Year End Donations for High School Athletes and Athletic Programs – Think Twice before giving to CCS or CIF

This is a busy time of year as businesses and individuals face year-end tax decisions related to their corporate and personal philanthropic donations. Across the country donations are down and deserving charities are struggling to stay afloat. In fact everything is down; wages, housing, 401Ks, school budgets,  and personal income – EXCEPT budgets for the  agencies that oversee high school sports programs  here in the Central Coast Section. Salaries for the  very few who manage these organizations, along with their office expenses,  rent , expense accounts and professional expenditures are way way up!

The Better Business Bureau’s standards for accountability dictate that a charity should spend at least 65% of its total expenditures on program activities. CCS and CIF are grossly out of line with these standards, spending less than 1% on awards or scholarships for athletes or administrative training.   For example in 2007/08 CCS collected $35,000 in sponsorship dollars, yet spent less than $4,000 on athletic awards. But that isn’t the entire story. Income in that same year for the Central Coast Section was $794,278. So if the money didn’t come from sponsors where did it come from and where did it go? $161,000 came from “sports fees “ charged to struggling member schools . Such fees are required by the CCS organization   to cover staff salaries and benefits , auto expenses, rent ,  office expenses   and other professional fees that result from the Section’s management . Schools were also charged $69,380 just to be members of CCS. And $483,000 came from events themselves; as parents , friends, supporters and athletes paid  gate fees or bought t-shirts during CCS events.

CIF and CCS Sponsors in the past have included:

Farmers Insurance        Sports Authority

Les Schwab                        CCPOA

Max Preps                          Herff Jones

Balfour                               Jostens

In 2007/08 CCS received $35,000 from these sponsors and in 2010/11 $42,000 was received . So sponsor dollars in the CCS organization are in fact up and while the intent of these companies has been to support high school athletics, they may want to reconsider how they continue to do that in the future. Perhaps donations could be made with stipulations such that gate fees are reduced or paid for families of athletes, donations could be made directly  to schools in the form of unrestricted gifts for athletic programs or scholarships could be crated in the business name that would provide a greater benefit to individual athletes or scholar athletes who demonstrate specific performance or character the business wishes to recognize.  Any  of these options would certainly give businesses more bang for their donation bucks and more direct exposure, rather than having their dollars buried in an organization and ultimately spent on excessive salaries and benefits.

2010-11  didn’t get any better for most  families, or  schools in California . And as businesses continue to struggle to maintain payrolls and benefits for their employees,  CCS  continues to enjoy increased salaries and benefits and increasing expenses.  In 2010/11 CCS expenses grew to $829,655.  “Sports Fees” charged to member schools  grew to $246,960 to  cover  rent increases ( from $60,000 to $78,000), salary and benefit  increases ( now up over $600K ) and  we can find no evidence that CCS attempted to contain or reduce any discretionary  expenses. This simply is unsustainable and threatens the financial viability of high school athletics for every athlete and program in the Central Coast Section.

So we encourage all generous sponsors to find new ways to support high school athletes and athletic programs  now and in the upcoming year. We encourage businesses to add morality clauses or make donations directly to schools,  programs and athletes where  funding is  needed most and is the most deserved.

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About ccswatchdog
Grassroots organization providing information to ensure fairness, transparency and accountability of CIF's Central Coast Section.

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