Cherokee National Historical Society receives 4-star rating

BY STAFF REPORTS
03/29/2011 07:00 AM
PARK HILL, Okla. – The Cherokee National Historical Society recently received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator America, an independent charity evaluator.

The CNHS, which established and operates the non-profit Cherokee Heritage Center, was recognized for its ability to efficiently manage and grow its finances.

“Approximately a quarter of the charities we evaluate have received our highest rating indicating that Cherokee National Historical Society executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way and outperforms most other charities in America,” a Charity Navigator statement reads.

Charity Navigator concluded that this “exceptional” designation differentiates CNHS from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust.

“This recognition is a major distinction and validation in the nonprofit world,” said CHC Executive Director Carey Tilley. “It demonstrates our strong standing in our industry and clearly identifies us as one of the more successful non-profits in the country.”

The CNHS is now among the 25 percent of nonprofits in the United States to receive a four-star rating and is authorized to use the Charity Navigator four-star logo in its fundraising and marketing efforts.

Charity Navigator examines how charities spend their money and how much funding is spent on administrative costs, including management versus programs and fundraising costs.

Last June, Tilley said he disputed a low ranking given to the CNHS by the charity ranking service Mainstreet.com after the CNHS placed fifth out of 20 on the organization’s “Worst Charities in America” list.

Mainstreet.com based its rankings on numbers gathered from Charity Navigator.

Tilley said 2010’s negative ranking was based on errors made by an outside accounting firm hired by the CNHS. He said the firm did not assign the society’s expenses properly and assigned 58 percent of expenses to administration costs for 2007.

Tilley said about $600,000 in expenses that should have been counted as program expenses were erroneously counted in administration. CNHS records show about 23 percent was spent on administration costs in 2007, not 58 percent.

He also said a non-profit is generally doing well if its administrative costs are under 30 percent. In 2006, administrative costs for the CNHS were 19 percent and 21 percent in 2009.

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