Worthy causes hurt


I really feel sorry for the Malibu and Topanga nonprofits that have lost their money. I personally would certainly lose confidence in “fiscal sponsors” upon hearing that their office rent is $12,000 a month. Quite a few nonprofits I know of cannot even afford an office but make do with their small living space and office combined.

Although the executive director of The International Humanities Center might “be committed to doing work for people and the planet,” it seems obvious to me that with over $877,000 in missing money, greed and criminal behavior were foremost in his mind. His having deep regret and hope that what he did causes no lasting harm to the non-profits he stole from is a lame excuse and doesn’t cut it. Has he been run out of the community yet? Or locked up?

Besides the non-profits in Malibu and Topanga who were ripped off, what really distresses me is that the Pasadena-based Afghan Women’s Mission which tried to help out in a war torn country with projects that supported clinics, schools and those who are suffering terribly had over $400,000 stolen. I remember hearing a couple of Malibu men talking about the U.S. war just starting in Afghanistan (2001): “We should bomb them back to the middle ages” while the other one replied: “They never left the middle ages.”

Too bad all those donations that were to help in Afghanistan are instead used for living the good life in Topanga, Malibu and Pacific Palisades and wherever else the “disappeared” director is now living. I know of an executive director of a nonprofit back east whose salary is over $225,000 a year with many perks for her and her children. Of course because she champions Human Rights Defenders (who receive a stipend of $25,000 for their work) she also is admired widely for the work she does. Obviously she is good at what she does: raising money. Stories like this scam might make one lose faith in organizations that purport to help those less fortunate. I have always preferred to go directly to the source of those in need bypassing the middle person who always wants his share.

Valerie Sklarevsky