One of the encouraging items on the Dec. 5 council agenda was the progress report on the Mission Viejo Community Foundation. The foundation was set up to allow philanthropic donors to contribute to city projects, including the Norman Murray Community and Senior Center expansion. The foundation has 13 board members representing a good cross section of various businesses and community groups. It has acquired 501(c)(3) non-profit status. A Website and log are in the works. Donors have pledged $313,000, with approximately $22,000 in cash donations to date.
The city on July 5 approved an initial grant of seed money to the foundation of $188,625. A second city grant has been appropriated for 2006. With a promising start for the foundation, it is entirely possible that the second grant will not be necessary. The taxpayers should have the opportunity to view financial statements to assess the costs of the foundation, including salaries, expenses and overhead for the organization since tax money was donated. Ratios such as expenses to donations and percentage of costs to beneficiaries (i.e., the city) need to be evaluated, including the executive director’s salary.
The foundation chairman stated that the foundation’s year end is either on Dec. 31, 2005, or Jan. 31, 2006. Let us – the taxpayers – expect that a complete financial disclosure will be made in a timely manner in order to assess the need for the second grant by the city.
James Edward Woodin