Charity Review

Issued: September 2016 Expires: September 2018

Accelerate Institute

 
(312) 216-1700 833 West Jackson Boulevard , Chicago IL 60607 www.accelerateinstitute.org/
  1. Conclusions
  2. Purpose
  3. Programs
  4. Governance & Staff
  5. Fund Raising
  6. Tax Status
  7. Financial
  8. BBB Comment
Conclusions

Accelerate Institute does not meet the following 8 Standards for Charity Accountability.

Standard 1: Board Oversight - 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.

Accelerate Institute does not meet this standard because:

They have a voting member of the board who is assigned the responsibility of serving as the treasurer. In general, the board’s treasurer helps provide independent oversight of the organization’s finances.

Standard 2: Board Size - Soliciting organizations shall have a board of directors with a minimum of five voting members.

Accelerate Institute does not meet this standard because:

The organization has THREE (3) voting members of the board.

Standard 3: Board Meetings - 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.

Accelerate Institute does not meet this standard because:

The board of directors did not hold a minimum of three evenly spaced meetings in the past fiscal year.

Standard 6: Effectiveness Policy - 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.

Accelerate Institute does not meet this standard because:

The board of directors does not have a written policy stating that, at least every two years, an appraisal be done assessing the organization’s performance and effectiveness and determining future actions required to achieve its mission.

Standard 7: Effectiveness Report - 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.

Accelerate Institute does not meet this standard because:

It has never completed an effectiveness assessment.

Standard 16: Annual Report - 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.

Accelerate Institute does not meet this standard because:

The organization states it does not have an annual report covering activities conducted in the past year.

Standard 17: Website Disclosures - 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.

Accelerate Institute does not meet this standard because:

The organization's website, http://www.accelerateinstitute.org/, does not include all of the recommended information for those charity websites that solicit for donations. Specifically, it does not include:
A summary of program service accomplishments.
Total income.
Total program expenses.
Total fund raising expenses.
Total administrative expenses.
End of year net assets.
Electronic access to the organization’s most recent IRS Form 990.

Standard 18: Donor Privacy - 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.

Accelerate Institute does not meet this standard because:

The privacy policy on this website, http://www.accelerateinstitute.org/ does not indicate:
What personal information is being collected and how it will be used.
How to contact the charity to review personal information that is collected and request corrections.
How to inform the charity that the visitor does not want his/her information shared with others.

Purpose

 Accelerate Institute is an organization focused on closing the achievement gap by creating high impact school leaders that accelerate student achievement. The Institute is anchored by four programs: The Ryan Fellowship, which seeks to solve the issue of under-performing urban charter schools by identifying and developing transformational school principals with expertise in accelerating student achievement through a one-year fellowship and two years of mentored support; The Accelerator Principal Program, which partners with sitting principals to provide professional development and coaching in accelerating student achievement; The Ryan Award, which honors successful transformational school principals in the United States, engaging them in developing the next generation of school leaders; and Alain Locke Charter School, the organization’s subsidiary. 

Incorporated: 1992 in IL

Programs

The Ryan Fellowship, which seeks to solve the issue of under-performing urban charter schools by identifying and developing transformational school principals with expertise in accelerating student achievement through a one-year fellowship and two years of mentored support; The Accelerator Principal Program, which partners with sitting principals to provide professional development and coaching in accelerating student achievement; The Ryan Award, which honors successful transformational school principals in the United States, engaging them in developing the next generation of school leaders; and Alain Locke Charter School, the organization’s subsidiary.

For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2015, Accelerate Institute's program expenses were:

   
Alain Locke Charter School            5,509,536
Accelerate                                       2,088,081
Other                                                188,618
Inner-City Teaching Corps               2,921
Total Program Expenses:          $7,789,156

Governance & Staff

Board Chair/CEO: Ms. Nora Ligurotis, President & CEO

Board Chair: Mr. Patrick Ryan Jr. , CEO

Board Size: 3

Staff: 19

Fund Raising
Method(s) used: Direct Mail Appeals Invitations to Fundraising Events Print Advertisements (Newspapers, Magazines, etc.) Grant Proposals Internet Appeals

% of Related Contributions on Fundraising: 7.24%

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 Accelerate Institute's Consolidated Audited Financial Statements for the fiscal year ending Tuesday, June 30, 2015.

Source of Funds
State and Local Government Funding $4,797,907
Contributions $2,447,956
Program Fee Revenue $1,242,989
Grants and Awards $595,867
Net Assets Released from Restrictions $198,621
Interest and Other Income $46,661
Total Income: $9,330,001
 
Fusion Chart
 
Program Expenses: $7,789,156
Fundraising Expenses: $567,917
Administrative Expenses: $601,949
Total Expenses: $8,959,022
 
Income in Excess of Expenses: $370,979
 
Beginning Net Assets: $1,751,038
Ending Net Assets: $2,133,535
Total Liabilities: $822,195
Total Assets: $2,955,730

BBB Comment

Affiliates: Alain Locke Charter School 


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.

Accelerate Institute does not meet meet this standard because:

They have a voting member of the board who is assigned the responsibility of serving as the treasurer. In general, the board’s treasurer helps provide independent oversight of the organization’s finances.

Close

Standard 2: Board Size


Description:

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

Accelerate Institute does not meet meet this standard because:

The organization has THREE (3) voting members of the board.

Close

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.

Accelerate Institute does not meet meet this standard because:

The board of directors did not hold a minimum of three evenly spaced meetings in the past fiscal year.

Close

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.

Accelerate Institute does not meet meet this standard because:

The board of directors does not have a written policy stating that, at least every two years, an appraisal be done assessing the organization’s performance and effectiveness and determining future actions required to achieve its mission.

Close

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.

Accelerate Institute does not meet meet this standard because:

It has never completed an effectiveness assessment.

Close

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.

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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.

Close

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.

Accelerate Institute does not meet meet this standard because:

The organization states it does not have an annual report covering activities conducted in the past year.

Close

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.

Accelerate Institute does not meet meet this standard because:

The organization's website, http://www.accelerateinstitute.org/, does not include all of the recommended information for those charity websites that solicit for donations. Specifically, it does not include:
A summary of program service accomplishments.
Total income.
Total program expenses.
Total fund raising expenses.
Total administrative expenses.
End of year net assets.
Electronic access to the organization’s most recent IRS Form 990.

Close

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.

Accelerate Institute does not meet meet this standard because:

The privacy policy on this website, http://www.accelerateinstitute.org/ does not indicate:
What personal information is being collected and how it will be used.
How to contact the charity to review personal information that is collected and request corrections.
How to inform the charity that the visitor does not want his/her information shared with others.

Close

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.