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June 4, 2022

Where Does $100 to Paws for Purple Hearts (2020)

by Anne Paddock

Paws for Purple Hearts (PPH)  is a non-profit, tax-exempt (501) (c) (3) that teaches veterans to train service dogs for their fellow veterans with combat-related injuries. The Form 990 (2020) submitted to the IRS indicates PPH raised $7 million in 2018 (compared to $6 million in 2019)  most of which came from contributions, gifts and grants.  The organization has the same address as “Bergin University of Canine Studies” in Penngrove, California, whose president is Bonita Bergen, who is also the president and CEO of PPH.

There are 8 independent voting members on the governing body, 7 of whom are male and 1 a female (the President and CEO, Bonita Bergen).

Expenses totaled $6.2 million (89% of revenue) and were categorized as follows:

  • $2.1 million (30% of revenue):  Postage, Shipping, Printing, Publications, Advertising
  • $1.5 million (21% of revenue):  Compensation
  • $ .9 million (13% of revenue):  Fees for Services: Fundraising and Professional Fees
  • $ .6 million (9% of revenue): Other Expenses (bank fees, supplies, mailing lists, travel, licensing)
  • $ .6 million (9% of revenue):  Contract Srvcs and Licensing Fees
  • $ .5 million (7% of revenue):  Office-related Expenses

As illustrated above, $2.7 million (39% of revenue) was spent on postage, shipping, printing, publications, advertising, and fees for professional fundraising and services (described as professional fees paid for programs and contract services) which appears to be fees paid to Bergin University of Canine Studies for service dogs and trainers (note:  the organization’s website states all service dogs and trainers are provided by Bergin).

Compensation of $1.5 million was provided to 36 employees, which equates to an average compensation of $42,000.  No employees received more than $100,000 in compensation.  However, it is important to note that although the CEO, Bonita Bergin did not receive compensation from PPH, fees and licensing fees appear to have been paid to Bergin University of Canine Studies, an organization Bergin is the President of and operating out of the same location as PPH.Most staff appear to be allocated to the delivery of program services (although Bergin supplies the service dogs and trainers) but staff are also engaged in fundraising and management.

PFPP spent $800,000 less than they raised which increased the general fund from $1.4 million to $2.2 million at the end of the year.

Using the above information, $100 in revenue was spent as follows:

$100:  Revenue

-$ 30:  Postage, Shipping, Printing, Publications, Advertising

-$ 21:  Compensation

-$ 13: Fees for Services: Fundraising and Professional Fees

-$  9: Other Expenses (bank fees, supplies, mailing lists, travel, licensing)

-$  9: Contract Srvcs and Licensing Fees

-$  7:  Office-related Expenses

 -$ 89:  Total Expenses

$ 11:  Excess Revenue:  To General Fund

As illustrated above, $89 out of every $100 in revenue was spent on organization expenses leaving $11 out of every $100 (or $800,000 total) allocated to the general fund.

Based on the information above, the bottom line is that PPH appears to be spending a lot of money to obtain revenue: more than 52% of revenue was spent on postage, shipping, printing, publications, fundraising and professional fees, mailing lists and advertising while  $30 out of every $100 was spent on compensating all staff and fees for outside services related to program services and contract services.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2020), click here.

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