When Nonprofits Go Bad

With the massive economic downturn from 2007 to today, we have seen the greedy underbelly of American capitalism from Wall Street on a daily basis. We have been assualted with the massive tax payer bailouts (whether you think them of good or bad) of billion dollar companies, worried about “golden parachutes”, and corporate negliance that has effected more than profit (see Toyota’s recall and the BP Oil Spill).

In the nonprofit sector, we are also suspect to the failures of humanity, with greed and criminal acts affecting our work. People outside of the sector might believe those who work in nonprofits are all hippie, liberal, goody goody two-shoes, and we never have to worry about the rotten apples.

But the New York Times recently published an article on the Brook…I mean Los Angeles Dodgers’ flat out greed from the Dodgers Dream Foundation. The team’s VP for Public Affairs, Howard Sunkin, was paid $400,000 for his 40-hour work weeks in 2007. The Dodgers Foundation is “a nonprofit charity whose mission is to serve the educational and athletic needs of children and is supported by donations from the public.”

Now lots of nonprofits pay their CEOs or staff in charge of operations this type of money, and espicially in large cities like Los Angeles. However, what is not normal is the fact the Foundation only brought in $1.6 million dollars.  So that is almost 25% of the entire foundation, dedicated to children, going to one man. That is enough to almost put it on the Top 10 Worst Charities List of low-rated organizations.

To make matters even worse is that most officials that work within baseball’s nonprofit foundations, are uncompensated. Yet, greed or negligence of the organization allowed for this outrageous compensation to continue. All of these foundations do great things for their local communities, with St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Tampa Bay having robust community outreach.

Even in the nonprofit world of organizations that wish to do good for others, for those who cannot fight the battles themselves, the flaws of man. Greed, inequality, negligence . As a nonprofit professional, you are not safe from these things even in a field dedicated to eradicating them.

I love baseball. I love nonprofits. This field would be my dream career to be engaged in. I was personally devastated to see a sport that has crawled back to truly being America’s past-time being represented in the Times like this. But for every time we fall, we have to stand right back up for what nonprofits are truly about.

Luckily, there are not plenty of other examples of when nonprofits go bad. But when they happen, they do irreversible damage to the brand and ideals nonprofits stand for. So, be warned.

5 thoughts on “When Nonprofits Go Bad

  1. cwepeducation says:

    Unfortuantely, so many nonprofits have put a black spot on the sector. But luckily, foundations that sports players (baseball too) support are still doing a lot of good. I knwo Ryan Howard’s foundation has been pretty active, and outside of that, eveyr eagle contributes in some fashion to nonprofits that assist children. Try to see some of the good in us!

  2. nickdicolandrea says:

    No worries CWEP Education! There is plenty of good in the nonprofit baseball sector. I see plenty of great things from so many teams and players, I was not trying to lump them all in one basket. My point was as a general warning to everyone in the field that no specific area is safe from the bad eggs.

    Thanks for reading and commenting! Always nice to see new faces!

  3. Kristen E Jeffers says:

    I agree, sadly, this is going on a lot it seems with sports and other celebrity charities, too much is spent on overhead. I think there is hope. For every organization that is misusing money, plenty more are giving even more back than they did before the financial crisis.


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