Instant bingo fundraiser is the subject matter of discussions at Right Path for Washington County. The compatibility of bingo with the healthy youth focus of right path is the question.
Fact finding at Right Path
Right Path for Washington County is an organization that takes its mission seriously. That mission involves the development of healthy youth. The opportunity on Right Path’s table would provide a portion of the profits from the sale of instant bingo tickets to the nonprofit’s coffers. The tickets would be sold at retail businesses chosen by Right Path. The Ohio Children’s Foundation, through the Family & Children First Council, initially suggested instant bingo to Right Path as a valid and appropriate funding source. This is a statewide initiative, signed into law by Ohio Gov. John Kasich in June 2012.
The law provides that a portion of instant bingo sales would be turned over to Right Path, for distribution to itself and other charitable organizations in Washington County. Ohio Children’s Foundation treasurer Russell Miller has commented that Right Path would be the lead agent in collecting and distributing the ongoing instant bingo profits. Between 7% and 10% of those profits are designated for charitable purposes.
Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth
Right Path board president Karen Waller is in favor of the bingo project. She views the statewide sale of instant bingo tickets as an appropriate fundraising activity. Another member of the board Lynn Doebrich, however, has expressed her opinion that “rip-off tickets” is not compatible with Right Path’s mission to promote healthy youth. Waller has emphasized that Right Path would not be selling the bingo tickets. At their board meeting to gather information, Miller was questioned in regard to the salary of employees at the Ohio Children’s Foundation. He reported that the full and complete yearly salary of each of the four employees was $70,000, which satisfied Right Path that the Foundation was above-board.
According to Waller, Right Path is economically solid, even though funding for mental health, including juvenile services, has been decreased throughout the state. Waller acknowledged that juvenile mental health programs must be realigned to meet governmental budget demands. Instant bingo tickets represent a new approach to fundraising for the nonprofit organization. Right Path fundraisers in 2012 have included a Washington County Rightditarod in March, which raised over $12,000; spring Fish Fry, raising in excess of $3,000; and summer Broughton Ice Cream Social. The profits from these fundraisers have been distributed to local food pantries, Right Path’s summer programs, and the Marietta Community Foundation.
The designation of Right Path as a 501c3 agency currently qualifies the organization for the charitable receipt of bingo revenue. One wonders why Right Path is not jumping at the opportunity to spread instant bingo profits to youth programs such as juvenile mental health. Various school districts across the U.S. look to bingo to provide youth services, to the delight of the communities benefitting from bingo fun as well as funds.