Entire Nonprofit Horse Rescue Board Quits

Equine Outreach's sign.
Equine Outreach's sign.

Bend, Oregon – The entire board of directors for Equine Outreach, a nonprofit horse rescue in operation since 2004, has quit, leaving the founders as the sole operators of the organization.  The board quit after the founders threatened the nonprofit.

Joan Steelhammer and husband Gary Everett own the ranch where Equine Outreach is located, and lease the property to the nonprofit for $2,200 a month, on a month to month basis.  The couple claim they make no profit from the lease of the land.

Steve Jeffry joined the board in July as treasurer.  He founds books that were in disarray with incomplete information as to where money was going.  Part time workers would be paid in cash from the founders pocket, and then a check would be written to the founders from the nonprofit account to cover the cash paid.  Everett admits to needing a formal payroll system, but claims all transactions were recorded in the nonprofits books.  “We’ve put hundreds of thousands of our money into this, so if there’s any commingling, it’s only our money going in, no money going out,” Steelhammer told reporters.  Steve Jeffry claims he was never given full access to the nonprofits books and accounts, a claim the founders deny.  Others disagree, with allegations of improvements on the founders property such as an arena and horse facilities, coming from the nonprofits finance with no protection in place to protect the nonprofits resources should the founders decide to cease the month to month lease.

Two of the board members, Steve Jeffry and John Ostrander, despite having business backgrounds and bringing much needed expertise to the board, allegedly began antagonizing long time volunteers.  When Everett and Steelhammer attempted to leverage the board to get rid of Jeffry and Ostrander by threatening to cease leasing their ranch to the nonprofit, the entire board quit.  “I didn’t feel they [Jeffry and Ostrander] were out of line, both of them have served on boards before,” former board president Woody Dow said. “I’m a horse trainer, I have no experience being on a board in my whole life, so when these people came on board, I welcomed it.”

The board did not accuse of Steelhammer or Everett of any wrongdoing or illegal misuse of nonprofit funds.  A new board is being recruited, no doubt one that will rubber stamp the founders plans and goals for the organization.

Author: Dale Williams <-- Become my friend on Facebook! - Phone: 724-964-6773


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