United Way Reacts After Employee Misappropriates Donations

June 4, 2015

Everett, Police Blotter

UWSC logo Publisher’s Note: I serve as a volunteer on the Marketing Committee for United Way of Snohomish County and as such, received the following press release shortly after 5:00pm Wednesday evening from United Way of Snohomish County President and CEO Dennis Smith. It was sent to all of United Way of Snohomish County’s volunteers.

Misappropriation of Funds

(Everett, Wash.) – United Way of Snohomish County takes our role of being good stewards of the community’s assets very seriously. Thus, when we learned of a possible misappropriation of campaign funds (less than $6,000), we fully investigated the situation, the employment of the staff person involved was terminated and the monies were recovered.

We were both saddened and disappointed to think that someone would breach the community’s trust in such a way. While our financial control policies and procedures cannot guarantee a breach of ethical behavior will never occur, we have processes in place to both avoid and detect any such misbehavior. As noted, United Way acted immediately to address this situation. Our Ethics Officer, Becky Mackenstadt promptly retained legal counsel and a certified fraud examiner to conduct an investigation.

The results of this investigation confirmed that a single staff member misappropriated campaign funds in two separate, isolated incidences. Along with the recovery of the funds and the termination of employment, the affected company was informed and the matter was referred to local law enforcement.

Our Chief Financial Officer, Jeri Wilkes, has initiated changes to the specific procedure that was exploited. With the tightening of this single protocol, our procedures are stronger than ever. We owe it to our donors, our volunteers and our community to operate with the highest ethical standards.

Our Director of Marketing and Communications Jacqui Campbell will handle all media, internal or external inquiries about this matter. Please refer any and all questions to her at 425.374.5501.

I want to thank Becky Mackenstadt, our Ethics Officer and Toraya Miller, our Board Chair for overseeing the conducting of this investigation and resolution of this matter. As noted, this staff member is no longer employed with us, the money has been recovered, the company that raised these funds has been notified, the issue has been fully reviewed by our Board of Directors and a report made to local law enforcement. I appreciate our Board’s commitment to complete openness and transparency in this and all matters. – Dennis Smith

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