Taos Bark

Charities need to protect privacy

Posted

The Taos Bark had intended to write on another topic this week before I received the following information from our local nonprofit, Taos Feral Feline Friends.

Currently, Taos County has seven animal-oriented nonprofits that might consider sharing this information and sharing as needed. Staff and volunteers need to have this knowledge as well. It's not just happening "out there" in the larger cities. Keep aware so you can keep on helping our community with your services. As the letter from TFFF states, social media has moved all of us into a new game, and privacy is consistently compromised without permission or our knowledge.

Here is the letter:

"Hi Trish,

"We have an item for the 'Bark' that I hope you can use. I don't know if you've ever visited GuideStar.org, but you can look up any charity for free. One thing they have that is useful is the tax filings that each charity has made. Ours go back to 2009!

"The other topic is privacy. Taos has many families with undocumented immigrants and DACA kids. Now ICE has started 'checking businesses' in town and people are nervous. We want to make it crystal clear that we never give out personal information. All charities should review what they collect, where they store data and who they share it with.

"TFFF has adopted a privacy policy for the protection of its clients and donors personal information. The only personal information collected by TFFF for clients and donors is name, address, E-mail address and telephone number. Credit card numbers, social security numbers and any other personal data are not collected. Collected personal information is never shared with or sold to any business, charity, private individual or government agency. As a further protection, all data is stored 'offline' at TFFF, not on any internet website or server.

"Signed, Leanne and Bill Mitchell."

Mitchell, president of TFFF, stated, "Recent developments here in Taos, nationally, and regarding Facebook, have raised concerns in our community about privacy and data sharing. All our partners, clients and donors need to feel safe giving us their personal information. We will never share your information under any circumstances. We will never store your information on the internet. I promise to protect your privacy."

In a separate development, TFFF was awarded a 2018 Gold Seal of Transparency by GuideStar.org, the world's largest source of information on nonprofit organizations. To earn the Gold Seal, a charity must provide detailed information on its mission, programs, achievements and financial condition. According to GuideStar, the Gold Seal is only awarded to about 1 of 200 charities.

TFFF operates a no-kill shelter for cats and since 2005 is the leading provider of free spay and neuter services and vaccinations for the cats of Taos County.

TFFF also has a new program that provides cat food to low-income people in our community. This is so needed. When I worked the St. James Episcopal Church's Pet Food Pantry we were feeding approximately 300 animals a month. Call (575) 737-9308 for details.

Elections for Taos County sheriff will be in June. I want to remind our animal community that the sheriff's office is in charge of our animal control and animal control officers. Presently, Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe is in charge of animal control. His record needs to be transparent, and other candidates for the job need to be asked questions about their knowledge of our animal challenges in Taos County. I may send a questionnaire to the candidates.

Did you know there is a woman candidate for sheriff this year, one woman in a field of male candidates? Should be interesting.

Have an animal tip or a story to suggest? Contact taosbark@gmail.com or call (575) 613-3448.

Comments