the first exposure nearly a week ago, when I looked at certain parts of it.

It challenges the paradigm — the public promoted website purposes– but in the process uses some volatile and at times offensive language (bilge, shucksters, Nazi fascism of the health system, pseudoscience and more), BUT it also resonates and as an interpretation makes sense with information outside the website, and my strong gut instinct that some things are drastically wrong with the overall picture.  It definitely got me looking further, and more understanding on previously covered topics, as well as on new ones.  I have a title (short version, long version) and a start on that write-up (post in draft status Now Published), at:

 

Much as I enjoy looking at the detailed and colorful photos of cells, or hearing about the discoveries in scientific fields, including genetics…and in part because of the prominence of the Whitehead Institute (and with it, Edwin C. Whitehead, his surviving son John, and other siblings till on the institute’s board of directors (Susan, Peter), I still feel responsible to bring up alternate views of both the above organizations, and their founders’ (and friends’) overall purposes, and how they achieved them.

* (by recall from review of the Research! America returns)

  • the Hon. Paul G. Rogers (d. 2008)
  • the Hon. John Edwards Porter
  • the Hon. Louis H. Sullivan
  • not to mention also former US Surgeon-General, C. Everett Koop.

About Whitehead Institute (pausing to note its website is at MIT):

Whitehead Institute is based at MIT,** but as a separate nonprofit; famous originally for its major contribution to the Human Genome Project.

**Notice MIT’s “About” page (READ!!) mentions the Human Genome project and CRISPR, also its summary of current initiatives and projects, and estimate of $1.9 trillion annual revenue generated by its alumni (over 130,000 — MIT started in 1861 –). That was a 2014 estimate. )

Current research and education areas include digital learning; nanotechnology; sustainable energy, the environment, climate adaptation, and global water and food security; Big Data, cybersecurity, robotics, and artificial intelligence; human health, including cancer, HIV, autism, Alzheimer’s, and dyslexia; biological engineering and CRISPR technology; poverty alleviation; advanced manufacturing; and innovation and entrepreneurship.)

So Whitehead Institute’s location within MIT as a free-standing 501©3 school is a very big deal!)

Another on-line source referencing Mr. Whitehead’s work mentioned the Albert & Mary Lasker Foundation (est, 1974?) as involved in some of the same politics and public health promotions (although around a different cause), so within the past few days, I was also looking at its website, board of directors, and you betcha, tax returns.


BLOGGING CONTEXT/TIMELINE ON THESE TOPICS:

Over time and two related (but not consecutive) FamilyCourtMatters.org posts I have shown several of these institutes’ (entities’) tax returns in table format, so people might see:  Total Assets, State, and (if they clicked through) on page 1 of any individual return, (for Form 990 filers, and only FY2008ff for them — Form 990PFs for private foundations don’t show this, or Form 990EZs…) a year of incorporation and related website if identified on the Form990’s header info.), and quickly (from page 1 summary) whether its main revenues were contributions, program services revenues, or something else (such as investment-related income, whether from dividends or sale of assets at a profit).  In general this locates any organization in time, space, characteristics and size, activities as told the IRS (not the public) including whether it bothered to follow IRS form instructions.  It also reveals if looked at further, or earlier returns are checked out, subcontractors, if there are grantees, related organizations, and where they are holding their assets.

The two related posts (I’ll link to these again further below, in the same format):


These are my most closely related recent posts: #1 posted 7/23 and updated 7/24-76:


With similar, multi-component title reflecting how many components (institutes, websites, elements) there are to these situations, although two university names continue to come into play: Harvard, and UCBerkeley,  #2, posted 6/18/2017:

Related post name and shortlink Speaking of Projects and Nonprofits Funded by The Broad Foundation…. How about The Broad Institute (and its role in waging Patent Wars over CRISPR (Gene Perturbation, RNA/DNA cutting-edge research) with UCBerkeley?)(case-sensitive short-link ending “-720” that “0” is a zero, not O as in “Ohio.”).  (Published 6/18/2017)

…..And of course, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Whitehead Institute

Just one of its tax returns gives several points of reference you won’t find on “Wikipedia,” or most likely analyzed on its own website. Patience, please! with a bit of tax return show-and-tell. These “factoids” shown from Forms 990 provide a series of good mental “memory tags” helpful in putting time, size and place on any organization points of comparison (like an “LCD,” lowest common denominator) relative to other institutes/nonprofits and its position relative to public funds.

  • Without objective, basic “quantifiable” points of comparison outside the self-descriptions on the websites, or personal knowledge (eyewitness) experiential information of the programming or professors, directors (etc.) of ALL members of the entities working the field, how can they be understood, outside of hearsay and PR? They are not “the whole story,” but they give all other stories a basic structure.  “Read my lips!  Read the 990s
  • WITH such points of comparison, there is at least a basis for conversation or discussions with people who may not share common experiences, or outside one’s professional niche/s or “expertise.” It’s a descriptivevital language (including vocabulary) for transmission of meaning across time and distance. It helps with categorization and understanding of reality — including the reality of public economic support of private infrastructure.  This language is apparently NOT meant for common understanding across the US population.  Instead, we are often given promotions and propaganda to justify public policy and the costs. (This point added post-publication during a review).
  • What’s in common with other for-profit industries working with the organizations towards a global or public health goal? For assembling any concept of who’s been doing what, and to a degree, how (financially) and under what cause (which any public (vs. private foundation) 501©3 must state as its program purpose, that is, reason for existing in the first place), getting to the tax returns before the website rhetoric cannot hurt.
  • One thing I also tend to notice on any “for the public good” organization website is how forthcoming is it about its own financials (especially the 990s) as opposed to advertising “G&S” (Goods & Services) and soliciting donations or participants, i.e., selling.

The Whitehead Institute hasn’t posted an annual report since FY2014 (I write in nearly August 2017) and not one Form 990 is shown.  Getting even to the Annual Reports is a reach, and there are no posted audited financial statements anywhere on the site, that I can see.   Look at the top and bottom of the home page; between this like a newspaper layout of awards or recognitions for its famous people involved or their accomplishments.  I have no problem with that — BUT not when financials are omitted, or even a reference to the EIN#.  Many organizations will post this — why doesn’t this one?

To show this, I’ve annotated the next two images from the top and the bottom of the main page, one from the donor form, and a single image from their magazine which “special” donors (who give from $2.5 – $10K) get.

The website has beautiful, colorful and intriguing images from their research, and plenty of their people also.  My annotations on the image obscure much of that.  If you want to see the vivid pictures without all my notations, go to the main website which is easy to remember:  WI.MIT.edu!

To ensure I wasn’t making a false claim either here, or on the annotations about the “MIA” financials, I went also again to the “Support” Page (another place sometimes an EIN# may be mentioned).  Of course I have their EIN# already, but the point here is, does the W.I. think it’s worth a token gesture or not?  That answer is:  “Not!”  Even a link labeled something like “Financials 2014” under that Support menu looks like a single page (fine print) from the Annual Report, with two piecharts and a list of personnel.  That is not the only place some of the labeling and statements are vague and misleading.

A good question might be:  If this is how the institute handles communications and solicitations — i.e., misleading statements and labels, missing information which the public deserves to know — how reliable is their scientific statements and information? (I have the same issue with more than one organization in the “~|~” -marked list, above). Of course, I have no scientific expertise to judge, or reason to suspect that the science behind this institute is less then stellar.  BUT, my other comments stand.  Its failure to divulge financials I believe is odd and inappropriate. Having looked at the tax returns already, I suspect that one motive might be not wishing the public who might donate more to comprehend just how much public financing is already involved. Its failure to provide CURRENT annual reports as well (at least) is also disrespectful, and the organizational history narratives, spread over many pages, are designed not to go very far in depth, and are notably absent backup links.  

I noticed this tone and quality on the website from the start; it bothered me knowing what level of diligence and detail must occur for the level of science (and technology) taking place both here, and at the prestigious MIT.  I think it is disrespectful overall, and smacks of arrogance and condescension — while I am, as who wouldn’t be, still interested in the discoveries and descriptions of those discoveries in the field.

This is NOT a valid format OR substance for presentation of significant financial information. Nor is any offer made how to contact the organization and get these.  Apparently, we’re not supposed to think about these things, but what a privilege it is to be involved, and support it out of pocket. The impact of this will be seen when (a) you look at the Whitehead Institute’s tax return (one provided below), and (b) when you read about Research! America’s push for doubling that NIH funding within five years (said to have been achieved by 2003). It’s entirely fair, when being solicited in conditions like this, and honest, for any U.S. citizen to say, “I already gave at the office!” because we did!

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Written by Let's Get Honest

July 31, 2017 at 9:01 pm

Posted in 1996 TANF PRWORA (cat. added 11/2011)

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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

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