Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Silver Shield Not a Charity

Wanting to help families devastated by the Sept. 11 attack in New York, the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office decided to hold a fundraiser and split the proceeds between a local charity and the Silver Shield Foundation in New York City.

Started 20 years ago by New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, the Silver Shield's mission to provide a college education to families of slain firefighters and police officers seemed perfect to local sheriff's officials.

But that was before they knew about the New York nonprofit foundation's bottom line.

Income tax records show that for the 2000 fiscal year, the Silver Shield Foundation operated at a loss, posting $299,262 in revenue and $351,405 in expenses.

More than half the costs were management fees: $125,000 for the salary of director James Fuchs, a former Olympian and member of the Track and Field Hall of Fame; $52,500 for "professional fundraising fees"; and $27,000 for other management fees.

The numbers have the sheriff's officials considering other charities, and the similarly named Gold Shield Foundation, a nonprofit founded by Steinbrenner in Tampa to educate the children of fallen officers and firefighters here, quietly steering potential Silver Shield donations elsewhere.

Read it all here.

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