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Silent Auction Financial Documents Destroyed


Originally posted on Oct. 16, 2009.

To:        SVP and SVPCA 2009 Annual Meeting Silent Auction Participants
From:   SVP Headquarters
Re:        2009 Silent Auction Payment Problem

Thank you for participating in the hugely successful SVP and SVPCA Annual Meeting in Bristol.

We are writing to inform you that the check and credit card payment materials from the Silent Auction in Bristol were inadvertently destroyed while in the custody of the Order Processing Department at the SVP Headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois. The material had not yet been processed. The total amount for Silent Auction check and credit card payments is $5,302. In total, the auction raised more than $13,900 for SVP and SVPCA, based on the exchange rate in effect.

SVP's headquarters management is provided by The Sherwood Group, a firm that specializes in services and staff for nonprofit membership communities in science, research and medicine. The Sherwood Group stands behind its work, and will cover the entire amount of the loss to SVP and SVPCA. Although we have chosen to address this problem ourselves, both Sherwood and SVP carry insurance to cover the destruction or theft of materials and assets.

This loss does not apply to cash from the Silent Auction, which was deposited in a U.K. bank account, and it does not apply to the Live Auction donations – cash, check or charge. It also does not apply to other meeting-related fees, such as registration or merchandise sales, regardless of payment method. Everything else has been accounted for and processed securely.

It is our responsibility to inform individuals who paid for Silent Auction items by check or credit card that your account information may have been compromised. Although we believe that the material has been buried in the landfill, be alert for inappropriate charges or withdrawals, and please notify SVP Headquarters immediately at: svp@vertpaleo.org  if you suspect a problem.

We are embarrassed by this mistake and offer our apologies to the SVP and SVPCA community, along with our assurances that our internal controls, which are audited every year by a third party, have been addressed as appropriate. (This is the first such incident in more than 25 years of doing business.)

We know that SVP and SVPCA auction participants are motivated by the opportunity to support important SVP and SVPCA programs.  We look forward to facilitating such opportunities for many years to come.

Kate VanZanten
SVP Executive Director

Greg Schultz
Vice President, The Sherwood Group

President’s Statement Concerning the Destruction of Silent Auction Financial Documents

I am writing to you on behalf of the Executive Committee regarding the recent loss of check and credit card payment materials from the Annual Meeting Silent Auction that occurred while in the custody of SVP's Management Firm, The Sherwood Group.

Although this is unfortunate, we are pleased that The Sherwood Group brought this to our attention immediately and took swift action to ensure that SVP and SVPCA will suffer no financial harm from this incident.  Moreover, they have implemented corrective actions to ensure that similar events will not occur in the future.

The Executive Committee had a conference call with The Sherwood Group during which we reviewed Sherwood's procedures for handling SVP funds as well as Sherwood's and SVP's insurance policies. After this review we retain full confidence in Sherwood and are confident that SVP's finances are being properly managed.

As the letter from Sherwood stated, we believe account information from those of you who paid for Silent Auction materials via credit card or check is buried in a landfill, but you should be alert for any inappropriate charges or withdrawals. No further action is required from you as Sherwood is reimbursing SVP in full for the lost funds and your account will not be charged.

We appreciate that many SVP members use the auction as an opportunity to lend their financial support to SVP.  Because the Sherwood Group will fully refund SVP for the lost Silent Auction donations, we urge those of you who purchased items at the Silent Auction to donate some or all of the funds you already committed to SVP via our secure Web site at: https://www.vertpaleo.org/donate/index.cfm .

Sincerely yours,

Blaire Van Valkenburgh, President


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