A charitable registration agent in Hawaii is seeking the names of donors to the charitable foundation she founded and is planning to use to file tax returns.
In a letter to a state tax collector, MaryAnn Stowe, president and chief executive of the nonprofit Hawaiian Charity Registration Association, said her organization is seeking records of donors who gave between $1,000 and $5,000 to the organization’s foundation in the last year, including names of those who have provided more than $10,000 in donations.
Stowe said the information would allow her to help people identify their financial support, including those who did not give a donation.
“You know, we don’t have an accurate list of people who gave, so it’s very important that we get the name and address of the donors,” she said.
“I am just trying to get the names that have given the maximum amount of money, and to know what’s going on, who are the people, where are they from and where they’re from, what are they like.”
Stowe’s request comes amid heightened scrutiny over the nonprofit’s fundraising efforts.
In March, a state audit found that the group had received more than 2,500 donations totaling $1.1 million from more than 10,000 donors who provided information only on the form, a system that Stowe said was flawed.
An internal audit also found that nearly 1,000 of those donors gave more than one $2,000 donation to the foundation.
The charity was closed in February 2016 amid questions about the tax filings and Stowe’s finances.
The company has since been purchased by an international real estate company, and Stow said she is now seeking an interim buyer.
She said she will not be seeking to sell the business.
If approved, Stowe will be required to make a public disclosure about her charity’s tax filings.
She said her next steps include obtaining a tax exemption certificate, obtaining a nonprofit status, obtaining an audit report, and obtaining a refund.
Last year, the Hawaii Ethics Commission ruled the state’s charitable registration law was “unconstitutional” because it was not designed to allow the public to assess the value of contributions.