SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Non-Profit Accountability
By Agnes Moran


May 29, 2008
Thursday PM

Non-profit organizations that are tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code are accountable to the public for how they generate and spend their funds. At a minimum, when requested, they are required to provide tax returns and copies of their letters of determination for nonprofit status along with the supporting documentation the organization used to prove to the IRS that they were qualified for 501( c)(3) status. (For more information see IRS publication 4221 Compliance Guide for 501( c)(3) Public Charities.) Ketchikan-Kanayama Exchange Inc is a 501(c)(3) qualified organization.

Most non-profit organizations are happy to provide the public with information about their policies and procedures beyond what the IRS requires that they disclose. For example, a quick web search of local non-profits including The Ketchikan Killer Whales, The Ketchikan Theater Ballet, The Ketchikan Dribblers League, The Ketchikan Youth Soccer League, showed that these organizations provide links to their policy manuals, league manuals, code of conduct, etc. on their web sites for all to see. These groups make a good faith effort to disclose what is expected of individuals that wish to participate in their organization. In this manner they are able to inform the public about their activities and show that they are using donations responsibly.

I find it very disturbing that a simple request for information by a parent on the policies and procedures used by the Kanayama organization to disqualify their child from the program has resulted in essentially a public character assassination of the child. I would have expected that the Kanayama organization would simply have had to point to their policy manual to explain their decision making process and the discussion is over. If further debate was necessarry it should have focused on the methodology used in the decision process and not the individuals involved. One is left to wonder if the group has any formal policies and procedures that they followed to support their decision. I have not been able to find any that are easily publically accessible.

I have no doubt that the Kanayama organization has benefitted some individuals in the community. There have been testimonials to this effect. Unfortunately, there are also many stories coming from families whose children were rejected at very late stages from the program and believe they were not given an adequate explanation as to why. (Please note that this is not a request for a another public inquisition.) It is hard to discern the truth about these situations when there is no easily accessible public information as to the requirements and expectations the Kanayama Organization levies on its members.

I have supported Kanayama in the past but in the future, I will concentrate my donations on organizations that provide public disclosure of their procedures and policies.

I can only hope that this child can someday find it in her heart to forgive these adults that have treated her so appallingly in such a public manner.

Agnes Moran
Ward Cove, AK

Received May 29, 2008 - Published May 29, 2008


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Ketchikan, Alaska