Image Source: Airman st Class Cody Miller/Released

November 7th, 2017; Rock River Times 

When NPQ reported last week that the National Headquarters of VietNow was shuttered in a settlement with 25 state attorneys general, we did not discuss the organization’s chapters, which are incorporated separately. But before we address those, we want to remind readers of the financial picture at VietNow that resulted in the closing. In 2016, according to its own 990, it spent $1,423,520 to raise $1,676,134, leaving $251,420 for administrative and program expenses and in that equation, administrative costs was the clear winner.

But is that the end of the story? Now Darrell Gilgan, treasurer of the Rockford Charter Chapter, says that the local VietNow chapters will carry on. “VietNow was started right here in Rockford during 1980,” Gilgan told the Rock River Times on Tuesday. “When VietNow went national during 1984, we became Rockford Charter Chapter.” He stressed that the money that the chapters have is all raised from and distributed to the local communities and that none of them use telemarketing.

“The chapter will easily be able to survive without (the) national headquarters,” he said. “In fact, most if not all of the other chapters will be able to continue.”

Gilgan says that he has been helping the other chapters sever ties with the national foundation for the last two years. The only problem is that there is little immediate transparency for most of those chapters. A quick look at the 15 listings for chapters at GuideStar showed only two returns that did not show $0 revenue. Those listed as having no revenue are all listed as required only to file a 990 N, and those must be uploaded by the organization in question to Guidestar, if the organization so opts. This presumably means that the group has revenues of less than $50,000. As it turns out, the two that do list their chapters have revenues well under $50,000.

But small or large, these chapters might consider that a moment like this might require a more transparency than mere compliance requires. We might suggest that they, and any others of you who want to observe respectful transparency for your donors, go ahead and upload that 990 N to Guidestar.—Ruth McCambridge