Early yesterday morning, we read an article detailing a lawsuit that was filed by the Ohio Attorney General against a former RIDGE Project sub-contractor, Doug Smith of Worthington, Ohio, and the nonprofit organization founded by him, Making Healthy Relationships (MHR). The lawsuit was filed after an investigation revealed that Mr. Smith falsified reports to obtain funds and then improperly used the funds for his and his family’s personal benefit.
We are deeply concerned that one of our former partners is alleged to have abused his role and misspent funds that were intended to provide much needed services to the youth in his community. As stewards of precious community resources, we at the RIDGE Project take our fiduciary role very seriously and are outraged that this individual violated our trust and the trust of his community. As the Attorney General’s complaint notes“[Mr. Smith was] unjustly enriched at the expense of MHR, the Ridge Project, and their intended charitable beneficiaries.”
Please be assured that we follow the highest standards of financial controls and have multiple checks and balances in place to protect funds that we steward for the benefit of those we serve. These safeguards include: 1. We do not pay sub-contractors in advance and all reimbursement payments must be substantiated with receipts and invoices. 2. We carefully review all receipts and purchases included in the request for reimbursement to ensure they are reasonable and allowable. 3. We have a two-party reimbursement approval process. This includes at least one fiscal staff and one programmatic staff approval. 4. Two signatures are required for all checks. 5. We routinely conduct onsite reviews of records and programs to ensure that records are kept in accordance with grant standards.
We are working with the Attorney General’s office by providing them with all of the financial and programmatic reports we received from this former sub-contractor. We will continue to work diligently to ensure financial accountability, good stewardship, and oversight so that lives are transformed.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or desire further information