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Spaulding-Paolozzi Foundation - An update

Coastal Conservation League a beneficiary along with the Aquarium and Clemson
Warwick Jones

The Spaulding - Paolozzi Foundation has achieved a reputation in Charleston as a major donor to some pet projects of Mayor Riley. We thought that viewers may be interested in a summary of the Foundation's 2005 results as revealed in the Form 990 submission to the IRS

For us, the only surprise was the inclusion in the small list of beneficieries of the SC Coastal Conservation League which received $125,000. The donation was dwarfed by the other gifts - $500,000 to the Aquarium and $250,000 to Clemson University, for its School of Architecture. After including the remaining gift of $67,000 to the YWCA in Charleston, the gifts distributed by the Foundation in 2005 amounted to $942,000. The distribution was met only partly from the Foundation's operating surplus of $558,000. The balance was met from cash on hand. Total assets of the Foundation at the end of 2005 amounted to $13.5 million.

Need to dip deeper into cash in 2006?
However, the 990 form also shows what has been promised - for 2006 or beyond. These amounts were $750,000 for Clemson, $67,000 for the YWCA and $1 million for the Paul Smith College of New York. If these gifts are made in 2006, the Foundation will need to dip deeper into its cash as a large increase in operating surplus is unlikely given the nature of its investments.

Viewers who wish to see a summary of the financial results over the last 2 years and the Balance Sheet for 3 years should Download file. Note that although the Foundation submitted a 990 form in 2003, we have not attempted to summarize revenue and expenses in that year. The accounts are complex for that year reflecting the sales and transfer of assets from the estate of the Countess to the Foundation. Also note that in 2004, the Foundation sold its interest in Hoopstick Island and received the better part of $5 million in consideration

Mayor Riley continues as a Class 1 director
Viewers will also note from the summary that the list of directors at the end of 2005 was little changed from the previous year and the Mayor Riley continues as a Class 1 director. Considering that all the grants went to non profits located in Charleston, Class 1 directors seemingly have lots of clout.

Not all grants conform to the purpose of the Foundation
We have said it before and we say it again. The grants that the Foundation has made to Clemson for its School of Architecture, and to the Aquarium do not conform to the desires of the late Countess. The following is taken from the 990 submission for 2003 which summarizes the objectives of the Foundation (Interestingly, it does not appear in the 2004 and 2005 990 forms. Does this reflect some embarrassment on the part of the Foundation directors in that they are more swayed by Mayor Riley than the directions of the late Countess?)

A. To research issues concerning health and aging of people
B. To research issues concerning ecological protection and preservation
C. To research issues concerning sustainability and development of agriculture
D. To research issues concerning women, including but not limited to health, aging and human rights.

Or, as more succinctly stated in another section of the tax return, to research issues concerning health and aging, ecological preservation, agricultural development, and all issues concerning women.

For the record, the Countess was a large donor to the Paul Smith College during here life time. We do not know the specific purpose of the proposed $1 million grant shown in the 2005 990 form, but the Foundation Board members who are part of the College Faculty. Dr John Mills is the College President and Prof. Kelting is the Director of the Aquatic Institute. We also note that the SC Conservation League would certainly qualify as a recipient of grants according to the purpose of the Foundation. But we hope that the $125,000 donation in 2005 came with no strings attached, such as continued political support for Mayor Riley's causes.

Your Comments:

Dear Warwick,

I would like to expand on your article about the Spaulding-Paolozzi Foundation. You correctly report that the Conservation League received a grant of $125,000 from the Foundation. You should know that the purpose of the grant is to fund collaborative work between the Phillips Community, a historic African-American community on Highway 41 near Dunes West, and the Spoleto Festival.

The purpose is to help the community respond to development pressures and to interpret the history and culture of the community artistically. One of the Phillips's residents' primary concerns was the prospect that Highway 41 would be widened to 4-5 lanes, bisecting the community with a high(er) volume traffic arterial. Because of our past work on similar projects, including blocking the 5 laning of Highway 162 to Hollywood and other similarly destructive DOT/CHATS proposals, Spoleto contacted us about helping them. Specifically, they asked us to serve as a fiscal agent for the grant and to work on the transportation issue.

You should know that funds from the grant are not used to cover any of our organizational expenses, such as salaries, travel, and the like, involved with working with the community. To date, they have been used to hire a transportation consultant and to support Spoleto activities with the community. Neither do we charge any overhead to the grant.

I was not able to discern what point you were trying to make by reporting the grant, but I would be delighted to discuss it with you or anyone else who is interested. Feel free to call me if you would like to.

Keep up your vigilant efforts to protect the integrity of our city and its environs.

Sincerely,

Dana Beach
Executive Director
Coastal Conservation League

Posted by: Dana Beach at July 14, 2006 10:50 PM

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