Money Mysteries Part 1: Hurricane Katrina HSUS Fundraising

MoneyDownTheDrain  Its tough times all around, making it difficult not to focus on the idea of money: who has it, how they got it, where they spend it and why.  This led me back to the memory of the contraversy surrounding HSUS fundraising for Hurricane Katrina and the inquiry started by the Louisiana State Attorney General.

Although blog entries abound on this topic, I decided to go back to the true information source, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) itself.  Upon review of HSUS two year anniversary summary of the use of the funds and of their 2005, 2006 and 2007 income tax records, there appear to be valid questions about the use of the funds donated for the purpose of helping animals affected Hurricane  Katrina.

According to the HSUS, $34.6 million was raised for the assistance of Katrina animals.  Yet according to 2005 income tax records, the year of Katrina, the HSUS only dispersed $8.6 million in grants for its worldwide grants base including its major grants to Louisiana groups.  The worldwide grants distributed in 2005 were only $2 million higher than the levels subsequently seen in 2006 and 2007, despite gross receipts of nearly $124 million and net assets of over $200 million at the end of 2005. 

Even by the numbers in the HSUS’ own article, the funds dispersed for the purposes of Katrina related activities total just under $18 million or 52% of the funds.  The remaining amount,  over $16.5 million dollars cannot be accounted for through HSUS provided documentation through investigation of its tax records.

There can’t be much, if any, activity related to Katrina affected animals stated as the original purpose of the fundraising.  If the remaining 48% of the money wasn’t been used for Katrina animals, then what has it been used for?  Unfortunately, the inquiry was called off shortly after the announcement of the HSUS championed cockfighting bill being passed into law.  As a result, these questions go unanswered and so they will remain.

 Copyright 2009 by Erica Saunders
All rights reserved

HSUS Katrina 2 year anniversary article

HSUS 2005, 2006 & 2007 Tax records