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Follow the Money...The Donation Shell Game

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Location: Staten Island

PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:03 pm    Post subject: Follow the Money...The Donation Shell Game
From Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:00 am to Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:59 am (included)
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As it always seems to be the case after every tragedy people with kind hearts are being taken advantage of.

There are websites that pop up claiming to be collecting for relief efforts.

There are calls from those looking to steal identities by asking for donations for fictitious organizations.

There are even those going door to door soliciting donations for victims and at the end of the day the money collected goes no further than their pockets.

We can prevent these things from happening by educating the public.

By letting them know that they should check out organizations through tools like Guidestar and the Charity Registry.

By telling them never to give out credit information or donations from unsolicited phone calls.

By protecting them from themselves and by steering them to legitimate charities.

But here lies the problem.

Every time we have a tragedy there are ads and appeals from the major charities collecting for the problem at hand.

Today it is Haiti, but it was the same after Katrina and 9/11.

They show pictures of the devastation and beg the public to donate for the victims of the tragedy.

But does the money really get to those who need it most.

In most cases the answer is no.

For example there is currently a major charity that has collected nearly $50 million for the people in Haiti and not even $15 million in support or services has reached the island.

When you question them they say that some of the money is being set aside for long term relief.

But the truth is that even though the money was solicited for a specific cause it goes into a general fund.

That general fund can distribute that money anywhere and for whatever purposes the organization desires.

Now we are not disputing that organizations need money for many reasons.

Our problem is that if money is requested for a specific cause it should all go to that specific cause.

Money collected throughout the year should go for these other expenses.

It has gotten so bad that we do not know where to send people with money to give.

We look at the billions collected after 9/11 and we see victims looking for medical treatment being told that all the funds are gone. (The fact that the government continues to turn their backs on these victims is another story)

We have people still living in shacks in Mississippi and Louisiana and we have schools with little or no supplies because all the Katrina donations are gone. This after nearly $1 billion in donations and supplies had to be either thrown out or went missing because of improper distribution networks.

So much for long term relief.

It is time for the government to get involved.

These organizations need to either distribute what they collect for a particular cause or not be allowed to make specific appeals.

And an outside agency needs to track the funds that have already been collected for long term relief and see where the money is actually going.

In the meantime we would like to ask any of the major charities if they are already following these types of procedures.

If you are please let us know so that we can steer potential donors your way.

As for the local people looking to donate specifically for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti here is our plan.

At the present time there is a tremendous need for water and specific supplies.

We are going to work with Samantha Giordano and Dominick DeRubbio to see if we can hold additional water collections across the Island. (They collected over 13,000 bottles of water this past Saturday)

We are asking schools and businesses to hold water drives as well and we will pick up what you collect.

In addition we are also going to set up an account at Where to Turn which will accept donations specifically for the purchase and transport of water and supplies to Haiti.

100% of whatever is collected will go to cover only these costs and nothing else. (except for a small service charge for credit card donations)

We will also spend whatever comes in immediately on water and supplies and work with charitywater to get it to Haiti as quickly as possible.

Details on how you can contribute to this effort will follow shortly.

Hopefully we will hear back from some charities so that we can give you other options.

In the meantime we ask our government to hold these organizations responsible to distribute what they collect or donít let them collect it at all.

And we beg our elected officials to please follow the money and put an end to this shell game.

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