Sacred Paths Center sparked speculation yesterday when they abruptly announced that the the center was closing “indefinitely” and would be conducting an internal and external audit. Today, SPC Executive Director Teisha Magee, announced that the center would reopen Monday, August 8th.
We sincerely apologize for the confusion caused by our sudden closing. We want to thank Keys of Paradise for making their space available for the events that we inconvenienced this week. – Statement from Executive Director Teisha Magee
Magee also wanted to reassure people who had scheduled events at the center between now and the reopening on Monday that the space they reserved is available to them as promised previously.
The sudden announcement of indefinite closure, coming just a day after announcing the center had surpassed its fundraising goals to keep their doors open, caused some Pagans to speculate, “If it turns out people’s sympathy was being played to pay someone’s gambling debts, we better see more than an internal audit,” Kenneth commented on The Wild Hunt. Rumors were further fueled by the resignations of two unnamed board members.
Magee said the reason for the closing was “to catch up on some neglected organizational items” and to do a physical inventory of the store. Another task the SPC board is focusing on includes restructuring their organizational tools.
Sacred Paths Center put out this comment on their facebook page in response to a question:
Sorry, we’ve realized that the word “audit” has been misconstrued. This is not an IRS-style audit, this is annual audit that all non-profits must do to show that they’ve used the donations they’ve received properly. This isn’t something being forced on the center, this is something the center is doing to make sure our Form 990s and other documentation meet the government’s standards for “best practices”. Because most of our organization is unfamiliar with these forms, we felt getting outside advice was appropriate.
An unnamed source disputes SPC’s claim that this is a routine audit. They say that while the SPC board is acting in good faith and sincerely wants to resolve the issue, the temporary closure and audit were forced on the center by a SPC member. “The member basically came in and said ‘you must do this or I’ll take certain steps’ – implying that they would report the center to some state authority. The source says the board was aware of irregularities in the center’s books and planned to look into the issue, but the demand by the anonymous center member forced quicker action.
The source says it unclear if the alleged possible problems with the bookkeeping are from sloppy record keeping, mismanagement, or rise to an actionable item under Minnesota law. They noted that the member who demanded the audit firmly believes in the center, still fully supports it, and says it is a good investment for the community.
SPC plans to publish a breakdown of the success of their Change and Grow campaign on Monday, August 8th. The full statement from Sacred Paths Center is reprinted below.
From The Executive Director:
The reason for closing this week is simply to catch up on some neglected organizational items.
We need to do a physical inventory of the store, clean up our book keeping and filing systems, and we are restructuring our organizational tools to better serve our members and the community.
These projects become very difficult when being done amongst the hustle and bustle of the normal Center functions.
We will publish a breakdown of the success of our Change and Grow campaign. We received great response from the community and we would like to show you where your hard earned donations served the center. We will be posting an accounting on the website for anyone to view. We appreciate the communities support and want you to know we how much we value your contributions. Our commitment to you is that we will continue to evaluate our expenses, making sure we are doing the most with your contributions each month.
We will also be working to create a way for the community to provide us with feedback. We do our best every moment to provide you with a community center that welcomes everyone. If we fail to do that in some way, we want to know. This way we can improve. This will also be a way for you to show us what you want to see at the center, services you’d appreciate or pay a compliment to our wonderful volunteer staff.
This is the pioneering Pagan community center in the country and our sole mission is to be the best stewards of that. We are working to respond to you, our community and provide the kind of center that will be a model for Pagans nationwide. We don’t promise perfection, we aren’t always going to do the right thing; but our commitment to you is that will put our best foot forward every day. We will own any mistakes and be better for them; and we will do our level best to provide a welcoming, sacred, neutral space for everyone in our community to use in their own path to the divine.
Thank you to our community and also to our extraordinary staff of volunteers who have stepped up to ensure our Change and Grow campaign was a success. Without their hard work none of the events would have be possible.