LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Bay Area): San Francisco charity, "Helpers Community Inc.," questionable practices?: "A fashionable San Francisco charity's ugly reality" ....
* San Francisco Chronicle: "A fashionable San Francisco charity's ugly reality" - From the Chronicle:
San Francisco socialite Joy Venturini Bianchi has long been a striking presence among the city’s elite, soliciting donations and earning accolades from fashion icons, philanthropists and politicians for the cause she says propels her: helping people with developmental disabilities. At a recent VIP fundraiser at Ghirardelli Square, Bianchi, 78, beamed in a silver-sequined dress and her signature oversized eyeglasses as she received a state Senate resolution honoring her “outstanding community service” and “high business ethics.”
Yet some donors to Bianchi’s 60-year-old charity have struggled with concerns that their donations were misused, raising doubts they said were never resolved.
A Chronicle examination of the public financial records of Helpers Community Inc. — known until 2015 as Helpers of the Mentally Retarded — shows the $6 million charity indeed appears to have strayed from its cause, pursuing questionable practices with scant oversight from a small board that includes its director, Bianchi, and her longtime friend.
Over the last decade, filings to the Internal Revenue Service reveal the nonprofit has done little charitable work while amassing millions of dollars in assets and donations and generously compensating Bianchi, whose work includes attending red-carpet galas from Beverly Hills to Manhattan where she appears alongside celebrities such as Demi Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow and Katy Perry.
Five accounting experts and a former bookkeeper for Helpers, who reviewed 18 years of the charity’s financial disclosures to the IRS at The Chronicle’s request, questioned Helpers’ legitimacy as a nonprofit and cautioned future donors about contributing .......................