As support for Arizona’s Proposition 208 dwindles, Stand For Children, a wealthy Oregon-based organization is going on the offensive. The current target is the firm of former Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Jamie Molera.
In response to reports that Stand for Children received CARES Act PPP monies, and then turned around and contributed money to the pro-Prop 208 campaign, Stand for Children principals are criticizing Molera’s firm for doing the same.
“The group promoting voting no on Prop 208 falsely accused Stand for Children, Inc., a member of the Yes on 208 Coalition, of using PPP funds to support the ballot measure. Records clearly indicate that Stand for Children Leadership Center, Inc., a 501c3 organization that has not contributed any funds to Prop 208, received the PPP loan. Stand for Children, Inc. a separate 501c4 organization which did not apply for a PPP loan, is the entity that has provided funding for the Prop 208 campaign,” the wealthy organization claimed in a press release.
In fact, Stand for Children, Inc. and Stand for Children Leadership Center, Inc., share the same principal officer, Jonah Edelman, and address in Portland, Oregon.
An audit of Stand for Children from 2019 reads in part:
“The Organization’s revenues are concentrated with 39% of total revenue coming from two foundations for the year ended August 31, 2019 and 41% of total revenue coming from two foundations for the year ended August 31, 2018. The Organization’s credit risk for pledges receivable is concentrated with 89% of the balances coming from two donors for the year ended August 31, 2019 and 61% of the balances from three donors for the year ended August 31, 2018.”
As a matter of fact, there are virtually no differences between the two entities other than their tax status.
There is a key difference however, between Stand for Children and Molera and Alvarez LLC. The Stand for Children entities are nonprofits while Molera and Alvarez LLC is not.
And while Stand for Children complains in its press release that Molera’s “high-priced lobbying firm has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from wealthy clients,” the staff at Stand for Children isn’t doing too shabby themselves.
According to the organizations’ 2017 IRS Form 990s, Arizona’s representative, Rebecca Gau is one of the lowest compensated executives, making $156,739 in base salary with a total compensation package of $169,728. That same 990 shows Pamela Welch, the organization’s COO/CFO, had a base compensation of $273,217 with a total compensation package valued at $337,105.
For added perspective; an annual income of $538,926 places an individual among the top 1% in the nation (a “one percenter”).
|Stand for Children Leadership Center 990 2015|
“The small group trying to defeat Prop 208 will stop at nothing to keep funds from reaching Arizona classrooms,” said Gau, in the press release as part of her effort to earn her handsome salary. “I’m a mom of two boys, born and raised in Arizona, who both attended Arizona public schools. I have dedicated my career to creating opportunities for Arizonans. It’s very unfortunate but also telling that the No on 208 campaign is spreading lies and trying to discredit an organization working for children and parents.”
Relying on a legal fiction, Gau’s accusation will ring fairly hollow with voters, who are struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the state-wide shut down imposed by Governor Doug Ducey.
According to the Free Enterprise Club, Prop 208 would “hammer taxpayers with a 78% tax increase.” Contrary to supporters’ claims, that increase would not just hit the likes of Stand for Children’s near-one percenters.
Because we know, based on the historical record, that a fraction of the funds our traditional public school districts receive actually make it into the classroom, there is little reason for the average teacher to support Prop 208. This is especially true for those teachers, who have watched small business owners in their social circles, circle the financial drain.