This is the most recent tax return for the Mat-Su Health Foundation.
MSHF 2016 tax return
Let’s analyze this return. How did the MSHF spend our community’s money?
In 2016, the MSHF had total revenues of $34 million. ($1.1 million from contributions/grants; $25 million from the hospital – i.e. the community paying for medical care; and $8.6 million from investment income.)
The MSHF gave out $4.3 million in grants. (However, how the MSHF characterizes “grants” is analyzed further below.) It spent $1.388 million on salaries and benefits. And it had $1.75 million in expenses.
So, to give out grants of $4.3 million, the MSHF spent $3.14 million on itself.
Note: This tax return is for 2016 which is PRIOR to MSHF incurring the major expenses of building their huge new building. The MSHF moved into their new building located at 777 Crusey Street, Wasilla, in the Spring of 2018. We will have to wait until the 2017 and 2018 tax returns are released to see how much the MSHF spent on the new building.
Yes, the MSHF is going to argue that some of their expenses are “Program Services” expenses – i.e., they provide services, too, and don’t just give out grants. But, this ratio is NOT good. And the MSHF doesn’t really provide much in the way of services. (Yes, I know all about R.O.C.K. Mat-Su.) In my opinion, non profits trump up “program services” as a way to justify spending $$$ on themselves.
The highest salaries are the Executive Director and the Financial Officer.
Here is the listing for the MSHF’s share of the profits from the hospital. The MSHF (legal name is Valley Hospital Association) owns 34% of the for-profit hospital. So, if the MSHF’s share was almost $25 million in 2016, then the hospital made approx. $72 million in profits.
Here is the page which details the MSHF’s expenses. This organization, which had only approximately 12 employees in 2016, spent $51K on travel and $52K on conferences.
They also paid 770K in interest – what is this for? And 72K in advocacy expenses. Is this the cost of their lobbyist/s?
They had almost 50K in “Board of Director” expenses. Note: the MSHF’s board meetings are CLOSED to the public. So, except for the annual tax return, the public is only allowed access to information that the MSHF decides that it will disclose.
The MSHF does list out grants in their tax return. They gave 88 people money for scholarships. $386,477 divided by 88 is an average of $4,391 each student.
Here are other selected grants:
The MSHF gave 7K to the Special Santa program.
The MSHF had several listings for “cash grants” to the Foraker Group. The Foraker Group is the “non profit non profit” in Anchorage that provides training and expertise to other non profits. Elizabeth Ripley is the President of the Board of Directors at Foraker.
My analysis of these “grants” to Foraker is – these grants are self-interested. They don’t really help the Mat-Su Valley community with health and wellness per se; they help the non profit “industry.” And it is an “industry.”
There are also six grants listed for Kennedy and Associates for a total of $57,438. These amounts seem to be payments made for people (likely MSHF staffers or employees of affiliated non profits) to attend this (for profit) consulting company’s non profit leadership program. Why is the MSHF listing these amounts as “grants” given out when this is really just conferences/workshops that staffers/employees are attending?
Here is another grant to a foundation that simply supports the Non Profit Industry. 10K to the Rasmuson Foundation for the “Grantmakers” tour.
The MSHF gave out a “grant” to the State Dept. of Health and Human Services in order to obtain Medicaid data for the McDowell group (a consulting group.) Now – the Mat-Su Health Foundation has used McDowell’s services for numerous studies. So, to me – this “grant” is self-serving. It also should be characterized as an EXPENSE not a grant. (I also think that the MSHF’s lobbying efforts supporting expanded Medicaid were also self-serving. The MSHF and its for profit partner – the MSRMC – benefit from more people being able to obtain and pay for medical services with Medicaid. But, the American taxpayers are footing the bills.)
And here is a “Grant” to the Anchorage Law firm “Davis, Wright, Tremaine” for Professional services related to the Mat-Su Trails and Parks organization. The Mat-Su Trails and Parks group was set up by the MSHF and it is almost entirely supported by the MSHF. I think the trails group had a few issues in 2016 – hence these attorney costs.
NOTE: In my opinion, all of the “grants” listed to Foraker, Kennedy and Associates, Rasmuson, DHSS, and the Anchorage law firm should have been listed in EXPENSES on this tax return. I think that the MSHF was trying to list more items in “grants” instead of expenses so that it looks like they gave out more $ in grants versus spending so much on expenses for themselves.
The MSHF gave money to both the “Heart Reach Pregnancy” Center (which is pro-life; they built a new building around 2016) and “Planned Parenthood” (which is pro-choice.)
The MSHF gave out several other larger grants – to the Palmer Senior Center; the Sunshine Health Clinic, the Children’s Place, and Ptarmigan Pediatrics.
Giving out the larger grants is fine – and fairly simple to do. Seriously, how difficult is it to make a decision to give a few hundred thousand to established social services non profits like the Palmer Senior Center or the Sunshine Health Clinic?
I don’t understand why the MSHF needs to spend so much money on themselves to give out grants.
COMPARISON TO PREVIOUS YEARS:
The MSHF in 2016 gave out LESS money in grants than in the two previous years – 2014 and 2015 – and yet, they had much more revenue!
Here is their 2015 tax return, which show that they gave out $6,091.871 in grants in 2014 and $5,333,336 in 2015. The MSHF gave out only $4,308,005 in 2016. This amount should be getting larger each year NOT smaller!!!