The holiday break allowed us some free time to peruse the Southern Poverty Law Center’s audited financial statements from 2006 to 2013, and, as usual, there were some interesting numbers that never make it to the SPLC’s never-ending fundraising letters.
NOTE: All of the financial data posted here comes directly from the SPLC’s own audited financial statements, as found on their own website. We’ll show you how to find the reports at the end of this post.
The most interesting financial factoid gleaned from reviewing the audits is that, since 2006, the SPLC has generated more than $106 million, tax-free dollars than was required to run the company.
“A financial benefit that is realized when the amount of revenue gained from a business activity exceeds the expenses, costs and taxes needed to sustain the activity. Any profit that is gained goes to the business’s owners, who may or may not decide to spend it on the business.”
Or to put it more succinctly:
Profit = Total Revenue – Total Expenses
Rocket science this is not.
The SPLC’s revenues come mainly from two sources: Tax-free donations and tax-free interest earned on their $283 million dollar “endowment fund.”
For the fiscal years 2006 through 2013 the SPLC’s Total Expenses (Operating Costs) looked like this:
Compare this total with the SPLC’s Total Revenue (Donations + Interest) for the same period:
And when we do the math (Kids! Try this at home!):
Total Revenue: $371,486,581
Total Expenses: $265,226,395
Total Profit: $106,260,186
Not a bad chunk of change. Divide the Total Profit by the eight years inclusive and it averages out to $13,282,523 a year.
That’s over $13 million a year more than it costs to run the company AND includes a $19.3 million dollar hit the Company took in FY 2007/2008 when so many charities and nonprofits were devastated by the Madoff scam.
(Note: Listing here does not imply that the SPLC was involved with Madoff, we merely note the coincidence in timing.)
Donors ought to be curious as to why they continue to receive fundraising letters from Morris Dees and Mark Potok, but most won’t. They believe the SPLC’s fundraising propaganda because they desperately want to believe it. You can show them that the SPLC spent a mere 4.4% of the $265 million in Operating Costs on Legal Case Costs and they won’t blink an eye.
The SPLC is selling a fantasy and most of their customers are fully satisfied.
As always, we strongly urge our readers NOT to take our word for it. All of the SPLC’s financial documents through 2002 are available through the Internet Archive’s wonderful Wayback Machine.
Simply enter the URL http://www.splcenter.org into the Wayback Machine and select a year. Keep in mind that the SPLC posts their financials in March, and those refer to the previous fiscal year.
Click on any date highlighted with a blue dot and then click on the “Who We Are” link at the top left corner of the homepage. Scroll down to the Finances link to find the audited reports and the IRS Form 990’s, both of which are veritable troves of information.
The Annual Reports are less forthcoming, but are usually a hoot to read.
Read the numbers for yourselves and please let us know if you come up with figures that are different from ours.