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31
Jan

Home Radon Testing

Most people don’t think about radon until they are buying or selling a house. By law, homes need to be tested with the results provided to the owner and prospective buyer so that everyone is aware of the radon level in a house.  But, people really need to be thinking about radon long before they buy or sell a house because radon is not something to be casual about.

Radon is an invisible, tasteless, and odorless radioactive gas that naturally comes from the ground. So, radon is present in all homes and buildings, and outside (but at lower levels). Radon comes from soil, water, natural gas, and building materials. Human exposure to radon occurs through inhalation and ingestion. Read more »

29
Jan

How are Donations Spent at the Robin Hood Foundation?

The Robin Hood Foundation (RHF) is not a “rob from the rich, give to the poor” organization although RHF is known for having a wealthy Board of Directors who financially support the organization so that donations can be used to help alleviate poverty in New York City. How does RHF do this?  Primarily by providing grants to other non-profits in the city who work to alleviate poverty by providing food, shelter and health services along with education so that people can lift themselves out of poverty. Read more »

27
Jan

Executive Compensation at the Robin Hood Foundation

The Robin Hood Foundation (RHF) – a 501 (c) (3) based in New York City – is an organization that primarily awards grants to organizations fighting poverty by providing food, shelter, and healthcare and by helping people lift themselves out of poverty. They do this primarily by awarding grants (in 2017, the organization collected $121 million in revenue and awarded $115 million in grants).

In 2017, RHF had 149 employees who were compensated $18 million, which equates to an average compensation of $121,000. However, only 49 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation. The 14 most highly compensated individuals were: Read more »

25
Jan

Caesar Salad Revisited

The classic Caesar Salad was one of my favorite salads for decades but after adopting a plant-based diet, this Mexican (yes, the Caesar Salad originated in Mexico) salad was no longer an option.

I would be less than honest if I didn’t admit I missed this classic side dish. But, not for long because I figured out how to make a tangy and creamy Caesar Salad without the eggs, anchovies, Worcestershire sauce, and parmesan cheese. At first, I relied on store-bought vegan salad dressings but most had a lot of oil, which I try to minimize and then, I realized two things:  one, I could make my own creamy dressing using raw cashews; and two, Follow Your Heart® Dairy Free Parmesan makes the salad taste more authentic. Read more »

23
Jan

Shepherd’s Pie (Vegan)

Shepherd’s Pie – that quintessential British favorite made with lamb, vegetables, and spices in a gravy sauce topped with mashed potatoes – is one of Britain’s most well-known comfort foods. Tradition dictates that a Shepherd’s Pie cannot be a Shepherd’s Pie without lamb (if beef is used, then the dish is called Cottage Pie) but I beg to differ.

A Shepherd’s Pie made with a variety of vegetables, beans, and spices in a vegetable broth sauce topped with mashed potatoes is one of the all-time great variations of this traditional favorite. And, the plant-based option is more nutritious (no meat, oil, or dairy) than the original version, easy to make, and totally delicious. Read more »

21
Jan

Where Does $100 to the Vietnam Veterans of America Go?

The Vietnam Veterans of America is a 501 (c) (3) whose core mission is to advocate on behalf of veterans to improve entitlement benefits and services for our veterans (not just Vietnam vets) by educating federal officials and their staff.  Although the VVA does other things (i.e. publishes a magazine, travels to Vietnam to bring home remains, posts book reviews, provides testimony, assists veterans with appeals, distributes information to the news media, etc), the organization’s staff appears to primarily be a “lobbying” group aimed at improving benefits and services for veterans.  Consequently, most revenue is spent to compensate staff, pay overhead costs, and support through grants local chapters of the VVA. Read more »

19
Jan

Where Does $100 to the Firefighters Charitable Foundation Go?

The Firefighters Charitable Foundation of Farmingdale, New York sounds like an organization most people would support. We are immensely grateful to the firemen/firewomen who selflessly put their lives at risk to save us, our homes, and the environment, and also supportive of the individuals and families affected by fires. But helping those affected by fires through the Firefighters Charitable Foundation is not the best way to make your donation dollars go furthest because the people that benefit most from this non-profit 501 (c) (3) are the fundraisers who kept more than 85% of the funds raised, and the 4 employees of the organization (including the President, Frank Tepedino, and his wife, Lori Tepedino, the Secretary/Treasurer) who were compensated more than $300,000 in 2016. Read more »

17
Jan

Executive Compensation at the ASPCA (2017)

The ASPCA is a 501 (c) (3) based on the Upper East Side (424 East 92nd Street) in New York City.  With 1,193 employees who were compensated $85.6 million (an average compensation of $72,000) in 2017, the ASPCA is one of the largest “animal rights” organizations in the country. The ASPCA also paid $5.2 million (see below) to Forum Services Group (a staffing and recruiting firm) of New York for staffing and consulting services.

Widely supported, the ASPCA reported the receipt of $248 million in 2017, most of which were contributions. After spending $221 million – primarily on staff compensation (nearly $86 million), office-related expenses ($40 million), vet and medical services ($13 million), grants ($12 million), and travel/conferences ($8 million), the ASPCA added $27 million to their fund assets which had a net balance (think savings account) of $274 million at year-end. Read more »

15
Jan

Le Botaniste: Not to Miss!

Le Botaniste in Soho (and also on the Upper East Side) looks like an old-fashioned European apothecary with a black and white checkered floor manned by staff wearing white pharmaceutical jackets. But, instead of rows and rows of “drugs” lined up alphabetically on shelves, the “drugs of choice” – plant food in a rainbow of colored Le Creuset round oven pots and perfectly appointed built in bowls – are front and center behind crystal clear glass.

A plant-based food and wine bar that operates under the mantra attributed to Hippocrates “let food be thy medicine…,” Le Botaniste is an exquisite looking cafe that bills itself as 100% botanical, 99% organic, and gluten-free. It’s also 100% delicious. Read more »

13
Jan

Executive Compensation at the Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian is one of the most well-known museums in the world but you may not know that the Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum and research complex with 19 museums (9 of which are on the National Mall in Washington, DC, an additional 6 in the DC metropolitan area and 2 in New York City, plus the National Zoo, also in DC), and 9 research centers. Collectively, these sites are the Smithsonian Institution, a 501 (c) (3), based in Washington, DC.

The most recent IRS Form 990 (2016) for the year ending September 30, 2017 reports the following key information about employee compensation and practices: Read more »