Charity Review

Issued: January 2017 Expires: January 2019

Bridges To Life

Accredited Charity
Meets Standards
 
(713) 463-7200 PO Box 570895, Houston TX 77257-0895 www.bridgestolife.org
  1. Conclusions
  2. Purpose
  3. Programs
  4. Governance & Staff
  5. Fund Raising
  6. Financial
Conclusions

Bridges To Life meets the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.

Purpose

The mission of BTL is to connect communities to prisons in an effort to reduce the recidivism rate (particularly that resulting from violent crimes), reduce the number of crime victims, and enhance public safety.

Incorporated: 1998 in TX

Also Known As: BTL

Programs

Bridges To Life (BTL) was founded in 1998 by Houstonian John Sage after
the brutal murder of his sister, Marilyn, in 1993. Based on the
principles of restorative justice, the BTL program takes crime victims
into the prison system with the intent of reducing crime in the
community by lowering the recidivism rate of the offenders who complete
our 14-week program. BTL accomplishes its goal of empowering victims and
rehabilitating inmates by showing offenders the impact their actions
have had, not only on their families, but also on the families of the
victims, their friends, and the community at large.

Bridges To Life serves both the adult and juvenile justice system, and
has completed over 640 projects in 50 Texas prisons and juvenile
facilities. Offenders who participate in the BTL program recidivate at a
lower rate than the national average, making our communities safer. The
BTL program has two main goals: (1) to reduce recidivism rates of
program graduates and (2) to facilitate the healing process for both
victims and offenders. More than 23,500 offenders have graduated from
Bridges To Life since its inception. BTL has worked in 67 prisons, and
its curriculum has also been used in eleven other states and four
foreign countries.

In 2014, the Bridges To Life program provided services to nearly 3,900
offenders, at a cost below $210 per offender.

Governance & Staff

CEO: Mr. John Sage, Founder and CEO Business Affiliation: Bridges To Life

Board Chair: Mr. Kirk Blackard, Author; Licensed Arbitrator

Board Size: 9

Staff: 15

Fund Raising
Method(s) used: Direct Mail Appeals Telephone Appeals Invitations to Fundraising Events Grant Proposals

% of Related Contributions on Fundraising: 5.12%

Financial

The following information is based on Bridges To Life Audited Financial Statements for the fiscal year ending Saturday, December 31, 2016.

Source of Funds
Contributions $2,723,245
Special events $65,400
Investment revenue $10,548
Sales of publications $6,857
Total Income: $2,806,050
 
Fusion Chart
 
Program Expenses: $2,531,017
Fundraising Expenses: $142,679
Administrative Expenses: $52,094
Total Expenses: $2,725,790
 
Income in Excess of Expenses: $80,260
 
Beginning Net Assets: $1,309,033
Ending Net Assets: $1,389,293
Total Liabilities: $21,800
Total Assets: $1,411,092


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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.

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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.