I’m short on time today, so I will just share this little nugget I discovered while looking into another issue. Joy Junction is an important charity in the Albuquerque area; they’re a homeless shelter with religious affiliations, and they provide emergency housing, some of it long-term, and they make the news every winter when there’s a nasty cold snap here in the high desert by rounding up at-risk homeless people. They do real yeoman’s work, as far as I can tell.
Here’s a quote from their website [link] regarding financial transparency:
Joy Junction is classified by the Internal Revenue Service as a (501) (C) (3) church organization. As a result, salaries do not have to be made public, according Joy Junction business and operations manager Frank Tercero. Release of such information would be a violation of policy as set by the board of directors, he said.
So there you go; the body of the article is official Joy Junction flak, about how they’re a dedicated, hard-working charitable organization with a small budget they stretch to do important, difficult work, and how their executive management are all poor, poorly-paid people themselves. And yet they bring up the subject of executive compensation and explicitly say that it is not their policy to disclose compensation, as if that were an appropriate answer.
I’m at a loss here; if I were looking for a homeless shelter to give money to, Joy Junction would be one of the first I’d look at. But if I were listing warning signs of financial misdealing this would be one of the most important. “Why aren’t we transparent? Because we don’t have to, legally, and it isn’t our policy.”
I don’t know what to make of this attitude. I’m always saddened and surprised when I see it; my reading of the rest of the article suggests that Joy Junction’s primary audience for the article is their occasional patron who thinks they’re handling lots of money, shortchange their patrons on food, etc. Still from my perspective it sounds like a straw man argument, and like transparency isn’t really one of Joy Junction’s core values.
I don’t know what to do with the “if I answer your questions you’ll just ask more questions” mindset, and this seems to be a pretty good example.