SAAA fundraising plans involve board of directors
Posted: February 26, 2013
The Winchester Star
FRONT ROYAL — If you own a company or have significant financial resources, a Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging board member might soon be paying you a visit.
At a meeting Monday, the board of directors was told that a fundraising plan is being drafted with locally based BDI Consulting LLC and that board members will be needed to help solicit donations. The goal is to raise $600,000 in unrestricted funds over an 18-month period.
Jonathan Price, the SAAA’s director of fiscal operations, said three or four board members are needed to take a leadership role in the new fundraising effort and act as a liaison to the board. They’ll be asked to help identify potential donors and in some cases be involved with direct requests.
“It’s hard to go out and ask for money if your board doesn’t support you,” said Cindy Palmer, the agency’s interim president and CEO.
Board members Jim Edwards, David Ziegler and Thomas Throckmorton volunteered to be part of those efforts.
Price said the fundraising drive will involve asking companies the agency owes money if they’ll agree to reduce or eliminate that debt. Board member Angela Whitacre volunteered to help with that effort.
The SAAA is working to get in the financial position to pay off more than $100,000 in old bills as well as a mortgage and other obligations following the 2011 discovery that it was in a dire fiscal condition.
In August 2011, 81 unmailed checks to vendors totaling almost $265,000 were discovered in a safe at the agency’s Front Royal headquarters. It did not have enough money in the bank to cover those checks.
The discovery led to the dismissal of Helen Cockrell, the SAAA’s president and CEO, and John Shaffer, its finance director.
Palmer said the agency’s staff members have worked as a team to keep the agency afloat through the crisis.
“We have cleaned up a bad mess,” she said, “and we’re still cleaning it up.”
Board members hope to meet on March 22 for a strategic planning session for the agency.
The board members also were told that the agency remains current on its bills and has paid half of an outstanding bill to Yount Hyde & Barbour and is budgeted to pay the remaining $20,693 next month. At that point, the accounting firm can proceed with performing the SAAA’s fiscal year 2012 audit.
Price said the agency still needs to increase its unrestricted donations so it won’t have to be reliant on federal and state allocations.
He said that the previous administration drew money to pay for goods and services for which the SAAA cannot be reimbursed, so it has to offset a liability on its books for improperly used governmental funds. That is done by paying reimbursable bills with unrestricted donations, then reducing the outstanding liability by the amount of that payment.
“In a perfect scenario,” he said, “we would be paying our bills with unrestricted funds and not using our state drawdowns.”
Multiple board members said they find the current financial report format — which comes directly from the agency’s accounting software — difficult to follow.
“This is like reading hieroglyphics,” Throckmorton said.
Price, however, said that because of the SAAA’s past financial problems, he’s hesitant to create a report that doesn’t come directly from the accounting system.
“I don’t want there to be any gray area where anything could be manipulated,” he said.
The board members also voted unanimously to approve revisions to the SAAA employee handbook.
Marsha Lebrecht, executive assistant and human resources specialist for the agency, said the amendments included entries on telecommuting, the Family Medical Leave Act, and a substance abuse policy that includes screening guidelines. The changes were reviewed and approved by the SAAA’s labor lawyer.
The changes have been worked on by staff members for the past year, said Cindy Palmer, the agency’s interim president and CEO.
The SAAA assists senior citizens in six area jurisdictions, including Frederick and Clarke counties and Winchester. Its services include home meals delivery, respite care, transportation, and Medicaid and Medicare assistance.
Attending the meeting at SAAA headquarters at 207 Mosby Lane were Vice-Chairman Travis Clark and board members James Brinkmeier, Violet Carter, Jim Edwards, Ann Holsinger, Wanda Shoemaker, Teresa Strohmeyer, Thomas Throckmorton, Angela Whitacre and David Ziegler. Chairman John Hudson and board members Mari-Ane Fowler and Johnny Woodward were absent.
— Contact Vic Bradshaw at email@example.com