A Bloomington girls’ softball association is asking for help after someone stole thousands of dollars, leaving the nonprofit unable to pay its bills.
The Bloomington Fastpitch Association, which sponsors fast-pitch softball teams for girls ages 6 and over, said somebody drained its account of $90,000 to $110,000, said President Chris Clifford.
Bloomington police confirmed Wednesday that they had arrested a suspect on probable cause felony theft, but released that person as the investigation continues.
“It requires a lot of hours putting a case together,” said Deputy Chief Mike Hartley. “It’s an active investigation.”
Two board members learned of the theft when they went to the bank to add another person authorizing access to the account. Bank officials told them there was only $21 in the account, Clifford said.
The theft added another tough blow for the association, which this year had 206 girls signed up to play on 11 traveling teams and six in-house teams. Just days before the theft was discovered, the players got the bad news that the summer season was canceled amid COVID-19 restrictions.
Clifford said he doesn’t know the time period when the money disappeared. He said the association is contacting past treasurers to piece together financial information and determine how much money is usually in the account at this time of year.
In another set back, the association’s four biggest fundraisers of the season also have been scrubbed. A pancake breakfast set for Sunday is off and three large softball tournaments, including a state and national tournament, have been scrubbed due restrictions on public events due to the coronavirus pandemic. The fundraisers account for 50% of the association’s revenue, Clifford said.
“It’s just gigantic,” he said of the losses.
But the association, which dates to 1983, will go on. Players began practices this week and the association plans to offer skills training this summer. It also hopes to offer a fall season.
“We will be back,” Clifford said.
Association officials said they are planning other fundraising events, but added they still would not come close to replacing the lost income.
Association alumni have started a GoFundMe campaign with a $150,000 goal. By Wednesday night, the campaign had raised $9,300.
“In order to continue operations, we need help,” posting reads. “We humbly ask for your support to allow us to continue in our quest to provide a meaningful development opportunity for the young girls of Bloomington.”
The organization said it has taken swift action to secure its bank account and is changing its processes to prevent another theft.