Sometimes I chase stories. Other times, stories chase me.
In the case of a Bethesda, MD-based animal welfare charity called Alley Cat Allies, it’s definitely the latter.
I came across Alley Cat Allies in 2018 when I reported on its problems for The Chronicle of Philanthropy. A lawyer for the charity responded with an idiotic letter asking The Chronicle to remove the story, which, of course, The Chronicle did not do. I followed up with a long blogpost, then a Medium story and today, yet another. Every time I think I am done with these folks, a staff member or former staff member reaches out to me with new information.
Why bother to keep after Alley Cat Allies? Mostly because, from the start, this has been about a bigger issue–the failure of Charity Navigator and Candid to warn donors away from this deeply dysfunctional organization. To the contrary, despite public information pointing to problems with Alley Cat Allies that dates back 2004, Charity Navigator and Candid have rewarded the nonprofit with their highest ratings.
Here’s a link to the latest catalog of misdeeds at Alley Cat Allies.
At the very least, this should be a message to anyone who relies on Charity Navigator or Candid to vet charities: Don’t.