But in an analysis of the organization’s tax filings by Charity Navigator, a New Jersey-based nonprofit watchdog group, the Black Rock Arts Foundation earned an “exceptionally poor” rating. The analyst found errors in reporting, a low revenue-to-grant ratio that showed artists receive on average 27 cents for every $1 spent – less than half the industry standard – and a conflict of interest involving David Best, a local artist best known for his intricate temples that rise at Burning Man.
Sandra Miniutti, an analyst at Charity Navigator who reviewed the filings at the request of The Chronicle, said donors to the foundation should be concerned by its poor practices.
“This is not a financially healthy organization,” Miniutti said. “If I were a donor, I’d think long and hard before I sent money their way.”