When Andrew Wakefield left Thoughtful House (which has since changed it’s name and removed all mention of him from their website), he announced a new effort: the Strategic Autism Initiative. He was going to manage research into the causes of autism. That was in 2010. Now he bills himself as a video director of the Autism Media Channel. Makes one wonder how well that Strategic Autism Initiative thing worked out.
Well, we can’t tell for sure as tax forms are only available through 2012. But the trends tell us that perhaps, just perhaps, the Strategic Autism Initiative lost steam in their fundraising. Donations are way down. And a lot of money has gone into salaries and very little into actual programs.
Let’s do a little summarizing. Let’s look at trends for the money they take in (contributions) and the money that they’ve put out in salaries. The Strategic Autism Initiative pays Andrew Wakefield and Terry Arranga.
OK, you gotta hand it to Andrew Wakefield–he pulled in $623k in 3 years, basically on his name and reputation. And, he took $316k of that money, about 50%. In total, salaries accounted for 58% of what the SAI took in. The first year of the SAI (2010) was a short year, hence the low salary. Mr. Wakefield’s salary appears to be based on $270,000/year full time. Officially he was working 30hours/week in 2010 and 2011. 15 hours/week in 2012.
Notice that the contributions were way down in 2012. Still a sizable $113k, but down from the previous years.
How does the salary outlay compare to the intake over the years? Well, it was relatively low the first year (the short year) and climbed to 80% in 2011 and 100% in 2012.
Not what one would call sustainable. Well, I guess if all one does is put money into salaries, that’s sustainable. Not exactly what a charity is supposed to be, though. Which begs the question, how much money did they have on hand at the end of each year?
Yep, pay out most of your money in salary and watch your assets go down. Also gives a partial explanation for why Mr. Wakefield is only listed as working 15 hours a week in 2012–there wasn’t the money to pay him more. The SAI would be about $70k in debt had they paid him for 30 hours/week.
In 2010, they paid out $20,260 in a grant to perform a UK Somali study.
In 2011 they paid out a $25k grant to Generation Rescue for a “vax/unvax study”
In 2012 they paid out $35k in grants. One to Mr. Wakefield’s former Thoughtful House colleague Arthur Krigsman and another to the Geiers for a study using the Florida medical database.
So, let’s consider this. In three years, Mr. Wakefield managed to give out 4 grants. Total of about $80k in grants. And for that effort he was paid $316k. What’s the supposed goal of the Strategic Autism Initiative?
“…to promote research in areas of autism and neurological disorders…”
Right. Promote research. About 13% of their budget went to promoting research. And that’s before we even consider the quality of that research.
Some bright people believe Andrew Wakefield. Some wealthy people believe Andrew Wakefield. Why, I don’t know. But even those who believe in what he says may someday question whether getting $0.13 on the dollar to the cause is worth keeping Andrew Wakefield employed.
By Matt Carey