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Philanthropy Today: Shriners Accused of Widespread Financial Misdeeds

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Philanthropy Today

Shriners Accused of Widespread Financial Misdeeds

March 19, 2007

The 135-year-old fraternal organization that runs the Shriners Hospitals for Children is fraught with questionable accounting practices that fail to support the group’s primary mission, reports The New York Times.

An investigation by the newspaper of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine found that only 2 percent of the operating expenses at the 22 hospitals run by the fraternal group came from money raised by Shrine temples and dues paid by the group’s 411,000 members. Most costs are paid for by the hospitals’ $9-billion endowment.

In 2005 the Shriners raised more than $32-million through bingo games, circuses, and other events, but more than 57 percent of this money went to support fraternity costs, including expenses for alcohol and trips to group meetings, the paper says.

The investigation found that a top Shrine official admitted that lack of proper accounting enabled the occurrence of fraud in over 30 temples.

Michael Andrews, executive vice president of the Imperial Council, defends the Shriners, citing an audit completed by the Internal Revenue Service in 1998 that he says found no financial dishonesty. Says Mr. Andrews, “I think you need to look at the big picture here: We probably do more for children with special needs than any other entity.”

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Monday March 19, 2007 | Permalink


I hope this report turns out to be wrong – since a major mistake by a big non-profit organization like this…reflects badly on the whole. However, if this is true…Mr. Andrews’ statement, (“I think you need to look at the big picture here: We probably do more for children with special needs than any other entity,”) is irrelevant. Non-compliance with proper accounting standards is non-compliance, no matter how good the organization’s intent or results; the ends don’t justify the means, EVER.

— Dan Larson Mar 19, 02:29 PM #

More can be read about the Shriners in the 14 article series I’ve written the past year at http://sandyfrost.newsvine.com.

Thank you,

Sandy Frost

— Sandy Frost Mar 19, 04:30 PM #

Further Reading:

The Royal Order of Jesters - The Shriners Secret Society Secret Society - 'Mirth is King'

The Shriners - The 'Krafty' Klowns