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Submitted by on 1, December 18, 2008 – 8:00 amNo Comment

Facing a downturn in donations and the probable loss of $40,000 in parent payments owed by its online registration vendor, the Alameda Education Foundation has pink-slipped executive director Brooke Briggance and announced plans for further restructuring.

“The biggest problem we’ve had is we have not been able to bring in the donations we need to keep the expenses going,” AEF’s president, Bill Sonneman, said Wednesday night. “We want to keep the foundation going, so we had to reorganize.”

Sonneman also said he doesn’t expect the foundation to recover $40,000 in parent payments for after-school enrichment classes that it was due from its online payment vendor, Count Me In. The loss of those funds is a “huge, huge hit” that helped force the reorganization, Sonneman said.

Brooke Briggance, who learned she was being laid off on Monday, said she had been hopeful the nonprofit would be able to raise the funds it needed to overcome that loss. She said she’s disappointed she can’t continue her work for the foundation, which included efforts to create targeted social service and educational programs for at-risk youths in the district and state-level advocacy for public education.

The foundation also focused efforts this past spring on passing the Measure H school parcel tax.
“I wish the foundation well. It was a great opportunity,” Briggance said. “I’m a mom here and I know we were doing the right thing.”

Sonneman said the board hasn’t decided on all the changes that need to be made, and he could not immediately provide specific information on the state of AEF’s budget. But he said the organization is committed to continuing its after-school enrichment and “Adopt-a-Classroom” programs and to funding middle school sports.

He said the foundation’s board members will now have to handle some additional tasks.

“We really have to do the grant writing and the appeals to keep it running,” Sonneman said.

The foundation has been operating for 23 years, and Sonneman said it has had a paid executive director for the past four or five. The most recent tax forms available, for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2007, showed the foundation had a budget of around $370,000.

Count Me In, meanwhile, is the subject of a growing number of complaints to the attorney general in its home state of Washington, according to this piece on the TechFlash blog out of Seattle. The company has stiffed non-profits and kids sports leagues out of upwards of $1.4 million, according to TechFlash’s John Cook.

The company shut off its credit card processing Tuesday; in addition to the complaints to Washington’s attorney general, Cook reports that prosecutors in Bergen County, NJ have launched a probe into the company. AEF, for its part, sued the company when it failed to pay the third installment of the $80,000 it owed (I reported on that here and here).

I’ll have more for you on this as it comes.

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