WALTHAM, MA—As the We Care Charity founder and CEO Shefali Desai Kalyani tried to revamp her organization with a new CPA and a new member of Board of Directors, all members of her charitable organization’s Board of Advisors resigned. In a statement to INDIA New England News, Ms. Kalyani said that she will appoint a new board of advisors at an appropriate time.
Ranga Narasimhan, a member of the WCC and a local entrepreneur who runs several franchises with his wife, told INDIA New England News that the following BOA members have resigned: Mr. Narasimhan himself and his wife Nehal Patel Ranganarayan; Prashanth Palakurthi, a tech entrepreneur, philanthropist and CEO of Reflexis Systems who supports local charities; Dinesh Tanna, president of Tanna Insurance, Inc; Subu Kota, a philanthropist and founder and CEO of The Boston Group; Dr. Manohar Rao, MD; and Jay Srinivasan, who helped organize We Care Charity’s annual fundraising program Dil Se for the last two years. Bipin Parekh, who runs a community radio station, also resigned Friday evening.
“Subu Kota and I resigned today to clear the path for WCC to work out the operational details; we plan to volunteer and re-join as advisors once all the issues are resolved,” said Mr. Parekh. “I was the only advisor who was not a big donor sponsor.”
Mr. Narasimhan said that WCC cause is noble but there are some serious issues that need to be resolved and hopefully they will be.
“Nehal Patel Ranganarayan and I have resigned from our position as Board of Advisors from WCC,” said Mr. Narasimhan. “We really enjoyed our role but given its current state of affairs it is extremely difficult for us to continue our role in a productive manner.”
All members of the Board of Advisors resigned after Mr. Srinivasan pointed out some accounting and tax discrepancies in the organization’s books in the past few years.
“I believe in the cause and her hard work and dedication,” said Mr. Kota. “However, due to accounting irregularities going on, I resigned. Once things are cleaned up, I will be happy to support and help her cause.”
In a written statement emailed to INDIA New England News, Ms. Kalyani said that she appreciated the recommendations of the Board of Advisors on improvements in accounting practices and governance.
“We have the right professionals working on addressing the Board of Advisors’ recommendations. We are committed to fixing any and all mistakes that may have been made. We need to give them the time to do their work and once complete, we will share the appropriate information to the community,” Ms. Kalyani said. “We will appoint a new board of advisors at the appropriate time. In the mean-time we
continue to do our work of feeding the hungry and serving those in need.”
Separately, in a Facebook post, Ms. Desai said that her organization has hired a new chartered accountant, and appointed Bharat Shah, a treasurer of the Gujarati Association of New England (Gurjar), as a member of the WCC’s Board of Directors.
“Once the CPA has completed the work, we will make relevant financial information available. We have also retained legal counsel, at the personal expense of the President of WCC and not the organization itself, to help us correct misinformation that has been disseminated and to restore faith and confidence in WCC.”
Ms. Kalyani also posted that WCC Board of Directors has passed a resolution to relieve Mr. Srinivasan of his duties as an advisor, effective immediately.
Mr. Srinivasan told INDIA New England News Friday night that he came to know of the discrepancies in the tax returns through publicly available document for non-profits around April of this year and then found out that the accountant hired by WCC was not a CPA.
“He was billing around $5,000 a year. His background was more into the legal profession. Another board of advisor (Bipin Parek) got a retired CPA who was willing to do for free. WCC president did not want anyone for free and was also reluctant to have a CPA of Indian origin,” Mr. Srinivasan said. “I interviewed a qualified CPA in Derry, NH and brought him on board at the cost of $1,500. He brought to the attention of WCC President about the significant variance that exists between the book balance and the actual bank balance which needs to be sorted out.”
He said that Board of Advisors of WCC consisted of people with business knowledge and financial knowledge.
“So we asked some questions regarding WCC Charity
money transfer to personal accounts to US and then to personal accounts of WCC President as well as WCC President’s husband in India in 2015, 2016 and 2017. There is nothing called We Care Charity organization in India. I was surprised when the President of WCC did not want to take the help of BOAs and simply removed me from BOA for high lighting the issues and put up some controls in place for orderly function of the charity,” Mr. Srinivasan said. “Everyone in the community knows I helped raise tens of thousands of dollars through annual DilSe events, which was considered one of the mega shows in New England.
Everyone knows about my work.”
In an earlier interview, Mr. Srinivasan said that We Care Charity claims that 100 percent of donations are used to help those in need, but then there is a salary of $45,000 for Ms. Kalyani. For an organization with an annual revenue of about $120,000, an individual salary of $45,000 is a lot of money, he added.
“Only about 25% of the funds raised goes towards food/groceries from WCC as per the actual bank statements as well as publicly available tax returns of 2015 and 2016,” said Mr. Srinivasan.
We Care Charity is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Salem, NH. Its mission is to provide food and empowering children, individuals and families in crisis in New England and beyond.
We Care Charity is organizing Dil Se 3 on Saturday, October 6th, 2018 at Mechanics Hall, located at 321 Main Street in Worcester, MA.