#b#From a Nonprofit, A Clarification#/b#

Thank you for the thought-provoking and thorough article, “For Savvy Donors Due Diligence is a Duty” by Michele Alperin, and the related guide on “Navigating the Charities’ Performance” (U.S. 1, January 9).

As one of the eight charities mentioned, on behalf of CASA for Children of Mercer and Burlington Counties I would like to clarify some of the numbers reported. For the fiscal year 2011, our revenue was $1,001,614 and our administrative and fundraising expenses were $99,747 and $103,016 respectively for a total of 23 percent of $875,755.

This variance to the numbers reported in the article is due, primarily, to the In-Kind Contributed Services of our 183 dedicated volunteer Court Appointed Advocates. These volunteers underwent rigorous training for 33 hours and provided 12,845 hours advocating for the educational, emotional, and physical well-being of the children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect.

It also deserves mention that while the review of one year of data provides a quick snapshot, an average of several years of information would provide a more accurate picture of an organization’s performance. In our case, CASA of Mercer and CASA of Burlington merged in 2011, resulting in higher administrative expenses for this year. However, our cost per child served as well as overall expenses have gone down in 2012 due to greater efficiency and economies of scale.

We hope this clarification provides useful context to better understand the unique and important role that CASA plays in serving the best interests of our children, as we strive to help them find safe and permanent homes.

Philip Bartfield

President, CASA for Children of Mercer and Burlington Counties

Editor’s note: Court Appointed Special Advocates is an independent, nonprofit organization committed to speaking up in Family Court for the best interests of abused and neglected children in Mercer and Burlington counties.

#b#Scheides’ Concert: Much Appreciated#/b#

Bill and Judy Scheide are indeed “Forever Young,” and the overflow crowd at the January 18 concert to celebrate Bill’s 99th birthday and support the Community Park Pool, demonstrated by cheers and applause the esteem with which this much loved couple is held, as well as appreciation for the superb musicianship of the concert performers.

The English Chamber Orchestra, under the vibrant direction of Maestro Mark Laycock, began the program with Sir Arnold Bax’ “Dance in the Sunlight,” a lively, romantic, and complex score. Followed by Antonio Vivaldi’s “Winter” from the Four Seasons, this composition was sprinkled with lively pizzicato and was brilliantly played by violinist Stephanie Gonley.

Benjamin Britten’s “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra,” eloquently and humorously narrated by Malcolm Gets, prompted an acquaintance sitting next to me to remark that her eight-year-old granddaughter, who plays the piano, would have learned a great deal and enjoyed this piece.

It was a pleasure to welcome pianist Andrew Sun back to Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium. His energetic “Variation on Happy Birthday to Bill Scheide” were made up of musical birthday greetings assembled by Samuel Barber for Mary Curtis Book Zimbalist’s 75th birthday. The piece was a recent acquisition by the Scheide Library and performed for the first time.

The ever renowned Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op 67 completed the inspiring program. Through his mastery of the composition, Maestro Laycock, fluidly, energetically, and skillfully inspired the English Chamber Orchestra to perform at its highest level. I know I speak for the community in expressing my sincere thanks to Bill and Judy for this memorable evening!

Linda Sipprelle

375 Nassau Street, Princeton

Editor’s note: Sipprelle’s praise should not be taken lightly. She calls herself “an unreconstructed music lover. I studied piano as a child and regularly attended recitals and concerts. My grandfather was a minister who wrote hymns and my uncle was a concert pianist. My love of music was further nurtured and expanded during my tour with the American Embassy in Vienna, Austria, where I spent much free time attending concerts and the opera. I also made it a habit to visit the many sites associated with the great European composers and musical greats in an effort to appreciate what it was that produced such enduring works.”

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