Thursday, April 4, 2013

Charity can’t deposit big check from major corporate donor

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One of Metro’s largest charities has handed back a $100,000 donation from a major corporate sponsor because it couldn’t cash the over-sized check they received.

The Metro Hospital Trust received the donation from Snidely Hardware, a chain of Metro stores that employs more than 1,200 people. At the special announcement event at the Trust’s offices, store officials handed over a large check that was six feet wide and 2 feet tall.

“We were all smiles until they handed over this big check. Like, how the heck are we supposed to take that to the bank?” said Trust CEO Dibble Brewer.

Confused Trust officials thanked the company and its employees for the donation, but later met in private to discuss the problem with the check.

“As the Director of Finance, I see a lot of cheques. But most of them are much, much smaller,” said the Trust’s Wendy Badhairdoo. “This one was like much, much bigger. And it was made out of a rigid material. We couldn’t get it to fit into our bank deposit bag. I didn’t know what to do.”

Trust officials tried several ways to fold the big check but to no avail. They then considered a plan to break the check into pieces for reassembly by the bank using a detailed map and written instructions. Nothing worked.

“We called our banker who was playing golf and told him about our problem. We asked him whether the bank would accept a check the size of a pool table and he said ‘no’. Checks needed to be a regulation size,” said Brewer. “What were we to do?”

Finally, Brewer says they had to call the company back and ask them for something smaller.

“This was a really hard thing to do, so naturally I asked Wendy to do it. She called the CEO of Snidely Hardware and told him that the check was just too big and that we needed it to be much smaller.”

“They had a hard time understanding our request. I guess they have been using big checks like this for donations for years and strangely enough no one has ever told them about the problems it creates,” said Badhairdoo. “I had to tell them that we needed something smaller or we couldn’t take their donation. They seemed to get that.”

A few days later a courier dropped off a standard-sized cheque for $10,000 and a note from Snidely Hardware that as requested they were giving us “something smaller.”

“That’s what you get for reminding corporate donors about breaking the financial rules. They cut their original donation. Some donors are irresponsible and childish like that,” said Brewer. “But I’d rather be a forthright, ethical charity than be a charity that gets over-sized checks and tries to pass them off on our bank. We may have less, but we have our pride.”