A non-profit that receives the majority of its funding from taxpayers is trying to get more in two bills that are still alive in the Mississippi Legislature.
The Delta Health Alliance is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit based in Stoneville and manages 52 education and healthcare programs in the impoverished Mississippi Delta.
House Bill 1729, sponsored by state Rep. Trey Lamar, R-Senatobia, has been amended in the Senate to include language that would allow the DHA to receive funds from a tax credit originally intended to benefit-eligible non-profit organizations that provide foster care and other services to impoverished youth. Lamar’s bill would raise the present $5 million cap on annual giving to $10 million if signed into law.
While the language in the amendment doesn’t mention the DHA by name, the organization is the only one in the state to participate in the Promise Neighborhood program that was launched by the Obama administration.
The organization has already successfully lobbied to get $4.161 million inserted into this year’s Medicaid appropriation bill, HB 1713.
The earmark is for the Mississippi Delta Medicaid Population Health Demonstration project that uses information technology to help providers reduce preterm births and conditions that can lead to type II diabetes among the Medicaid population in a 10-county area in the Delta.
The executive director of Medicaid, Drew Synder, told the Legislature last year that he’d be unable to endorse the appropriation as a cost-effective use of taxpayer dollars.
The Medicaid appropriation bill is in conference.
DHA is no stranger to receiving state funds, with $14.7 million having been allocated to its various projects since 2015.
The organization paid its CEO, Karen Matthews, more than $432,000 in 2018 and 10 other employees annual salaries of more than $100,000, according to its tax forms filed with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
The DHA was created in 2001 as a collaboration by the five public universities led by former U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran to meet the healthcare and educational needs of the 18 counties in the Mississippi Delta region and funded by earmarks from the former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
In 2018, the organization had $25.9 million in revenues, sourced primarily from both state and federal sources ($18.16 million from government grants and $5.138 million in contributions and other non-governmental grants). The non-profit spent $19.4 million, with program expenses taking up $17.74 million. Government grants made up more than 70 percent of its revenues in 2018.
- $5.518 million for the Indianola Promise Neighborhood from the U.S Department of Education.
- $3.92 million from the DOE for the Deer Creek Promise Neighborhood.
- $3.516 million for the Sunflower Childcare Coalition for early Headstart
In 2017, DHA had nearly $19 million in revenue, primarily from federal and state funds and the group spent $19.4 million for a deficit of $533,422. Among the $14.2 million in government grants received by the organization in 2017 include:
- $5.642 million in various grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- $3.284 million from the U.S. Department of Education for the Indianola Promise Neighborhood.
- $3.114 million from the Sunflower Childcare Coalition for early Headstart.
Program services accounted for $14.3 million of those expenditures. In 2017, more than 75 percent of DHA’s revenues came from taxpayers.