All money from payroll deductions given to the now defrocked United Way of Santa Rosa during 2019 will be returned to donors. The organization lost its standing as a United Way affiliate earlier this month while a federal law enforcement probe of finances continues.
The organization’s acting director, Kyle Holley, announced that “The board has directed me to give back the donations.” Holley had been the organization’s major gifts manager. Payroll deductions also will be stopped as officials contact local employers regarding the situation of the Milton, Fla., organization.
The last available federal Form 990, filed for 2016, total revenue of $299,182 with an operating deficit of $187,208. The Form 990 showed an increase in salary expense of $50,000 during the period. Total revenue for the prior year was $597,473 for a decline of 49.9 percent.
United Way Worldwide pulled the organizations charter as of March 6. The organization will continue under a different name, First Call for Help of Santa Rosa, but not as a United Way affiliate. Local media quoted Davey Willhoit, the now former volunteer chairman of the Santa Rosa United Way, as saying the board voted to continue to operate “to do as much good in the community as possible for as long as possible. The idea is to stay operational in hopes of financial restitution which would be distributed to community organizations.
The Santa Rosa United Way has been under a cloud since last October when the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) seized financial records of the organization back in October 2018. The board started an audit, citing possible irregularities involving donations. Details of why the organization was raided have not yet been made public. No charges have been filed.
Long-time paid Executive Director Guy Thompson, who reportedly had been with the organization two decades, was fired. Thompson had been mayor of Milton for 20 years.