Federal filings leave doubts about how much charities benefit from this PGA tour golf tournament.
A little piece in the Gwinnett Daily Post (Ryan Crawford) called attention to the sky-high prices at the fast food concessions serving the AT&T Classic golf event in Duluth, Georgia, which, the reporter notes, are made palatable by the fact that some of the money goes to charity. The food service company gets volunteers from about ten local nonprofits to staff to run the concessions, who in turn get to keep half the proceeds, the rest going to the Atlanta Classic Foundation (EIN 58-0976083 Form 990), which runs the tournament.
Charity features prominently in the promotional materials relating to the PGA Tour (EIN 52-0999206 Form 990), which is itself a 501(c)(6) business league with three quarters of a billion in income from media rights, licensing fees, and sponsorship.
Of course, I had to take a look at the federal Form 990 to see if I could follow the money. What I found is that Atlanta Classic Foundation, despite its name, is a 501(c)(4) civic organization rather than a 501(c)(3) charity. Its sole source of income is the golf tournament, which brought in just a short putt under $10 million in 2006. After expenses of roughly $8.3 million, that leaves $1.7 million, which corresponds to the figure quoted on the AT&T Classic's web page as the amount contributed to local organizations.
But it's not that simple. Page two of the Form 990 shows that that bulk of the expenses go to management and general expenses. Executive director David Kaplan claims $119,662 for a 37.5 hour a week job managing the staff of eight, who collectively earned $259,007. Other large expenses include something called "marketing" ($286,772), insurance ($92,782), printing & publication ($82,271), something called "services" ($47,384), and bank fees ($31,434!). The amount listed as grants to other organizations is just $498,378. Reading through the report, we see that this entire amount was paid to an affiliated organization, Atlanta Classic Foundation Charities (EIN 58-2482635 Form 990).
So that takes us to another Form 990. The charities organization reports $684,947 in cash income, about $186,000 more than what the other organization paid, but it could have some direct contributions. It has no other sources of income.
On the expense side, it shows $119,215 being paid for still more tournament operations and about $17,000 in management and general expenses (including $4,164 more in bank fees—these guys should really look into getting a free checking account!) That leaves $554,391, which is listed in the other expense section of the form rather than on line 22 where it belongs. Line 22 instructs the organization to attach a schedule of the grants and allocations. But no schedule is attached, so we are left to wonder exactly who received that half million.
All the event's promotion says that the main charity beneficiary is Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (Foundation EIN 58-1710601 Form 990), whose current Form 990 (2005) shows cash contributions of $55 million. So they aren't at all dependent upon the proceeds of the AT&T Classic. Still, it would be nice if this organization could put the same amount of care into reporting its charitable activities as it does in putting on its golf events.