“Charity” or Political Action Committee??
Posted: 08 February 2014 05:17 PM   [ Ignore ]
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The Fieldhouse Project… the group deadset on seeing taxes raised significantly to benefit the privileged of the community… lists its contact address as The Manhattan Community Foundation.  The Manhattan Community Foundation’s website suggests they are a community “charity”.  Donations can be made to MCF that will go to benefit youth and others in the community.  Your donations are tax free.  The list of “trustees” is lengthy and includes many of prominence in the community.  From their site, one would assume their goals are targeted for the betterment of our community and those who live here.

Now, it appears they must be in the PAC business.  If, in fact, they are teamed with the Fieldhouse Project that puts and entirely different light on those goals.  The Fieldhouse Project is an all out political lobbying campaign in an attempt to get taxpayers to fund a $50 million project to be enjoyed by the privileged of the community.  Manhattan “Community” Foundation?  The Fieldhouse Project rips the word “community” from the grasp of neighborhoods by removing many of the recreational facilites from our parks.  To play soccer, kids will need to go east into Pott County.  No longer will there be tennis courts to enjoy in CiCo Park.  Huge dollars will be spent to install a retractable cover on City Park Pool, even though it will only stay open 3 months/year.  The remaining 9 months will allow enjoyment by a small elite group… at the expense of the taxpayers.

Why does a small group of folks set on pricing us out of living in the community appear to be part of a much larger group that suggests it is a “charitable” organization?  What is the actual relationship between Fieldhouse Project and Manhattan Community Foundation??

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Posted: 10 February 2014 07:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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There are many organizations that support “causes” that have funds established with the Manhattan Community Foundation and they are not PACs.  The Manhattan Community Foundation is very careful to not do anything that would compromise its 501(c)(3) status.

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Posted: 10 February 2014 10:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I would think having a quasi political group, one campaigning for over $50 million in tax dollars, using the MCF name and address as their main point of contact certainly questions the motives behind the Foundation.  If they are, in fact, neutral then they should insist that the Fieldhouse Project cease using that contact information.

It’s also interesting to see Big Brothers/Big Sisters on the list of “donors” to MCF.  There has been much scrutiny of SSAB funds.  I’ve been quite outspoken that we have some admirable charities that do lots of good in assisting those who fall on difficult times.  Yet, it seems amazing that one of those groups has enough money to donate to a philanthropic organization.  One could conclude this is nothing but donating to a powerful political organization to assure they keep receiving those SSAB funds.  I’m sure there must be a more palatable explanation.  On the surface, why would folks donate through water bills to, or defend continued funding of, an organization that has enough money to make contributions to MCF?

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Posted: 10 February 2014 02:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Well, I don’t donate through my water bill.  I donate to the organization directly or through the Foundation.  There is nothing nefarious about the Fieldhouse Project’s relationship with the Manhattan Community Foundation, nor is there anything wrong with Big Brothers/Big Sisters having a fund with them.  Social service agencies establish funds with the Foundation for a variety of reasons (capital campaigns, memorial funds, etc.).  Again, nothing wrong with it—it’s quite common.

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Posted: 10 February 2014 03:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I would have no problem with MCF seeing BB/BS as an honorable organization to assist.  I just don’t see why a charity that suggests it needs tax dollars to survive has money left over to donate to other causes.  How much additional money does BB/BS “donate” to foundations and other charities?  I would just think SSAB needs to be aware this organization has enough left over from operational expenses to hand money to other entities of their choice.

“Nothing nefarious”?  I know for a fact a number of those listed as “trustees” and “donors” to MCF are not pleased about the continued escalation of property tax in Manhattan.  I also have had discussion with some of these folks and know they are not in favor of the City putting $50 million into this ridiculous effort to provide playgrounds for the privileged.  The estimated $2 million/year additional operation/maintenance costs would come out of the pockets of every one of us who pay property tax in Manhattan.  The Fieldhouse Project was initiated as an effort to be a privately funded and operated venture.  That has morphed into folks from Wamego, Timber Creek, exclusive housing developments on the west side, etc. attempting to have the taxpayers of Manhattan pay the bill.  Now, we find they are using a local philanthropic organization as their base contact.  The Fieldhouse Project has nothing to do with being a charitable organization or a “worthy cause”.  The ONLY thing the Fieldhouse Project will accomplish… if they succeed… is to make Manhattan an even more expensive place to live.  Those having trouble providing shelter and food for their families will find that task even more difficult.  But, if we pony up and make everything great for the kids of the privileged… who gives a rip about the less fortunate!!!

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Posted: 10 February 2014 04:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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The SSAB application requires agencies to provide a copy of their most recent audit which indicates the agency’s assets and also asks them to disclose how much they have received in terms of fundraising.  SSAB members are well aware of the finances of the agencies that receive city funds.

I have heard all the same statements you have, but for every person you’ve talked to who is opposed to this, I bet I could give you the names of others who are supportive. 

As I am sure you understand, the reason the Fieldhouse Project group partnered with the Community Foundation is so donations to the project could be tax-deductible.

[Edit] I seem to recall that the Fieldhouse Project group, at one time, was going to try to establish itself as a 501(c)(3).  Not sure if they have continued to pursue that option given the change in direction.

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Posted: 10 February 2014 04:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Yep.  Gotta have some tax advantage for those trying to get the rest of us to pay for them to play.

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