It is likely you would be reading the title of today's blog as another missive about the role of nonprofit boards in raising funds for their nonprofit. In a way it is but not probably the way you would expect.
As reported in Sunday's Washington Post, the FBI has been conducting a sting operation centered around college basketball and the use of a nonprofit as a pass-through for the distribution of money to families who's kids would be players for xyz colleges. According to the FBI who participated in a meeting that included an assistant coach from Louisville:
....payments from Adidas to an unnamed high school basketball player and his family to ensure the player eventually attended Louisville, whose basketball team is sponsored by the shoe company.
The nonprofit serving at the center of these transactions is called The League Initiative.
The nonprofit’s mission, according to documents filed with the state, is “to enhance the lives of youth by exposing them to opportunities that will realize their potential including support for education, mentorship, and fitness.
Do note, that Louisville is not the only college athletics program involved in this fraud which the FBI is labeling the Sportswear Company Fraud Scheme.
So here we have a nonprofit being used as a cover for illegal activities. A visit to Guidestar shows The League Initiative having started in 2015 and having provided no information on its activities, program or financial. There is no list of board members. And of course, the League Initiative's website is "under construction". Do we think there ever was an legitimate nonprofit here? And what about the so-called board members? It certainly wouldn't take long to find-out their connections to the primary suspect in this case who is referred to by the FBI as the individual who "controls" the nonprofit. In this case, the quickest route to following the money is to look at the board members who appear to be on the receiving rather than raising end of fundraising.
I'm thinking that even if the FBI's case breaks-down, the IRS and the State of Florida have enough evidence that the nonprofit organization is a fraud - at minimum raising money from "donors" and not pursuing mission although one could argue that steering athletes to certain colleges does help these students "realize their potential".