A small foundation supports some fascinating research into the origins of cat varieties. But their IRS reporting is quite a bit less enlightening.
A curious article about genetic research on cats showed up in the Washington Post (Rob Stein). Sure enough, the article mentioned involvement of a nonprofit, the Winn Feline Foundation (EIN 23-7138699 Form 990), as a funder of the research. The research was based on genetic data from 1,100 cats, including twenty-two breeds and seventeen random-bred populations on five continents and attempted to trace the migration of cat populations from their presumed site of domestication in the Middle East. The Post article covers the highlights, but anyone so inclined can read the complete author's manuscript provided free by the National Institutes of Health.
Of course, my interest lies more in cat organizations than in cats, so I took a closer look at the Winn Feline Foundation. It appears to be an all-volunteer organization, with no salaries reported. There is an executive director, but she received only $13, 070 in the column for expense accounts and other allowances. The foundation took in just shy of $400,000 in the fiscal year ended April, 2007 and spent a bit over $270,000. The rest went into increasing the organization's kitty (last cat pun, I hope) to about $1.2 million in investments and cash.
Most of the spending went for grants of about $191,000. This is reported on the line for grants from donor-advised funds, but I suspect that could be an error due to the new format of the Form 990 that separates out grants from donor-advised funds and lists them first. To further confuse matters, the form indicates that the grants consist of $243,398 in cash and no non-cash grants. Obviously , this doesn't add up. In addition, there is no scheduled attached detailing the recipients
of the grants (the new Form 990 helpfully reminds the preparer to
Let's note here that on page 9 we learn that the Form 990 was prepared by the unpaid treasurer of the organization.
While the Form 990 indicates that the organization doesn't have a website, I found it anyway. And lo and behold, it offers a list of the grants made in 2007, eight studies funded for a total of $127,544, yet another number inconsistent with either of the ones reported in the Form 990.
I also note on the web site that the Foundation was started by the Cat Fanciers Association (a 501(c)(4) social wefare organization, EIN 21-0700441 Form 990), with which it shares a mailing address. It's not clear whether there is any formal relationship between the two. The Cat Fanciers did provide $5,000 in funding to the Winn Foundation and they share an address, but that isn't conclusive. Neither organization reports the other as related; however, the Cat Fanciers don't even acknowledge their association with their own CFA Foundation (EIN 22-3372295, too small for a Form 990).
The Cat Fanciers Association is reasonably large, with over $2.2 million in revenue, mostly program service revenue from registration fees for pure bred cats. Officers receive minimal compensation (the president received $8,000). Staff expenses are reported as over $800,000. The web site of the CFA (likewise missing from the Form 990) indicates that there is a staff of twenty-one. However, line 90 of the Form 990, which is supposed to show the number of staff, is blank. Unlike the Winn Foundation, the CFA form was prepared by a CPA.