It was announced on September 1, 2014 that D.J. Grothe is no longer President of the James Randi Educational Foundation and that the Los Angeles office is closed.
Since then, I’ve seen claims that the revenue of the organization has suffered because of D.J. and then numbers are given comparing the revenue of certain years as supposed proof. But I noticed that all of the various posts I’ve seen with this information start with the year 2011. Since the organization was founded in 1996 and D.J. Grothe started his position in 2010, I wanted to know what the revenue of years prior were.
The green line shows total revenue per year, which are usually the numbers I’ve seen given. But when looking at the overall picture, 2011 was their highest year in revenue on this chart, which starts at 2001. The revenue for 2013, which is not shown in this graph, was $887,595. While it’s true that the revenue decreased in 2012 and 2013, a different impression can be given when showing years prior to 2011.
Even if the numbers really were lower only during D.J.’s presidency, it’s important to remember there are multiple factors to consider with revenue. As stated under the NCCS graph:
Important Advisory: A 990 is one snapshot in time. Although Form 990 ratio analysis provided here can be a useful tool, the information can be dated and cannot reflect current conditions of a nonprofit especially in turbulent economic times. It is important to consider current financial statements of any nonprofit for an accurate picture.
As an important side note, I want to thank both D.J. Grothe and Thomas Donnelly for the continuous hard work they had put in for the organization and the greater skeptical community overall. They encouraged me to keep being involved with the skeptical movement and I have learned a lot from them just from conversations. The workshops they put together at the Hollywood office with Ray Hyman and Sharon Hill and Barbara Drescher were not only fun things to attend but have been informative videos to share with others when talking about critical thinking concepts. And let’s not forget about The Amazing Meeting conferences I attended in 2012 and 2013, which were wonderful experiences I will remember for years to come.
Also, while I’ll most definitely miss D.J. Grothe as President, I encourage those who are unfamiliar with the org to check out the James Randi Educational Foundation. And I highly recommend following D.J. Grothe on facebook and twitter. He was a very prominent figure in skepticism prior to his time at the JREF and I expect that will continue.
Hat Tip to Ed Clint of Skeptic Ink for letting me know about National Center for Charitable Statistics. I’ve seen other sites with information on nonprofits, but this chart made it easier to show the overall picture. Check out his blog and blog network for interesting and informative posts related to science and critical thinking.