Friends of Lulu Empowerment Fund Response
I was questioning the status of the Friends of Lulu Empowerment Fund, so I sent a query to the Board of Directors of the group.
(Actually, I sent an email to the general “email@example.com” address listed on their Contact Us page, only to get back a form notice that that address is being “phased out” and to contact board members directly. So I did. I figure their website is overdue for or in the middle of an upgrade, because the FAQ link prominently featured in their Welcome paragraph on the front page is also broken.)
My email said:
Could you please provide an official statement on the status of the Empowerment Fund? How much money has it collected? Have any of the funds been disbursed, and if so, how much and to whom?
Here’s the response:
The Empowerment Fund was spearheaded by Ronee Bourgeois. As she is no longer on the Board of Directors at Friends of Lulu, we are working to delegate what were her tasks to appropriate board members. Until we have the paper trail transitioned, the distribution of funds is on hold.
This only answers some of my questions, of course, and I’ve emailed again as follows:
When do you expect to have the transition completed? Do you expect to release a statement at that time? Until then, what is the status of the funds received?
I also inquired as to their 501(c)3 status (tax-exempt charitable organization), because they are not listed at the official IRS site. There are some possible explanations for that, though. Some types of donees may not be listed, including “public charities whose annual gross receipts are normally not more than $5,000” and “organizations that are required to file annual returns, but have not done so for two years (extensions of time to file considered) before the last update to the Publication 78 data”.
Because you mentioned it, I got curious, and with regard to FoL’s 501(c)(3) status, for what it’s worth, according to the information to be had for free via http://www.GuideStar.org (a resource for researching non-profits), FoL is a 501(c)3 Public Charity, but is not required to file an annual return with the IRS because “its income is less than $25,000.”
That thresshold figure is, of course, different from what you see on the IRS site, but regardless, it certainly seems plausible that FoL’s absence from certain official lists has to do with their size, and indeed, shouldn’t be taken as indicative of anything more than that.
(There are apparenlty levels of GuideStar membership that’ll allow you to access more details, but I haven’t paid for them. But perhaps there’s more info out there to be had…)
Thank you! I was hoping a reader would know more about the details than I did. I appreciate the research.
Thank you, Johanna, for keeping an eye out. I think it’s wonderful that a charitable organization for women in comics is also being held accountable by the community itself. I hope that the fund is able to find it’s feet once again, and enquiries like this could be seen as a form of encouragement that we eagerly anticipate hearing their plans of action. :)
Until we have the paper trail transitioned? The hell? Interesting that we still don’t know in exactly which bank account the donated money is currently sitting. It seems like an easy question to answer.
Lisa, they may not want to indicate that to prevent nefarious actions.
Yes, I suppose you’re right. You are also far more temperate than I. Perhaps it’s time for me to take a walk and get away from the interweb for awhile.
I don’t want to assume the worst of a group with similar aims to mine without cause. I do have my last email tagged for followup if I don’t hear anything further, though.