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Susan Little, DVM, DABVP

As President of the Winn Feline Foundation, I wanted to address the questions and concerns raised in your post. Our Treasurer, Betsy Gaither, has provided this response:

Winn Feline Foundation welcomes questions regarding our financial condition. Our form 990 is reconciled to the audited financial statements for the tax reporting year. The organization strives to keep our management and administrative costs to a minimum. We achieve this, in part, by generous donations from board members, officers, and friends of the organization. During the last fiscal year over 91 cents of each dollar donated was available for research. The industry standard is approximately 75 cents. We hope any review of our financial condition would encourage people to join us in our mission to improve the health of all cats through feline health studies and education.

The following addresses the issues raised. As a reminder, the form 990 is an informational return. There are no taxes due. Presentation may vary from entity to entity in some minor matters, but the overall financial situation is fairly represented.

1. 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.

>>> The money generated from donations that exceeded expenditures was held in cash or cash equivalents to fund the organization's grants and operations for the ensuing year. The $1.2 million in investments are endowed funds. The organization's policy states "the endowed fund is perpetual and cannot be spent." However, the income earned from the endowed fund can be spent on any aspect of the Winn Foundation operations and/or approved grants.

2. 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.

>>> What a wonderful commentary..."most of the spending went for grants". The donor advised (stipulated) funds were $191,376. The amount does not include the non-stipulated funds made available at the discretion of the organization from our general fund for research that we deemed worthy of funding. The sum of all grants was $243,398.

3. Let's note here that on page 9 we learn that the Form 990 was prepared by the unpaid treasurer of the organization.

>>> The treasurer is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in the state of Texas since 1978. Credentials and a brief history can be found on the web site on the page "about us". The treasurer elects to donate all services to prepare federal and state reporting requirements. Again this minimizes administrative costs.

4. 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.

>>> The web site address will be provided on future returns. The list of grants described for the $127,544 total was only those funded from our February, 2007 grant review. It did not include the grants approved at different times in the fiscal year.

5. 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.

>>> Winn is independent of the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) even though we acknowledge and thank CFA for launching this endeavor forty years ago this year. When and if services are provided by CFA, they are arms-length, market rate transactions. We are not related parties.

6. Unlike the Winn Foundation, the CFA form was prepared by a CPA

>>> Please see point 3 above.

Your interest in us is most appreciated. We hope to see you join our long list of dedicated donors that care about the welfare of cats.

Betsy Gaither, CPA
Treasurer, Winn Feline Foundation


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