Las Vegas fallen-cop charity spent more on accounting than cops

Injured Police Officers FundI’m starting to sound like a broken record here. The Injured Police Officers Fund, the Las Vegas-based charity that covers certain out-of-pocket expenses for families of fallen law enforcement personnel in southern Nevada, continues to have an overhead problem. In its latest public tax filing, for calendar year 2019, the nonprofit spent more on accounting alone than it handed out to families.

According to the filing, IPOF made a total of $26,266 in grants to 15 recipients. The charity spent $30,600 on accounting.

Accounting, of course, is only one part of overhead, some of which is necessary for any organization. But according to IPOF’s own filing, the agency during the year spent a total of $183,987, but only $46,694 (including the grants) in direct furtherance of the stated mission. The remaining $137,293 went for fundraising and other overhead (including the accounting). That works out to a charitable commitment ratio–the percent of total expenses spent directly on the mission–of 25%. Charitable watchdogs say the minimum for any charity that raises money from the public should be 65%. Over the last 19 years, IPOF’s charitable commitment ratio has averaged 50% and has topped 65% only twice.

Since becoming New To Seattle in 2016, I’ve written annually about IPOF. Each time I’ve become more critical, due to my analysis of its financial efficiencies, sometimes hard-to-understand accounting and lack of financial transparency.

Founded in 1982, IPOF is run by a volunteer board representing more than a dozen law-enforcement agencies in southern Nevada. IPOF is a fully qualified 501(c)(3) and contributions it receives are tax-deductible by the donor.

The charity is still a cut above most law-enforcement-themed charities, whose operations often border on outright scammery. Unlike many of those outfits, IPOF in the past did not spend most of the money raised in raising it, since it avoided expensive direct mail and outside paid telemarketing. The charity does no direct solicitation, relying on proceeds from several fundraising events, a few large donations, and whatever came in from the public, often after news media accounts of a wounded officer. In most years, including the last four through 2018, IPOF had zero fundraising expense.

But in 2019, IPOF tripled the salary and accompanying statutory benefits of its one paid employee, from $21,530 to $63,341, and classified the increase as fundraising expense. This had the impact of generating a fundraising expense of $41,811. This not only dwarfed the amount of grants given out, but consumed most of the $50,816 received as contributions and net special event revenue (itself a big drop from $315,689 in 2018).

As a result the fundraising efficiency ratio–another standard analytical measure defined as the percent of contributions remaining after cost of fundraising–fell from 100% in 2018 to 18% in 2019. Again, the charitable watchdogs say the minimum should be 65%.

IPOF is not all that dependent on annual contributions. At the end of 2019 it had managed to build up net assets of $1.9 million–all cash and investments. Indeed, the charity during 2019 had a realized investment return of nearly $100,000, nearly double the amount of contributions received and four times the amount of grants handed out.

Financial results of IPOF for 2020 won’t be known until late next year, after the charity files its Internal Revenue Service Form 990, a public document, and sends me a copy, as it kindly has done for several years. (IPOF does not post its 990 on its website, which many reputable charities do and which the IRS encourages as a best practice but does not mandate, so long as copies are sent to anyone who asks, like me.)

But 2020 has been a hard year for IPOF. Its president, Erik Lloyd, a Las Vegas Metro lieutenant, died of coronavirus in July at age 53. The Las Vegas Sun reported earlier this month that Lloyd was the only Nevada law enforcement officer known to have died of coronavirus. The paper said Metro considered him exposed to the virus in the line of duty, although the story also said a family member had been hospitalized with the virus a week-and-a-half before he was. The family member survived.

I welcome comments below on any of these issues, if for no other reason than to break up the monotony of my repetitive sound.

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Las Vegas fallen-cop charity spent more on accounting than cops — 11 Comments

  1. No, of course you shouldn’t because its only been around since Lombardo and which has pulled to close to equal the LAPD’s effort which has been around since 1929\

  2. IPOF comes out of the efforts of Sheriff John and Mrs Goldie Moran, without question, the most beloved sheriff ’round these parts, yes, even more beloved that Ralph Lamb and Sgt Jahn who I referenced before was hired in that era.

    We’re coming up on the LVMPD’s Golden Jubilee Year in 2023 ostensibly celebrating 50 years of Policing/Law Enforcement here in Las Vegastan and this should be fun for all of us tuned in at home because the Department hasn’t acknowledged that this anniversary is coming up and my guess is that they’re gonna do a 15 minute drive-by if they even do anything at all.

    I’m thinking we may have a new sheriff in 2023 because I don’t think that Lombardo or Wolfson are going to be on 2022 ballots bcuz both are acting today, identically to how former Sheriff Gillespie was acting prior to his crapping out and retiring despite also political stage-acting in the run-up to the 2014 election which I believe the FBI stole away from its true winner, despite my having endorsed and campaigned for Joe Lombardo…it took until 2016 for me to figure out how it happened, that’s how new we were to this stuff here… Captain Burns and I agreed it was also how our FBI acted in 2016 denying the presidency to that awful woman from Park Ridge.

    Your IPOF subject matter here is still thermo-nuclear cold as ice here and its new stepbrother called the LVMPd Foundation ALWAYS has Red Flags flying in hurricane force winds here too…

  3. Oh my God, What is wrong witchu?

    What turnip truck from Salinas did you fall off of and end up here?

    Thanks for the entertaining piece and you owe a debt of thanks to former LVMPD legend Sgt/Lt Norm Jahn who forwarded your work to me! Let me fill in a few blanks so that you may continue doing the Lord’s work on these threads…

  4. Jay, I wholeheartedly agree with your point that fewer grants are better. But IPOF’s infrastructure (i.e. overhead) is essentially set up for a much bigger operation. Over the past 19 years, IPOF has handed out an average of just $40,000 a year in grants. Yet its average yearly overhead over the same period has been almost double that–$77,000. To me, something is off here. The number of grants made in 2019–15–was almost the same as the 13 given out during 2017, the year of the terrible October 1 massacre.

  5. The fact that grants were limited is a good thing. It means that fewer cops have been injured or killed in that fiscal period. Fundraising doesn’t stop because of fewer injuries or deaths, but it builds the fund for the unfortunate circumstances for which it was designed.

  6. Nick, article explicitly invited comments from anyone, including the IPOF, which, thanks to the magic of the Internet, can be posted at any point, as you just did. The IPOF as an institution can still comment if desired. All the numbers came from IPOF’s own tax filings dating back to 2001. I’m not really aware of any other Las Vegas-area nonprofit that I would consider directly “in competition with”–your words–IPOF. But in any event all the opinions expressed concerning overhead are mine based on IPOF documents. Material regarding Erik Lloyd came from the cited Las Vegas Sun article.

  7. Looks as if you failed to reach out to the IPOF and ask for a comment. Sounds like your gaining info from other non profit entities that are in competition with IPOF. Please report the facts and not biased opinions. You missed the fact how Erik contracted Corona and this is public record through LVMPD but it appears you are reporting “rumor” style info. Good article but not entirely factual.

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