Amazing Tomchei Shabbos Organizations
SADLY NOT ALL RUN THE SAME WAY FINANCIALLY -TOMCHE ROCKLAND’S DISTURBING FINANCES…
By A Tomchei Shabbos Volunteer, May 31, 2016
Tomorrow, June 1, 2016, several Tomchei Shabbos organizations across the country will band together to promote an amazing fundraising campaign, including Baltimore, Lakewood, Chicago, Monsey, Queens, and Los Angeles. It is a 24 hour matching-gifts fundraiser trying to raise a wonderfully large sum of 3 million dollars!
Here is the website https://www.charidy.com/solvehungertoday
Since they put all of these Tomchei Shabbos organizations together on one pedestal, the question for any potential donors is, “Are they all being run the same way financially?”
Tomchei Shabbos organizations have traditionally been run by volunteers that don’t get any salaries. Every week, thousands of people across the country volunteer at every level of these organizations, to ensure that every single dollar received as a donation is used directly for the poor, with minimal overhead. Now it is totally understandable that many of these TS organizations have grown from a ‘mom and pop’ operation, and do require spending on necessary overhead (dinners, mailings, office expenses, etc), yet somehow, when it comes to actual manpower and man hours, the wonderful citizens of klal yisorel continue to donate their time and efforts for free, or at the very least, minimally. Yes, there are many tzedaka organizations that pay their executives larger salaries plus paid staff, and in most cases, they are totally justifiable because of the nature of that specific charitable mandate.
But Tomchei Shabbos, by its very own unique nature has for so many years been inherently run without compensating those involved, or at the very least minimally (compared to overall expenses), including those at the executive levels. Tomchei Shabbos and their affiliates are sterling name brands that are universally endorsed for their irrefutable reputations of volunteerism and minimal salaried overhead.
So I was curious, how much are they all actually distributing for charity? So I looked over the last few year’s tax returns of these 6 Tomchei Shabbos that are participating in the June 1st fundraiser, as well as 3 other Tomchei Shabbos organizations across the country, to get a sense of how they are all being run. What I found was 8 out of the 9 Tomchei Shabbos run a beautiful tight ship. As expected, many pay zero salaries, others average 2-3%, and just a few pay slightly more, all perpetuating the aforementioned unique nature that is a Tomche Shabbos tzedaka fund.
However, looking at the ninth, Tomche Shabbos of Rockland, Monsey NY, (https://www.tomcheshabbos.org/) I saw a disturbing and very stark contrast compared to all the other eight TS organizations.
Over the last few years, Tomche Shabbos of Rockland has consistently paid both the highest percentage of executive salaries versus total charities distributed, an average of 13%(!), as well as the actual dollars paid, most recently $308,181 annually(!!).
See the following Salaries Comparison Report for all 9 Tomchei Shabbos. See the difference among them!
Please note, I am NOT knocking the great work that Tomchei Shabbos of Rockland does, they clearly help the underprivileged in Monsey. But if they would run it like all the other Tomchei Shabbos across America, then an additional $150,000-$300,000 annually could be ‘found’ and allocated directly to the poor. How’s that for a common sense fundraiser?
Looking specifically at TS Rockland’s tax returns from the last few years, one finds several disturbing things (http://www.guidestar.org/profile/13-3694712) :
313-E Spook Rock Road
Suffern, NY 10901
Mr. Alan Rosenstock
PO Box 847
Monsey, NY 10952
313-E Spook Rock Road
Suffern, NY 10901
Cause Area (NTEE Code)
Human Service Organizations (P20)
Meals on Wheels (K36)
Human Service Organizations (P20)
IRS Filing Requirement
This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.
(1) It seems that this $300K+ salary is primarily for 2 people. Including employee benefits and payroll taxes, they each average an over $120-$130,000 salary!
I called a Monsey resident, and was informed that Alan Rosentock is the founder and primary employee. So even if one could justify such a high salary for one person at a Tomchei Shabbos (assuming they are working full-time on this), why does employee #2 need to get paid over $120,000-$130,000 a year including benefits and payroll taxes? Is he working full time on this (40+ hrs), every week of the year? And why can’t Tomche Shabbos of Rockland find someone who’ll do these jobs, for far less, even for free, just like all the other Tomchei Shabbos across the country? Why do they need to pay 2 full time large executive salaries, when they have access to a fantastic and robust community that already volunteers for them in the hundreds? Looking at Tomche Shabbos Rockland’s website, one can see they also provide many services; but so do the other Tomchei Shabbos across America, and they do it for free or minimally. In fact, many of the other organizations are much larger and complex, yet pay far less salaries or nothing at all.
(2) It seems they have illegally misstated their tax returns since 2013. It clearly states on Page 7, that any Trustee, or highest compensated employee, particularly anyone getting paid over $10,000 annually, must be listed on Page 7.
See the attached 2011 and 2012 tax returns, where they list on Page 7, two employees, Alan Rosenstock and Jacob Moskowitz, who got paid salaries. However, starting with the 2013 tax return, Jacob Moskowitz’s name is dropped from Page 7, and simply relegated to the total amounts of salaries – ‘no names’, on Page 10, line items 7, 9, and 10. The salaries didn’t go down, in fact, they went up that year. Looking at their website, Jacob Moskowitz is still listed as Director, a title that most definitely warrants being listed in name and salary amount on Page 7 of their tax returns.
(3) Another questionable find was the minimal amount of people who are on the Board, controlling so much money, some who even get a salary. In particular, up until 2012, of the 4 Board members listed, 2 were getting full salaries. Now there are officially only 3 board members listed, one of which is getting a full salary (The other full salary is still being paid, just not listed on the correct page). It seems fiscally irresponsible that:
(a) A board member that decides on any financial decisions is getting a salary.
(b) Such a multimillion dollar charity should have so few people on its Board running it (Just 3 board members in this case). This can lead to irregularities such as financial conflict of interests, self dealing, minimal self governance, etc. The bigger the amounts distributed, in this case millions, the more board members are necessary to ensure complete transparency. And looking at the aforementioned items, as well as comparing to the other Tomchei Shabbos, these irregularities are to be found here.
Once again, I am not knocking the work done by Tomchei Shabbos of Rockland (https://www.tomcheshabbos.org/).
But I am questioning their Board’s handling of its finances. This is a massive red flag! Why are their salaries astronomically and substantially much more than literally every single other Tomche Shabbos in America that run the same type of organization on much leaner salaries, or none whatsoever, by utilizing non-paid volunteers. Monsey has enough people that I am sure would do this all for free or minimally, so why are they spending over $300,000 on executive salaries?
To reiterate, I am not questioning their good work, I’m just questioning their usage of public donations for their extremely high executive salaries, especially compared to all the other Tomchei Shabbos across America.