Noah's Wish, a nonprofit organization out of California that responds to the needs of animals affected by disasters, has agreed to a settlement following an investigation into how the group handled donations after Hurricane Katrina.
The annual budget of Noah's Wish normally averaged $210,000, according to California's attorney general, but the group raised more than $8 million after Katrina and spent $1.5 million on responding to the hurricane.
The state investigation examined the following allegations:
- that contributions made to Noah's Wish for the purpose of rescuing and caring for the animal victims of Hurricane Katrina were not used for this specific purpose
- that Noah's Wish did not properly classify and account for the contributions received following Hurricane Katrina
- that Noah's Wish lacked adequate fiscal controls over its funds
- that problems existed regarding board governance
Noah's Wish disputes all the allegations.
The organization had $4 million of the donations left at the time of the settlement. According to background in the settlement agreement: "The remainder of the contributions received following Hurricane Katrina appears to have been used primarily to further the general charitable purpose of Noah's Wish, including overhead costs."
The group transferred $4 million to the California Department of Justice. Some of the funds will go toward rebuilding the animal shelter in Slidell, La. The rest of the funds will assist other animal victims of Hurricane Katrina.
As part of the settlement, Noah's Wish agreed to expand its board of directors and provide governance training to all board members.