Charity scams

How not to buy a brick in a box off the back of a truck.
Posts: 30365
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:45 am
Location: Yokohama/Tokyo, Japan

Charity scams

Post by Anaxagoras »

When should this sort of thing be considered outright illegal, and fraud?

America's worst charities
Every year, Kids Wish Network raises millions of dollars in donations in the name of dying children and their families.
Every year, it spends less than 3 cents on the dollar helping kids.
Most of the rest gets diverted to enrich the charity's operators and the for-profit companies Kids Wish hires to drum up donations.
In the past decade alone, Kids Wish has channeled nearly $110 million donated for sick children to its corporate solicitors. An additional $4.8 million has gone to pay the charity's founder and his own consulting firms.
No charity in the nation has siphoned more money away from the needy over a longer period of time.
"Kids Wish Network", that sounds a lot like the Make a Wish Foundation. I bet they are counting on people confusing the two.

Seems like fraud that ought to be illegal to me.
Rob Lister
Posts: 23535
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2004 7:15 pm
Title: Incipient toppler
Location: Swimming in Lake Ed

Re: Charity scams

Post by Rob Lister »

Charity Watch as a rather scathing analysis on them. It includes comments by Breiner.
Mark Breiner thinks watchdogs like CharityWatch get it wrong, telling the Tribune that the public should ignore criticisms of KWN's finances and focus instead on all the children whose lives the group has helped. On its web site KWN states that it helped 103,672 kids last fiscal year, and reports in its audit for the same period that it spent just under $4.9 million on "Wish Granting."

Donors should be aware that this figure does not represent the total value of gifts passed on to each child, but rather the average per-child cost of delivering each wish. It includes more than $825,000 of program staff costs, among other expenses. Even when all wish granting costs are included, the average amount spent per child was only $47, which includes in-kind goods the charity received and passed on as part of its wish granting. Donors who have contributed cash to KWN will be disappointed to learn that once in-kind goods are excluded, it spent an average of less than $17 to grant each child's wish last fiscal year.
They're less than 10% efficient from our point of view. 90% efficient from Breiner's point of view. Now that it is more publicly 'out there', I anticipate they'll be closing their doors soon. The IRS will likely investigate and Breiner better hoped he crossed all his audit t's. I see a vacation at Club Fed in his future.
Doctor X
Posts: 80147
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2004 8:09 pm
Title: Collective Messiah
Location: Your Mom

Re: Charity scams

Post by Doctor X »

One sad reality is some wishes are not expensive. If Sick Tyke wants "so much" to visit the dugout, throw out a first pitch, play catch with their favorite quarterback--most sports dudes are happy to volunteer their time. Not a lot of cost there other than if, well, you have things like medical treatment going on . . .transport . . . but even the MFYs--who tried to see if they could force a forfeit on a team delayed by a hurricane--would not force a charity to pay a fee for the appearance, or charge them for shirts, ball, all of that stuff.

That is the sad reality: such "charities" pray on the generosity of donors and people involved in a "wish."

Posts: 30365
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:45 am
Location: Yokohama/Tokyo, Japan

Re: Charity scams

Post by Anaxagoras »

Another one: ... nia-216069
The warning was prophetic.

Maurice Levite sat in a modest office in Falls Church, Virginia, about a decade ago, and cautioned his longtime friend, Brian Arthur Hampton, against continuing to use telemarketers to fund his small veterans charity.

With the help of his fundraisers-for-hire, Hampton had increased Circle of Friends for American Veterans’ income by an astounding amount — tenfold within three years.

But there was a catch — a costly one. The fundraisers were keeping most of the contributions donors were giving to the charity. Almost all of the money left over paid for overhead costs, such as Hampton’s salary. Veterans themselves received scraps.

Levite says he protested, but Hampton ignored him. He hired another telemarketer, Outreach Calling, to assist a related veterans nonprofit he runs out of the same office. This telemarketer — which the New York attorney general’s office says is run by a man they banned for life from fundraising in New York and remains under investigation — kept $9 out of every $10 raised.

Meanwhile, Hampton’s reported compensation quadrupled — to $340,126 between his two nonprofits in 2015 — in less than a decade.

“I’m flabbergasted,” said Levite, who served with Hampton on the board of Circle of Friends for American Veterans from 2006 to 2009. “Those figures blow me away.”

With help from Outreach Calling, Hampton is now expanding his operation into the largely unregulated world of political fundraising, sponsoring a veterans-focused political action committee that’s using the same money-generating tactics as his nonprofit groups, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of Federal Election Commission and Internal Revenue Service documents.

Hampton has already cashed in: During the first nine months of 2017, he paid himself $75,000 from his PAC. Out of $1.5 million the PAC has raised from donors, telemarketers have kept $1.3 million. Politicians and political committees that support veterans issues hadn’t received a cent through September.

Hampton said he hires telemarketers because it is too expensive and time-consuming to try to raise money on his own.

“Over the course of 24 years, I have tried every other fundraising technique known to me in over four decades with fundraising experience, most of them over and over again, with different variations,” Hampton wrote in an email to the Center for Public Integrity (he declined to answer questions in person). “None of those efforts produced revenue remotely close to the revenue generated by telemarketing.”

He also defended his compensation: “I am the head of three organizations. I am always working.”
Posts: 20869
Joined: Wed Jun 09, 2004 11:46 pm
Title: Bruce of all Bruces
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Charity scams

Post by Bruce »

This is why I only send my money directly to the dictators of 3rd World countries.

That way, I know that the money will be spent either to provide the children with food, or protect them from the insurgents.

Either way, I can feel good about myself for helping the children.