Better Business Bureau Report for
Starfish Learning Center

Better Business Bureau Report issued February 2015
Better Business Bureau Report expires February 2017

Does not meet one or more standards
This charity does not meet one or more of the 20 standards for Charity Accountability. Find out more...

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Charity Contact Information

Name: Starfish Learning Center
Address: 1543 W Howard St.
  Chicago, IL 60626
Phone: 773-465-4608
Web Address:
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Better Business Bureau Comments

Formerly known as:STarfish Enterprises

Year, State Incorporated: 12, Illinois
Affiliates: None
Stated Purpose: Starfish Learning Center, a nonprofit organization founded in February 1997 and incorporated in July 1998, provides after school tutoring as well as recreational activities for children in the Rogers Park area of Chicago, Illinois.

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Evaluation Conclusions


Starfish Learning Center does not meet the following 6 Standards for Charity Accountability.

Standard 1: Oversight of Operations and Staff - Organizations shall have a board of directors that provides adequate oversight of the charity's operations and its staff. Indication of adequate oversight includes, but is not limited to, regularly scheduled appraisals of the CEO's performance, evidence of disbursement controls such as board approval of the budget, fund raising practices, establishment of a conflict of interest policy, and establishment of accounting procedures sufficient to safeguard charity finances.

Starfish Learning Center does not meet this Standard because its board of directors does not:

  • Review the performance of the chief executive officer at least once every two years.

Standard 2: Number of Board Members - Soliciting organizations shall have a board of directors with a minimum of five voting members.

Starfish Learning Center does not meet this Standard because:

  • The organization has FOUR (4) voting members of the board.

Standard 3: Frequency and Attendance of Board Meetings - An organization shall have a minimum of three evenly spaced meetings per year of the full governing body with a majority in attendance, with face-to-face participation. A conference call of the full board can substitute for one of the three meetings of the governing body. For all meetings, alternative modes of participation are acceptable for those with physical disabilities.

Starfish Learning Center does not meet this Standard because:

  • The board of directors did not hold a minimum of three evenly spaced meetings in the past fiscal year.

Standard 4: Compensated Board Members - Not more than one or 10% (whichever is greater) directly or indirectly compensated person(s) serving as voting member(s) of the board. Compensated members shall not serve as the board's chair or treasurer.

Starfish Learning Center does not meet this Standard because:

  • THREE (3) member(s) out of the FOUR (4) member board of directors (75%) is/are compensated either directly or indirectly.
  • The paid chief executive officer also serves as the chair of the board of directors.

Standard 16: Annual Report - Have an annual report available to all, on request, that includes: (a) the organization's mission statement, (b) a summary of the past year's program service accomplishments, (c) a roster of the officers and members of the board of directors, (d) financial information that includes (i) total income in the past fiscal year, (ii) expenses in the same program, fund raising and administrative categories as in the financial statements, and (iii) ending net assets.

Starfish Learning Center does not meet this standard because the most recent annual report did not include:

  • The organization’s mission statement
  • A summary of program service accomplishments.
  • A roster of the board of directors
  • Total expenses for each program in the same categories that appear in the organization’s financial statements.

Standard 17: Web Site Disclosures - Include on any charity websites that solicit contributions, the same information that is recommended for annual reports, as well as the mailing address of the charity and electronic access to its most recent IRS Form 990.

Starfish Learning Center does not meet this Standard because the organization's website,, does not include all of the recommended information for those charity websites that solicit for donations. Specifically, it does not include:

  • A roster of the board of directors.
  • Total income.
  • Total program expenses.
  • Total fund raising expenses.
  • Total administrative expenses.
  • End of year net assets.
  • Electronic access to the organization’s most recent IRS Form 990.
In addition, the BBB of Chicago & Northern Illinois requested but did not receive complete information on the organization’s donor privacy and is unable to verify the organization's compliance with the following Standard for Charity Accountability: 18.
Starfish Learning Center meets the remaining 13 Standards for Charity Accountability.
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Starfish educates and mentors children through homework help, educational and moral teachings, computer lab sessions, and nutritional and fitness guidance.

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013, Starfish Learning Center's program expenses were:

Salaries 60,423
Occupancy 15,790
Depreciation 14,187
misc. Program expenses 12,201
Payroll taxes 4,827
Insurance-liability 3,368
Travel 2,787
Telephone 1,699
Employee Benefits 240
Licenses and fees 200
Professional fees
Bank fees and interest
Fundraising Expenses
marketing supplies
Total Program Expenses: $115,722
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Chief Executive : Jason Croox, Executive Director

Chair of the Board: Board of Directors
Chair's Profession / Business Affiliation: teacher

Board Size: 4

Paid Staff Size: 4

*Compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts, and other allowances.
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Fund Raising


Method(s) Used:

direct mail, invitations to fund raising events, print advertisements, grant proposals, internet
Fund raising costs were 10% of related contributions. (Related contributions, which totaled $146,662, are donations received as a result of fund raising activities.)
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Tax Status


This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.
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The following information is based on Starfish Learning Center's audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013.

Source of Funds  
Contributions-individuals 123,244
Government grant 25,373
Contibutions-foundations and businesses 15,584
Fundraising events 7,834
Interest income 1
Total Income $172,036


Uses of Funds as a % of Total Expenses

Programs: 69%  Fund Raising: 8%  Administrative: 23% 

Total income $172,036
Program expenses $115,722
Fund raising expenses 14,144
Administrative expenses 38,949
Total expenses $168,815
Income in Excess of Expenses 3,221
Beginning net assets 244,530
Ending net assets 247,751
Total liabilities 23,029
Total assets $270,780

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An organization may change its practices at any time without notice. A copy of this report has been shared with the organization prior to publication. It is not intended to recommend or deprecate, and is furnished solely to assist you in exercising your own judgment. If the report is about a charity and states the charity meets or does not meet the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability, it reflects the results of an evaluation of information and materials provided voluntarily by the charity. The name Better Business Bureau is a registered service mark of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.

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