My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for The Organization For Transformative Works Inc, New York, NY, USA
As a former board member, I cannot recommend donating at this time. While the purpose is good, the financial transparency leaves a great deal to be desired. It does not seem possible to get any kind of statement from the Treasurer or present or past board members as to whether board members have been "reimbursed" for expenses, including travel, hotel, conference registrations, or professional opportunities and development that benefit the board members rather than the organization. While it's possible those abuses have not occurred, requests for information have been met by the Treasurer with either "I am not legally required to disclose that," "You do not have fiduciary responsibility anymore," or "I don't know." While it's true that it is not legally required to state whether or not board members are junketing and attending conferences on the organization's money, refusal to disclose whether this happens is a red flag.
Additionally, there are no policies in place to prevent board members from traveling on the organization's money, or for receiving "reimbursements" of any amount. There also have been extremely inadequate policies regarding the number of hours volunteers can work, including one notorious example where a volunteer who has a developmental disability was working more than sixty hours per week without pay doing coding -- a skilled professional job for which she surely should have been paid. While there is now a policy stating that volunteers can't work more than full time, the reporting and training on these policies are weak, and the same volunteer coordinator (and at the time founding board member) who oversaw that volunteer remains in charge of the same operations with the same oversight authority.
Also concerningly, there is a lack of financial transparency regarding expenses in general. Tens of thousands of dollars are reported as "program expenses" with no breakdown as to what they are. Given that the organization has no physical office and no staff, and is an all volunteer organization that supposedly has no physical property except some servers, how nearly $70,000 can be "program expenses" is baffling.
Therefore, despite a very promising beginning, I can't recommend this organization to donors because of its very questionable leadership.