The intent of this TransPAWrency FAQ is to answer community questions in a centralized location regarding the future direction of the Lake Tahoe Humane Society. In the pages to follow, you will find answers to questions we thought might be top of mind. If you would like to submit additional questions that have not already been answered, send your question here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
New questions will be added to this document and reposted to our website. We ask for your patience as we seek to provide you with a thoughtful answer. Some questions we may not have answers to, but we will do our best to address submitted inquiries.
Do You Have Animals for Adoption?
No. Please contact the El Dorado County Animal Services team (530) 573-7925.
Do You Have Any Spay/Neuter Vouchers Available?
No. Please contact the Animal Coalition of Tahoe (ACT) (530)307-3638.
Do You Have Funds for Charitable Veterinary Assistance?
No. This program is currently under assessment by the Board of Directors.
Will the pet food distribution program for pets in need be maintained?
Yes. This program will continue, however the hours have changed from 9am – 12pm on Tuesday & Friday. We are looking to local businesses who would be willing to be a food distribution location. We welcome any businesses that would like to partner with us to be a distribution center for pet food. Please send us an email: email@example.com
Board of Directors
How will the board of directors be organized?
The board consists of 5 individuals who are from the surrounding community and will act in the best interest of Lake Tahoe Humane Society. These members will be 5 voting members where three voting members constitute a quorum and decision.
How was the board of directors selected?
Given the past situation at the Lake Tahoe Humane Society, it was decided that incoming board members should not only have a commitment and a love of animals but also previous board experience and business skills that will lead to strong oversight and good stewardship of resources to best serve the community. The collection of skills with the incoming board members encompasses a diverse set of skills such as many years of experience on large non-profit boards, business acumen, banking, operations, compliance, governance, investment, and community collaboration knowledge to foster growth and recovery of the organization.
Will there be any paid positions?
No. The new organization will only consist of volunteers in order to reduce operating expenditures and restore services. Again, the focus in on being good stewards with limited resources. We are asking for your support in the form of volunteerism and continued donations to the cause.
Will there be background checks facilitated for the board members?
Yes. This requirement will also be added to the bylaws. The cost to facilitate this will be absorbed by the board members and not paid for by Humane Society funds. The background checks will also be conducted by a third-party organization. If a board member does not meet the compliance requirements of this background check, they will be removed from the board immediately and a new member appointed.
What happened to the previous board members?
The bylaws mandate that all board elections take place in April. The remaining board has resigned and the new board has taken over effective April 21, 2018. Now that there is a new board, what happens next? The board is going into a strategic planning cycle and will publish next steps to the community within the next 30 days. Please keep in mind that these new members have to sort through thousands of documents, financial records, legal documents, memberships, etc. and are volunteers who are also working professionals. Refer to the May 21, 2018 organizational release for an overview of the first thirty days.
Is the Lake Tahoe Humane Society still affiliated with the SPCA?
No. After consideration, it was determined that we are not operating as a SPCA at this time. We will be acting as more of a charitable assistance organization for the welfare of animals. As we continue to rebuild the organization, and if we add further services, we will consider reinstating that affiliation.
What compliance measures have you instituted to help with donor confidence?
Of immediate importance, the organization has achieved the 2018 Gold Seal of Transparency through GuideStar. which demonstrates our commitment to nonprofit transparency. This agency tracks and reports on the compliance of all non-profits nationally and is a level of certification not previously held by the organization.
Are the other compliance agencies that you will be pursuing qualifications with?
We continue to pursue and strive for the Better Business Bureau compliance certification and will provide a status on our progress on this endeavor shortly. Our goal is to meet the 20 elements of Better Business Bureau Certification for non-profits to instill a sense of trust and credibility to the organization. As a new board of directors, we recognize the importance of, and are committed to, building trust, confidence, and transparency with our community. Our goal is for donors to be able to feel comfortable that their donations are going to organization that is being good stewards of their generous contributions.
How will the new board ensure the integrity of the funds received from our valued supporters?
The bylaws will be modified and posted for community access. The current bylaws do not encompass the appropriate level of checks and balances for asset protection. We will try to model ourselves after large not for profit boards and be transparent about the financial situation and how resources are used. We will establish audit mechanisms to ensure that resources are being used appropriately.
What will happen with the original checking account?
For safety reasons, the original checking account was closed and a new account opened. All accounts (payment (PayPal), utilities, loan, etc.) have all been migrated to the new account.
Who has access to the donation funds?
Two appointed board members. This will allow for a check and balance system and accountability practices.
Will the board have access to credit cards, ATM and debit cards?
No. There will be one checking account that is tracked each month. Utilities and other payments will be setup on an auto-payment process from that checking account. There will only be three board member signatories on the checking account.
How will the donations be tracked?
On a regular basis the board will share expenditures with the community via the organizations website. It is understood that transparency is essential in order to restore trust with the community. Additionally, on May 11, 2018, the “Paws for the Cause” giving campaign was launched and contribution progress can be viewed there.
The current bylaws do not require financial audits. This will be amended in future editions of the bylaws, and audits will be conducted to facilitate governance and compliance. This is also a requirement for the Better Business Certification for non-profit organizations.
Will the organization be able to get funding from the national Humane Society?
No. The Lake Tahoe Humane Society is solely funded by donations and grants.
What will be done with the property located at 884 Emerald Bay Road, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150?
After examining many financial documents, processes, and expenditures, we identified key indicators for the next logical steps to maintain financial health of the organization. In our evaluation, one of the options we must seriously consider is sale of the property. The board has begun the process to prepare the property for potential sale and are open to speaking with interested parties. This is not a decision we will take lightly but as we look at the financial situation, the sale of the property and liquidation of other assets will allow us to: Pay off existing debts; Reduce significant operating expenses; Restore a baseline budget that we can allocate to programs; and Re-build services in the community much faster. In reality, the Lake Tahoe Humane Society does not need the building to operate. The foundation for the organization itself is in the volunteerism and programming. The original purpose of the building’s purchase was a long term goal of opening up a large scale rescue, care, and adoption facility in the City of South Lake Tahoe that would physically house animals. With the current financial situation, although that is a wonderful goal, it is not a reality at this time. The main goal for us is to keep the organization operating and restore programming. Sometime in the distant future, once the organization is back on solid ground, there may be an opportunity to achieve that dream.
What will happen with other assets?
They will be assessed and liquidated.
What about the money that was allegedly embezzled?
The El Dorado County District Attorney’s office is handling this case. The Lake Tahoe Humane Society has no control over how the DA’s office proceeds. Please address all questions and correspondence to their office. The board is not aware of any charges that have been filed, or restitution that will be garnered as a result. The board will move forward with a new plan of action and checks and balances, to ensure that a situation such as this will never happen again.
What are the current operating expenditures of the organization?
With the purchase of the building in 2014, the overhead and operating expenditures increased significantly and severely impacted the ability for the organization to deliver the necessary programs and services to the community. The current Board feels like this is a misalignment with the core values and mission of the organization. The current balance of funds as of August 19 is ~$31,135.26, (fluctuates with donations & bill payments).
Will there be hosted events in the community to help raise funds?
Yes. The board is evaluating which events we will be hosting/participating in. We welcome any businesses out there that would like to partner with us to help raise funds. Please refer to our website and Facebook for the latest list of events.
Will there be a need for volunteers?
Yes. The volunteers are the heart of this community and organization. As we restart, rebuild and revive the Lake Tahoe Humane Society, we will be reaching out to you to roll up your sleeves with us to build something beautiful and impactful for generations to come. If you would like to volunteer, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The board will continue to forge ahead with our simplification, consolidation, and financial health efforts to help us optimize our operational efficiencies and restorative practices. We will close on the Restart, Rebuild, Restore, and Re-engage planning efforts and build on what we were able to achieve here in.