Guest column: Edgewood Tahoe continues to support nonprofits, community (opinion) | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Guest column: Edgewood Tahoe continues to support nonprofits, community (opinion)

John McLaughlin
Guest Column

Edgewood Tahoe has been a part of this community for over 115 years and it has operated under the family mantra: "To be stewards of the land, guardians of the Lake, and solid corporate citizens in the communities in which we operate." This idea forms our leadership and actions as a company, but more importantly as members of the South Shore communities on both sides of the state line.

Edgewood Tahoe is a strong supporter of many local nonprofits. In addition to charitable donations, we've hosted numerous fundraisers at our golf course and our clubhouse has been the location for countless special events for nonprofits, area schools and fraternal organizations.

Our charitable giving philosophy aligns with three main pillars that we as a company want to support and feel strongly about: educational, social and environmental.

We have had discussions among the executive team about charitable initiatives and expanding our outreach in the community to ensure we are impacting and assisting in an immediate and meaningful way.

Edgewood Tahoe's executive team requested a meeting with Soroptimist International of South Lake Tahoe in early February for a briefing on the history of the golf tournament volunteer partnership. In preparation for our meeting, we studied Soroptimist's public outreach, their website, available press releases, and public tax returns to better understand Soroptimist's charitable giving.

Following the review of the public tax returns, a requirement for all public charities, we saw that Soroptimist had been holding approximately $450,000 in a bank account. It is common for well-run nonprofits to hold a cash operating reserve from year to year. Guidelines vary but most recommendations are for six months to two years in cash reserves for operating expenses.

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According to the tax documents, Soroptimist's yearly operating expenses were approximately $24,000. With the cash reserves on hand this equates to nearly 20 years of operating reserves. When a nonprofit carries a surplus that so exceeds a reserve for operating expenses, donors should question why these funds are not being put to their stated charitable purpose.

While we understand some nonprofits hold savings for a major project, when we asked what they had planned for this reserve the Soroptimist representatives at the meeting didn't have an answer, nor could they tell us of a definitive long-term project in place.

We went into the meeting with the idea that our partnership with Soroptimist would continue. We were hoping to work with Soroptimist in a collaborative way to meet both our organizations' charitable goals.

We know there are many groups in town that need help and Edgewood asked to be involved in determining a few, knowing that Soroptimist's mission is to assist women and children.

We were told flatly that we would have no input in where the funds are distributed — funds that the tournament held at Edgewood Tahoe helped generate.

We were open to discussing options and ideas for how we could structure the food and beverage tents, with the idea that Edgewood would contribute the same overall amount of money as before but be able to determine what organizations and defined projects a portion of the funds would be directed toward. This was never about Edgewood increasing our bottom line.

Edgewood has a long history of community support and involvement and those plans will continue as part of our long-held operating values. As it has for years, Edgewood is committed to providing opportunities for local organizations, and the food tents at the golf tournament will continue to generate funds for local nonprofits.

That is not changing, but now instead of just one group benefiting from this event there will be opportunities for other community nonprofits and Edgewood can ensure the proceeds will have a direct and immediate impact.

We have reached out and are in initial discussions with local organizations that align with our company philosophy to provide assistance to those community organizations that need help now. We plan to have an official announcement in the coming weeks.

John McLaughlin is president/CEO of Edgewood Tahoe.