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Charity Begins at Home

March 31, 2006 permalink

What does a women's shelter do with a donation? The staff splits it!



Women's shelter spends charity dollars on bonuses for staff, board members

A Regina safe house that helps abused women dipped into its donation fund to pay a Christmas bonus to its staff and board of directors, CBC News has learned. Each year, Regina residents donate thousands of dollars to the Leader-Post newspaper's "Christmas Cheer Fund."

The money goes to local charities, including women's shelters and safe houses.

One of the charities that has received money is the Wichihik Iskewak Safe House (WISH) in Regina. It has received annual donations since 1997 and last year it accepted $29,552.

The CBC has learned $13,000 — or close to half of its allotment last year — went to a Christmas bonus.

Full time staff and board members received $500 and part-time staff received $100.

Donations been used in the past for furniture, upgrades, supplies and similar expenses.

However, last December the WISH board voted to change its rules so the money could be used for bonuses. The rationale was that people are donating to improve the shelter and a Christmas bonus is an investment in people, a WISH spokesperson told CBC.

Laura Fauchon, WISH executive director, defended spending the money on the staff and board members. However, individual donors to the Christmas Cheer Fund have told CBC they are disappointed and disillusioned at the way the money was spent.

"It's like stealing from Santa Claus, it just isn't right," said Blaine Haubrich, who lives in Glenbain and donated $100 to the charity.

"They should have been more up front if they were going to do this, right from day one, and then the Leader-Post could have determined if they were a fit candidate to receive this money."

Leader-Post editor-in-chief Janice Dockham said it was "extraordinarily bad judgment" that the donations would be spent on bonuses.

Source: CBC