I have been involved with SafeSpace for a number of years, first as a volunteer and then as a board member. The agency provides much-needed services to victims of domestic violence, and is the only certified agency on the Treasure Coast. As a certified agency, we are subject to annual audits by state agencies for finances as well as programs. SafeSpace is considered a model agency within the state, and has pioneered the program for women without dependent children to get back on their feet. In addition to the state's audit, we have an outside accounting firm conduct an annual audit of our finances. The accounting firm's audit and recommendations are brought before the full board of directors for review. After the review, the board votes on whether to accept the audit; in the last five or so years that I have been on the board, no discrepancies were found, the recommendations were accepted, and the audit was approved. It has been gratifying to talk to agency participants and hear how SafeSpace has saved and changed their lives.
I am shocked and find the review by the Oct. 24, 2016 "Writer" beyond belief. I have been a volunteer for several years as well as past chair of the Friends of SafeSpace, Martin County, and I'm currently on the Board. My husband also volunteered as "The Maintenance Dept" until he passed away. I know the compassion for the victims and their children shown by the Administration, Board, and Associates, as well as the volunteers who assist in raising funds for SafeSpace. How could annual audits, United Way and Guidestar possibly be wrong in their findings? Why has this person turned against SafeSpace? I find the review so insulting to the many dedicated folks who bring such needed help to people in need. Joan C. Smith
I first became familiar with SafeSpace, its staff and its mission, as the chairman of a United Way Citizen Review Panel. “CRPs” are committees made up of generally a dozen or so community volunteers who review United Way funded entities. The review is thorough, including the agency’s adherence to their mission and vision statements, their pledged and achieved measurable outcomes, and an in-depth analysis of the agency’s audited financial statements. Audits are conducted by independent CPA firms skilled in reviewing and analyzing the statements of 501C3 non-profit organizations. Any discrepancies or practices outside the norms of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles would be noted in a “management letter.” I can state that, during the couple of occasions in which I chaired the UW CRPs that reviewed SafeSpace’s applications, no management letter expressing concern about financial management practices or prudent stewardship of resources was ever offered. Additionally, our panels considered issues such as executive salaries, travel and training budgets, and other budget line items that might be subject to abuse. We found no evidence that these budgets were inflated to provide additional perks for staff. In fact, we found these quite in line with other not-for-profits in our area. It is worth noting that SafeSpace has received Agency Excellence Awards from two local United Ways – a signature recognition considering the many worthy organizations in our area.
I was so impressed with SafeSpace that, when my term as a member of the United Way Board of Directors came to an end, I was pleased and honored to be approached by the SafeSpace Board Chair to consider serving on their board of directors. I readily agreed, had the privilege of serving for several years, and in my final board year had the honor of serving as board chair myself. I am proud of SafeSpace, the extraordinary work that is done by staff on all levels, and, most especially, of the immense positive impact that the organization has on the lives of the many vulnerable victims that we have the sacred responsibility to serve.
We at SafeSpace take our work seriously. It is much more than work, it is a calling and it has affected many of us personally. SafeSpace works with over 1000 victims every year and we speak with well over 2000 on our 24/7 Hotline. Anonymous postings like the previous review are difficult in that we cannot address the issues directly, since we have no idea what exactly the concerns are or where they are coming from. I can only say that if the person was a Board Member as they indicated, they made a commitment to oversee and protect the organization against fiduciary irresponsibility. If in fact, they had concerns about ANY corrupt activities the organization was engaged in, it was their responsibility to report it and help oversee and deal with it, not resign.
We welcome any feedback, positive or negative from employees, volunteers, Board Members, Donors, or concerned citizens. Constructive information helps us to be the best and provide the best, for the most vulnerable people in life or death situations. If anyone has knowledge of any corrupt actions within the organization, it is truly my wish as the CEO, that they will inform the proper officials so that this can be investigated and dealt with.
SafeSpace has earned Platinum level on Guidestar, something that requires the highest degree of transparency in terms of our financials, and practices. If interested in looking at the abundance of information about the practices of SafeSpace please go to the following Guidestar link https://www.guidestar.org/profile/59-1983994
Many thanks to ALL the SafeSpace employees, Board Members, volunteers and donors who work tirelessly on behalf of victims of domestic violence and their children on the Treasure Coast. YOU make SafeSpace a truly "GREAT nonprofit"!
I worked at this agency for many years. Once I became aware of the tactics in which the money and funding from philanthropist and others was dispersed, I resigned. It took several years for me to come to the conclusion of these facts I discovered. The money goes to the top and the victims/poor women and children at the bottom get whats left. This is a long and drawn out complex system for which the agency conducts itself with many players involved. I would not recommend donating to Safespace until the people at the top are replaced. It's very sad, the way Safespace works, but reality is, it's corrupt.