(Griffith, Indiana) - Lake Area United Way and 22 of its Member Agencies have successfully completed and met all 20 Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana Standards for Charitable Accountability. The distinction will allow LAUW and its approved agencies to use the BBB Accredited Charity Seal as being in compliance with the watchdog group’s rigorous standards.
The standards seek to encourage fair and honest solicitation practices, to promote ethical conduct by charitable organizations and to advance support of philanthropy. The standards include an intensive review of a nonprofits governance and oversight, finances, transparency, measurements of effectiveness, and fundraising practices.
“We must be diligent in our work to ensure excellence in how we protect the investments of our donors. We must always be above reproach. Our donors and volunteers trust United Way to be a good steward of their contributions,” said Lou Martinez, president of LAUW. “We are committed to accountability and transparency in all aspects of our operations.”
“This is a project that LAUW and our agencies have been working toward for the last two and a half years,” said Martinez. “Our goal is to have all United Way agencies to be certified by the Better Business Bureau by the end of the year.”
Amy Kill, charity review analyst at the BBB Northern Indiana’s office in Fort Wayne, said LAUW and the approved 22 member agencies should be complimented. “They stepped up saying, ‘We want to be part of your Seal program.’ That’s commendable.”
Her office receives thousands of calls a year from consumers searching for information about local businesses and nonprofits. Donors doing their homework on charities they are considering donating to can turn to the BBB’s Wise Giving Guide for a list of approved nonprofits and tips for better giving.
Of all the nonprofits located across Northern Indiana, only 101 have met all the BBB standards. It truly does mean something when a charity has met all 20 rigorous accountability standards said Kill.
“It makes a huge statement that you have a commitment to your donors and that you are holding your charity accountable in keeping the highest standards,” Kill added. “What donors may not know, though, that for approved charities, putting the seal on their door, website and marketing materials is the culmination of a demanding process.”
“Before charities can apply to use the Accredited Charity Seal, they must undergo an evaluation by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. And it’s anything but superficial. It involves rigorous scrutiny top to bottom; standards that go well beyond what the government requires,” she added.
“Donors should take heed, do their homework, and acknowledge what the Seal means,” she concluded.
For information on the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, go to: http://northernindiana.bbb.org/charity
The following area nonprofits completed and were approved as meeting all of the voluntary Better Business Bureau Standards for Charity Accountability:
|American Red Cross of NWI
||Greater Hammond Comm. Svcs.
||Robertson Child Dev. Center
|The ARC NWI
|Boys & Girls Clubs of NWI
||Lake Area United Way
||St. Jude House
|Boy Scouts - Calumet Council
||Meals on Wheels of NWI
||The Salvation Army
||Mental Health America - Lake Co.
||Northwest Family Services
||United Neighborhood Org.
||Parents as Teachers - Lake Co.
||Woodland Child Deve. Center
|Gary Neighborhood Services
|| YWCA of NWI