It always upsets me when I see adults stealing from children’s groups. Whether taking cash from a concession stand or stealing it directly from a youth group’s bank account, it happens far too often. This New York Times story explores the dangers and reminds me yet again, that audits are so important.
From the New York Times:
The youth sports boom in the United States, fortified by at least 30 million participants, has turned what were once homespun local leagues into quasi-professional enterprises with annual budgets that experts who track nonprofits say regularly reach $250,000 — if not twice that.
Yet with the growth and development has come a long list of embezzlement and other corruption cases unfolding in a void of oversight and regulation and capitalizing on community trust.
Across the country, people who volunteered as treasurers and other officers for Little Leagues and sports clubs have been prosecuted for pilfering gobs of money from the coffers: $220,000 in Washington, $431,000 in Minnesota, $560,000 in New Jersey, and so on, according to law enforcement authorities, league officials, experts on nonprofit organizations and news reports.
While I do not believe this requires national oversight or some new federal agency, it does remind everyone involved in youth sports that audits are critical. They can be hard to do and, especially the first time, can require changes to process and procedure. While it takes more time and requires more effort, it is worth it.