You’ve likely seen ads from the Humane Society of the United States begging for donations to help needy cats and dogs. But do animal lovers’ donations actually wind up sitting in offshore accounts in the Caribbean?
Sadly, it’s true. We’ll do our best Snopes impression.
All nonprofits must file a tax return with the IRS detailing how they use donor money. You can find copies for free at ProPublica.
Buried in the tax return is Schedule F, which provides supplemental information on a nonprofit’s spending outside of the United States. An international aid organization, for example, might report significant spending fighting disease or hunger in Third World countries.
But this section also catches money being kept offshore. And for the Humane Society of the United States, it reports having $30.3 million in the Caribbean and another $5.6 million in Europe.
Here’s a screenshot from HSUS’s 2018 tax return, the most recent available:
This offshoring of funds has been going on since 2012. This is money that could be used to help animals, but is sitting in hedge funds. Far more money is sitting idle than is being used to, say, fight poaching internationally. This massive misuse of money is one reason HSUS’s “D” grade from CharityWatch, an independent nonprofit evaluator, is well deserved.
It’s important to note that HSUS is unaffiliated with local humane societies, despite the similar names. If you want your money invested in pet shelters instead of tax shelters, give to a local pet shelter near you. Our sister website www.HelpPetShelters.com has suggestions for shelters in your state.