Call for Freedom Nonprofit Flagged in Department of Justice Audit
SIOUX FALLS, SD (Dakota News Now) — According to board member Korena Keys, Call to Freedom’s goal is to put themselves out of work.
“To end human trafficking and save any man or woman from having to go through this trauma,” Keys said.
The organization was established in 2016. Executive Director Becky Rasmussen said to have served more than 750 victims of sex trafficking since 2017.
Part of the revenue included funds from the Department of Justice, requiring an external audit.
“It’s really the first time anyone has come in and seen how they handle them,” Keys said.
Several areas of concern were reported. Nonprofit consultant Michael Wyland of Sumption & Whyland says the situation and follow-up are sparse.
“The funding source, in this case the Department of Justice, carrying out its own audit after the independent auditor, in this case Eide Bailey, has delivered its report,” Wyland said.
Although the items noted may be in good faith, things may look different to someone outside the organization.
“Disinterested third parties will look at it and say it looks a little odd,” Wyland said.
One of the things that raises concerns is that one of their current survivors receiving assistance is also on the payroll.
“Let’s say someone was not a good employee, would they still receive services as a victim?” Wyland said.
The audit also covered financial interactions with a member of the board of directors.
“If you’re going to be a board member of a nonprofit, you’re well advised not to be a supplier to that organization as well,” Wyland said.
The third area of concern is spending funds outside of what the federal funding was intended to be used for. Instead, part was used to pay for legal assistance for a victim.
“There’s a lot to know about the administration of federal grant funds, so it’s easy to get in trouble based on what you don’t know or haven’t experienced as a recipient” , Wyland said.
“We have already implemented some of these changes. We went from one person overseeing grants to two. We now have three people,” Keys said.
“The good news is that there has been no discovery of any kind of theft of funds or embezzlement,” Wyland said.
The Department of Justice will continue to monitor Call for Freedom to ensure funds are used as directed.
The most recent tax return, Form 990, can be found on their website https://calltofreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/2020-990-form.pdf
Copyright 2022 Dakota News now. All rights reserved.