League of American Bicyclists finances look a bit shaky

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Sunday, December 28, 2008
By Alison Chaiken

Charity Navigator is a well-known evaluator of non-profit and charitable organizations. Charity Navigator's evaluation of the League of American Bicyclists indicates that the organization's finances are a bit shaky. While the League gets 3 out of 4 stars for "Organizational Efficiency," its "Capacity Rating" is only 1 out of 4 because revenue is shrinking while expenses are essentially flat. The data on the Charity Navigator website are from 2006, so LAB's financial state may have improved since then. Unfortunately the latest Annual Report published on LAB's website is also from 2006, which in itself is a bit worrisome!

The League is currently holding elections for Board Members. Our California representative in Region 6 is Amanda Eichstaedt, whose candidate statement in the paper American Bicyclist speaks of efforts to "tighten up the procedures and day to day operating guidelines for the organization." Board Member Eichstaedt sounds like she's aware of management problems and is working to sort them out. Certainly the passage of the Bicycle Commuter Act made 2008 overall a successful year for the League.


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In addition to financial problems, the League has alienated many of its long-time and most loyal volunteers by excluding them from League governance.

Five (out of 12) directors are appointed, not elected and thus not answerable or responsible to members.

The current election has three seats open but like Soviet Union elections there is no contest in any of them -- only one candidate per seat.

Sneak Bylaws changes of 2003 made it extremely difficult for members to get on the ballot unless the board approves. This is why the League has a Soviet style election now.

You can read more about these and other problems at www.labreform.org
LAB's Form 990 return for 2007 was received by the IRS on 9/22/08 and is posted on the Guidestar website [http://www.guidestar.org] at [http://tinyurl.com/9syh36] . Free registration with the GuideStar website is needed to view such information.
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