Charity Review

Issued: November 2014 Expires: December 2016

Blue Skies For Children

Standards Not Met
 
(360) 756-6710 2505 Cedarwood Ave STE 5, Bellingham WA 98225-1464 www.blueskiesforchildren.org
  1. Conclusions
  2. Purpose
  3. Programs
  4. Fund Raising
  5. Tax Status
  6. Financial
  7. Affiliates
Conclusions

Blue Skies For Children does not meet the following 1 Standards for Charity Accountability.

Standard 11: Audit Report - Make available to all, on request, complete annual financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. When total annual gross income exceeds $500,000, these statements should be audited in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. For charities whose annual gross income is less than $500,000, a review by a certified public accountant is sufficient to meet this standard. For charities whose annual gross income is less than $250,000, an internally produced, complete financial statement is sufficient to meet this standard.

Blue Skies For Children does not meet this standard because:

Blue Skies for Children does not meet Standard 11 because it does not have financial statements that were reviewed by a certified public accountant (CPA). A review is an accounting service providing some assurance to interested parties as to the reliability of financial data without the CPA conducting an examination in accordance with Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS).

Purpose

The mission of Blue Skies for Children is to raise hope and self esteem by sponsoring enrichment activities and other essentials for homeless, low-income and foster children.

Incorporated: 2002 in WA

Programs

Blue Skies for Children offers the following programs and services: Little Wishes Enrichment Program- Grants Little Wishes for ongoing support of lessons and activities including, but not limited to, art lessons, music lessons such as piano, violin or guitar, as well as martial arts, team sports, individual activities such as swimming lessons, dance, ballet, gymnastics, ice skating, ice hockey, horseback riding and soccer. One-Time Little Wishes Program- Grants Little Wishes for support of school trip fees, summer camp enrollment fees, bicycle and helmet, special needs equipment, tutoring, computers, school related supplies such as a scientific calculator, or an ASB card (required to participate in school sports), sports fees and/or uniforms, cleats and other items. Little Wishes Instrument Loaner Program- Loans musical instruments to children who wish to participate in their school band or orchestra, but find they are unable to afford the monthly rental cost of an instrument. Blue Skies inventory of instruments includes wind instruments, brass, strings, keyboards and drums. Back-to-School Program- Provides children in need with a voucher to obtain clothing, shoes, underwear, socks and a warm coat. Emergency Program- Provides emergency clothing and/or a backpack and school supplies for children who are in emergent or dire distress. Children are referred to Blue Skies by various community agencies. Children who receive services from our emergency program have experienced, for example, a house fire and have lost everything, or have escaped a domestic violence or sexual assault situation and are suddenly living in a shelter, having left home with only the clothes on their back. Winter Warm-Up Program- The Winter Warm-Up Program provides children in need with a new or gently used coat, hat, gloves, scarf, hooded sweatshirt and/or blanket. The Alex Pempe Youth Runners Fund- In memory of Alex Pempe, this fund has been established to support children in need who love to run and participates in school track or cross country and needs running shoes, or wish to participate in a running based meet, competition or other event that requires entrance fees. The Josh Fueston Memorial Swim to Live Fund In memory of Josh Fueston, this fund has been established to support children in need who love to swim and wish to participate on the Bellingham Bay Swim team. The fund also offers help with swim meet fees, swim lessons, developmental delay swim therapy & supplies and pool passes. Driver's Education Scholarship Program- The purpose is to help local teens (ages 15 to 17) overcome the cost associated with driver's education fees. Just three scholarships are awarded in Spring and three in Fall to candidates meeting all application requirements and income eligibility. Sponsor-A-Child Program- The program assigns one sponsor to one child enrolled in an ongoing enrichment activity. Although the two shall never meet in person, the sponsor will receive a photo of their child, their age, their personal story and quarterly updates on the child's growth and progress in their activity.

Fund Raising

Blue Skies for Children utilizes direct mail appeals, invitations to fundraising events, print advertisements, and grant proposals as its methods of fundraising.

Blue Skies for Children receives funding from donations, grants and special events. According to its internally-produced financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013, its fundraising expenses, $33,710, were 13.7% of related contributions, $244,906.

Tax Status

This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.

Financial

The following information is based on Blue Skies For Children IRS Form 990 for the fiscal year ending Tuesday, December 31, 2013.

Source of Funds
Unrestricted contributions $15,769
Restricted contributions $50
Little Wishes contributions $30
Sponsor a Child $9,825
Special Little Wish $640
Shoe Drive $116
Instrument Loaner & Rental Revenue $913
In-Kind contributions $63,156
Work Study Program $2,402
Josh Fueston Swim Fund $3,000
Monthly Giving $2,075
Newsletter income $2,665
Unrestricted Grants $16,500
Restricted Little Wishes grants $21,781
Foster Kids contributions $4,500
Casino Night $10,981
Auction $76,593
Garage Sale $6,309
Memorial/Gifts $150
Other special events $13,431
Sale of shirts $83
Interest $31
Total Income: $251,000
 
Fusion Chart
 
Program Expenses: $147,785
Fundraising Expenses: $33,710
Administrative Expenses: $38,693
Total Expenses: $220,188
 
Income in Excess of Expenses: $30,812
 
Beginning Net Assets: $0
Ending Net Assets: $149,263
Total Liabilities: $4,266
Total Assets: $153,529


An organization may change its practices at any time without notice. A copy of this report has been shared with the organization prior to publication. It is not intended to recommend or deprecate, and is furnished solely to assist you in exercising your own judgment. If the report is about a charity and states the charity meets or does not meet the Standards for Charity Accountability, it reflects the results of an evaluation of information and materials provided voluntarily by the charity. The name Better Business Bureau is a registered service mark of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.

This report is not to be used for fund raising or promotional purposes.

Standards Legend

  • Meets Standards IconMeets Standards
  • Standards Not Met IconStandards Not Met
  • Did Not Disclose IconDid Not Disclose
  • Review in Progress IconReview in Progress
  • Unable to Verify IconUnable to Verify
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Standard 1: Board Oversight


Description:

Organizations shall have a board of directors that provides adequate oversight of the charity's operations and its staff. Indication of adequate oversight includes, but is not limited to, regularly scheduled appraisals of the CEO's performance, evidence of disbursement controls such as board approval of the budget, fund raising practices, establishment of a conflict of interest policy, and establishment of accounting procedures sufficient to safeguard charity finances.

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Standard 2: Board Size


Description:

Soliciting organizations shall have a board of directors with a minimum of five voting members.

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Standard 3: Board Meetings


Description:

An organization shall have a minimum of three evenly spaced meetings per year of the full governing body with a majority in attendance, with face-to-face participation. A conference call of the full board can substitute for one of the three meetings of the governing body. For all meetings, alternative modes of participation are acceptable for those with physical disabilities.

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Standard 4: Board Compensation


Description:

Not more than one or 10% (whichever is greater) directly or indirectly compensated person(s) serving as voting member(s) of the board. Compensated members shall not serve as the board's chair or treasurer.

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Standard 5: Conflict of Interest


Description:

No transaction(s) in which any board or staff members have material conflicting interests with the charity resulting from any relationship or business affiliation. Factors that will be considered when concluding whether or not a related party transaction constitutes a conflict of interest and if such a conflict is material, include, but are not limited to: any arm's length procedures established by the charity; the size of the transaction relative to like expenses of the charity; whether the interested party participated in the board vote on the transaction; if competitive bids were sought and whether the transaction is one-time, recurring or ongoing.

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Standard 6: Effectiveness Policy


Description:

Have a board policy of assessing, no less than every two years, the organization's performance and effectiveness and of determining future actions required to achieve its mission.

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Standard 7: Effectiveness Report


Description:

Submit to the organization's governing body, for its approval, a written report that outlines the results of the aforementioned performance and effectiveness assessment and recommendations for future actions.

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Standard 8: Program Expenses


Description:

Spend at least 65% of its total expenses on program activities.

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Standard 9: Fund Raising Expenses


Description:

Spending should be no more than 35% of related contributions on fund raising. Related contributions include donations, legacies, and other gifts received as a result of fund raising efforts.

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Standard 10: Accumulating Funds


Description:

Avoid accumulating funds that could be used for current program activities. To meet this standard, the charity's unrestricted net assets available for use should not be more than three times the size of the past year's expenses or three times the size of the current year's budget, whichever is higher.

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Standard 11: Audit Report


Description:

Make available to all, on request, complete annual financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. When total annual gross income exceeds $500,000, these statements should be audited in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. For charities whose annual gross income is less than $500,000, a review by a certified public accountant is sufficient to meet this standard. For charities whose annual gross income is less than $250,000, an internally produced, complete financial statement is sufficient to meet this standard.

Blue Skies For Children does not meet meet this standard because:

Blue Skies for Children does not meet Standard 11 because it does not have financial statements that were reviewed by a certified public accountant (CPA). A review is an accounting service providing some assurance to interested parties as to the reliability of financial data without the CPA conducting an examination in accordance with Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS).

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Standard 12: Detailed Expense Breakdown


Description:

Include in the financial statements a breakdown of expenses (e.g., salaries, travel, postage, etc.) that shows what portion of these expenses was allocated to program, fund raising, and administrative activities. If the charity has more than one major program category, the schedule should provide a breakdown for each category.

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Standard 13: Accurate Expense Reporting


Description:

Accurately report the charity's expenses, including any joint cost allocations, in its financial statements. For example, audited or unaudited statements which inaccurately claim zero fund raising expenses or otherwise understate the amount a charity spends on fund raising, and/or overstate the amount it spends on programs will not meet this standard.

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Standard 14: Budget Plan


Description:

Have a board-approved annual budget for its current fiscal year, outlining projected expenses for major program activities, fund raising, and administration.

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Standard 15: Truthful Materials


Description:

Have solicitations and informational materials, distributed by any means, that are accurate, truthful and not misleading, both in whole and in part. Appeals that omit a clear description of program(s) for which contributions are sought will not meet this standard. A charity should also be able to substantiate that the timing and nature of its expenditures are in accordance with what is stated, expressed, or implied in the charity's solicitations.

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Standard 16: Annual Report


Description:

Have an annual report available to all, on request, that includes: (a) the organization's mission statement, (b) a summary of the past year's program service accomplishments, (c) a roster of the officers and members of the board of directors, (d) financial information that includes (i) total income in the past fiscal year, (ii) expenses in the same program, fund raising and administrative categories as in the financial statements, and (iii) ending net assets.

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Standard 17: Website Disclosures


Description:

Include on any charity websites that solicit contributions, the same information that is recommended for annual reports, as well as the mailing address of the charity and electronic access to its most recent IRS Form 990.

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Standard 18: Donor Privacy


Description:

Address privacy concerns of donors by (a) providing in written appeals, at least annually, a means (e.g., such as a check off box) for both new and continuing donors to inform the charity if they do not want their name and address shared outside the organization, (b) providing a clear, prominent and easily accessible privacy policy on any of its websites that tells visitors (i) what information, if any, is being collected about them by the charity and how this information will be used, (ii) how to contact the charity to review personal information collected and request corrections, (iii) how to inform the charity (e.g., a check off box) that the visitor does not wish his/her personal information to be shared outside the organization, and (iv) what security measures the charity has in place to protect personal information.

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Standard 19: Cause Marketing Disclosures


Description:

Clearly disclose how the charity benefits from the sale of products or services (i.e., cause-related marketing) that state or imply that a charity will benefit from a consumer sale or transaction. Such promotions should disclose, at the point of solicitation: (a) the actual or anticipated portion of the purchase price that will benefit the charity (e.g., 5 cents will be contributed to abc charity for every xyz company product sold), (b) the duration of the campaign (e.g., the month of October), (c) any maximum or guaranteed minimum contribution amount (e.g., up to a maximum of $200,000).

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Standard 20: Complaints


Description:

Respond promptly to and act on complaints brought to its attention by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and/or local Better Business Bureaus about fund raising practices, privacy policy violations and/or other issues.