Charity Review

Issued: October 2015 Expires: October 2017

Charity Seal Holder

Lawyers For Children

Meets Standards
 
(212) 966-6420 110 Lafayette Street, 8th Floor, New York NY 10013-4116 www.lawyersforchildren.org
  1. Conclusions
  2. Purpose
  3. Programs
  4. Governance & Staff
  5. Fund Raising
  6. Tax Status
  7. Financial
Conclusions

Lawyers For Children meets the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.

Purpose

When children are in crisis, Lawyers For Children is at their side to provide protection, support and hope. LFC offers free legal and social work advocacy to abused and neglected children, children in foster care, and children in high conflict custody cases, insuring that every young person that we represent finds the love, safety and true sense of family that they need.

Incorporated: 1984 in NY

Programs

Since 1984, the attorneys and social workers at Lawyers For Children (LFC) have been transforming the hopes of children in foster care into reality, by providing critically needed, top quality legal representation and social work services. Every day, LFC staff can be found in the courtroom and in the community, advocating on behalf of children in New York City whose parents or guardians have voluntarily placed them into foster care, and children who are the subject of abuse, neglect, termination of parental rights, custody, visitation and adoption proceedings. We listen carefully to our clients, help them understand their options and vigorously advocate to protect their right to a safe, secure and supportive place to call home. For some clients, this means returning to live safely with their families. For others, it means speeding their adoption or, for many of our clients who are over 18, setting out on their own with the information and support necessary to establish homes of their own. In addition to our unique, multi-disciplinary approach to advocacy on behalf of individual children, we are committed to continually explore new and innovative special projects to protect and advocate for children, including: Education Advocacy Project for Youth in Foster Care, Mental Health Advocacy Project for Youth in Foster Care, Public Policy & Special Litigation, Child Sexual Abuse Evaluation & Education Project, Adolescents Confronting Transition (ACT) Project, Project on Behalf of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Youth in Foster Care, Project on Behalf of Children in Foster Care Exposed to Domestic Violence, Immigration Rights Project for Children in Foster Care, Groundbreaking Handbooks for Children in Foster Care.

Governance & Staff

Board Chair: Mr. John M Shapiro, Managing Director/Chieftain Capital Management

CEO: Ms. Karen Freedman, Executive Director Compensation:* $179,084

Board Size: 16

Staff: 60

* Compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts and other allowances.
Fund Raising
Method(s) used: Direct Mail Appeals Grant Proposals

% of Related Contributions on Fundraising: 3.23%

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 Lawyers For Children Audited Financial Statements for the fiscal year ending Monday, March 31, 2014.

Source of Funds
Grant - State of New York $5,518,932
Contributions $1,992,335
Other income $405
Special event income (net of direct benefit to donors of $1,311) $16,263
Donated services $173,457
Total Income: $7,701,392
 
Fusion Chart
 
Program Expenses: $7,048,393
Fundraising Expenses: $248,832
Administrative Expenses: $764,646
Total Expenses: $8,061,871
 
Income in Excess of Expenses: ($360,479)
 
Beginning Net Assets: $1,233,868
Ending Net Assets: $873,389
Total Liabilities: $105,661
Total Assets: $979,050


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.

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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.