There’s been quite a turnaround in the finances the last three years of the North Iredell Youth Athletic Association (NIYAA), formerly known as the Iredell County Youth Athletic Association (ICYAA).
An organization that once apparently couldn’t turn a dime of profit is now raking in money under new leadership.
For the three fiscal years between July 2008 and June 2011, the nonprofit organization then known as the ICYAA reported zero profit each year. But now, after replacing its executive committee and turning over much of its board, the NIYAA has brought in about an average of $25,000 of profit a year, a total of $91,350 from July 2011 to the present, according to the group’s treasurer.
Back when there was no money to be made, those in charge blamed the cost of food that was sold and having to pay people to work concessions and ticket booths due to lack of volunteers. A group of parents pushed for an audit of the organization’s books during 2011, a request that was repeatedly denied despite certified public accountants offering to do it for free, which raised suspicions of misappropriation. The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office was contacted at the time regarding the finances, but no charges were ever filed.
In June 2011, the ICYAA’s president of 11 years, Robin Harvey, resigned while saying that he didn’t remember an audit ever being performed during his tenure. And since Harvey left, a majority of the 15 people who serve in a capacity on the group’s board have also changed.
“We started making money and showing that we made money the year after all the other people left,” said NIYAA treasurer Mark Hawkins, who led the calls for an audit more than three years ago and has been treasurer since this summer.
The NIYAA organizes and manages sports leagues for Union Grove, East Iredell, Central, Cool Springs and Harmony elementary schools. There is football, volleyball and cheerleading in the fall, basketball in the winter and track in the spring.
The profit that is made – from ticket and concession sales – goes directly back to the five elementary schools, with North Iredell High and North Iredell Middle receiving a small piece as well.
The NIYAA made $20,000 from football just this season, the most ever for the organization, which was formed in the 1970s. Money given back to schools over the last three-plus years has paid for, among many other improvements, a refinished gym floor for Union Grove Elementary and new football equipment at Central Elementary. When no profit was made, the schools were given nothing back.
“It’s just wonderful,” said NIYAA President Ike Branham, who took his position this summer as well. “To be able to give money back, it helps their programs, their communities, their families.”
Branham said a couple things have changed in the last three years to account for the sudden and sustaining profit.
Before, the organization was having trouble finding enough volunteers to work games, and ended paying a fair amount of people to do so. But now, a local restaurant sets up shop at games and sells food, cutting down on the amount of volunteers needed and concessions the group buys, although they still sell snacks and drinks.
Branham said the amount of volunteers needed per game has dropped down to about four from eight to 10. There is also a lot more communication between the schools, he said, which has made it easier to find and organize volunteers to work.
“I think it balances out,” Branham said of the money. “It definitely did.”
Those running the NIYAA now are happy to move past the final three years of the ICYAA. The dispute over whether money was being made or not was divisive, with parents from different elementary school areas making accusations of inappropriate, and even criminal, actions.
Board practices have also changed in the last thee years, with regular turnover of leadership positions.
Branham said that he now feels “excellent about the future of the program.”
“It makes me feel good to know that we’ve got a good organization now taking care of the kids, giving money back to the schools,” he said.