Clawback recovery fundraising and organizational impact

Clawback recovery fundraising and organizational impact

Posted on April 21, 2014 by Michael Corley, consultant with The Patterson Foundation

In October I shared that The Patterson Foundation (TPF) shared would support the organizations in our region impacted by the Nadel Clawback Settlement. Since that time, the groups impacted by this decision -- including Jewish Family & Children's Service of the Suncoast Inc., Girls Inc., Diocese of Venice in Florida, and the Sarasota Opera -- have successfully engaged existing and new donors to raise enough money to receive almost $400,000 in TPF matching funds of the $640,000 available.  This is absolutely stunning given the short duration of the fundraising efforts (just four months) and the limited ramp-up time to prepare to fundraise.

While the money is benefitting the programs impacted by the settlement, the four organizations have also benefited from experience in ways unimagined.  I would like to share these in their own words:

Robin Rose, Executive Director of Girls Inc. Sarasota County

Girls Inc. has certainly benefitted from The Patterson Foundation's matching settlement in myriad ways.

1) The psychological benefit of having TPF publicly validate that we (and none of the other charities involved) caused or deserved this situation that distracted our focus away from our ability to deliver on our mission every single day, and impacted us financially as well.

2) TPF acknowledged the value that Girls Inc. and the other charities bring to our community through our social services.  Both of these issues really acted as a shot in the arm to support our healing process from this event that is helping us to move on.

3) Girls Inc. has benefited financially from this matching challenge so that we will be able to retire the debt sooner, which will support our ability to grow and serve more girls.

4) We have benefited by having some of our donors return to us through the matching challenge who did not give to us after the Nadel situation happened.

5) This matching challenge gave us the opportunity to review our donor acceptance policies and how we can prevent similar incidents in the future-- though, there is now a law that will prevent this from happening.

6) Finally, by being able to close out this situation, we retire an unfortunate part of our past so that we can confidently move into the future – that in itself is a breath of fresh air!

Rose Chapman, President and CEO, Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Suncoast Inc.

Our community has identified as a priority the safe housing and care of families and children at risk of homelessness. JFCS has been offering case management, emergency financial assistance and supportive wrap-around services to this at-risk population since 2003.

The  impact of the Nadel clawback directly affected the number of families JFCS could serve in its Building Strong Families Homeless Prevention Program. More than 100 families were forced on a waiting list for services due to the clawback.  Thanks to the generosity of donors and the special initiative of The Patterson Foundation, JFCS has been able to serve 40 families who were on our wait list and provide them with resources and safety-net services to help them become secure and achieve self sufficiency.

Richard Russell, Executive Director, Sarasota Opera

The Patterson Foundation's challenge and elimination of our Nadel clawback obligation are in some ways a milestone for Sarasota Opera. The past few years have had numerous challenges due to the anemic economic environment. Having to settle the clawback claim only intensified these challenges. The effect of these is that as an organization we have had to be consistently looking back and dealing with challenges from the past.

Closing the chapter on the clawback obligation, coupled with an improving economic climate, enables Sarasota Opera to begin looking forward. We are now planning for the future: new artistic initiatives, long-term plans to provide the company with the resources it needs for the future, and looking forward to growth.

One additional, unexpected side-effect of this TPF Challenge was the building of community. The announcement of the challenge immediately resulted in a flood of contributions to meet the challenge. Patrons who had never contributed to Sarasota Opera before, along with many long-time patrons, joined to help meet this goal. The broad-based commitment of our supporters surprised and heartened us.  It helped create a positive feeling among our donors -- that they were joining together to support an organization that they loved in a time of trouble.

All of this makes us encouraged and excited as we look to the future of this great organization.  For this we are truly grateful for The Patterson  Foundation’s vision and support.

Volodymyr Smeryk, Chancellor, Diocese of Venice in Florida

Parishes and entities within the Diocese of Venice have been negatively impacted by what is known as the Arthur Nadel Ponzi Scheme. Parishes could never have known the source of the donations received over several years were the result of the donor’s fraud within his investment company. The donations from the Nadel Foundation were spent for the purposes for which they were given.

As a result, “clawback” lawsuits ensued in which Mr. Nadel’s investors sought retribution for the money they lost. A settlement was reached where entities agreed to repay. This left the parishes and entities that received donations with a serious challenge and financial hardship.

Since the time of the settlement, The Patterson Foundation has generously offered to help. Through a match, they are offering to contribute up to half of the funds owed. The Patterson Foundation has this 1:1 match, up to the total amount owed, because they understand the value and the mission of the Diocese and its parishes and the great work they do for the poor and needy. With the assistance of The Patterson Foundation, we will move forward in continued service to God’s people.

In response to this challenge, the Church has reached out to its parishioners and friends and they have acted enthusiastically to relieve the parish of this burden. Through the generosity of the faithful, we will be able to move past these unfortunate events and keep focus on those who are the real victims throughout this ordeal: the poor. In addition to parishioners’ current contributions to their parishes, they have been asked to consider also giving to The Patterson Foundation's match opportunity. Every dollar that is taken from the parish in the settlement is a dollar that cannot be used to serve our community and the needy. Every dollar the faithful contribute to The Patterson Foundation's matching challenge, however, becomes two dollars that will ensure the basic needs of our brothers and sisters are met.

The positive outcome of the match by The Patterson Foundation is evident at those diocesan entities that are recipients of the match. In particular, St. Jude is one parish where the matching offer was received with great enthusiasm and gratitude. This parish does extensive work in its community to help the poor and needy – both physically and spiritually. Any extra financial responsibility, such as unexpected debt, causes a great strain to the parish and its outreach and programs. This is why St. Jude parishioners are excited about the match opportunity. It allows the parish to remain focused on their critical work of supporting those less fortunate. The incredible response from the faithful and their witness of the generosity toward others has been at the core of the funds raised.

Further, a very important benefit to St. Jude Church is the absence of worry over a huge debt that could last for a very long period. Notes that accompany the donations speak of gratitude to The Patterson Foundation for the opportunity to end this debt in a timely way and of their understanding that St. Jude was an innocent victim of the Nadel Ponzi scheme. The combined Anglo and Hispanic communities at St. Jude have demonstrated their integrated status by joining together and confronting the issue.

The philanthropy of The Patterson Foundation has been a further testimony to the institution that the foundation is.

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