Alliance To Protect Nantucket Sound Sees Increase In Donations In 2010
By: Michael C. Bailey
The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound has experienced a bit of bounce-back from several years of declining fundraising revenue.
The alliance’s IRS Form 990, which covers federally tax-exempt organizations, became public last week. Tax records indicated that in 2010 the Cape Wind opponents raised $1.74 million, a 22 percent increase from its 2009 revenue of $1.42 million.
“That small donors continue to support our cause amid difficult economic times is strong evidence of the growing chorus of opposition to Cape Wind and the overpriced power being forced on Massachusetts consumers and businesses by a no-bid backroom deal with National Grid,” Audra Parker, president and CEO of the alliance, said in a press release.
The deal to which she referred was the privately negotiated long-term power supply contract between Cape Wind and National Grid, which agreed to buy half of the wind farm’s power output. The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities approved the contract last year.
Ms. Parker also indicated that revenue for 2011 is so far in excess of 2010 totals, but she did not provide an exact figure.
However, Mark Rodgers, director of communications for Cape Wind, said the alliance is being disingenuous with its figures. “I find it interesting that the opposition group is cheering the most dismal financial year they have ever had,” he said. “Their donation totals were on the low side and were particularly low compared with their expenses.”
According to alliance financial records, 2010 fundraising totals were level with revenue collected in 2003, the alliance’s first full year in operation as a registered nonprofit organization.
The alliance’s best year was 2004, when it collected $4.7 million, but revenue has declined steadily ever since, and 2009 was its worst fundraising year ever (the alliance collected less than $1 million in 2002, the year of its incorporation as a nonprofit, but that reflects a partial year of fundraising).
Mr. Rodgers also noted that the alliance ended 2010 “in the hole.” According to tax documents the alliance ended 2009 with a $568,413 deficit, and in 2010 it closed with a $1.34 million deficit. This marks the third consecutive year the alliance has ended in the red.
The alliance claimed that its modest turnaround last year was due to support by small donors, stating in its press release that approximately 85 percent of its donations were $500 or less. Mr. Rodgers refuted that claim, stating that “just seven individuals have donated 67 percent of the money they received.” Quoting tax documents, he said the seven donors gave more than $1 million, and one of those unidentified donors contributed $650,000 to that amount.
This mirrors the alliance’s donations for 2009 when, according to its tax returns for that year, almost $1 million came from nine benefactors, whose donations ranged from $50,000 to $500,000.