Friday, December 24, 2004

90% to Fund Raiser???

A report on Fox News reminded me of a phone call I made to Journal Star Columnist Terry Bibo in approximately 1998. I told this columnist that she should investigate a fund raising company in the area that was raising funds for certain local social organizations by selling tickets good for a local entertainment event to the public by telephone. This fund raiser was keeping 90% of the money collected and giving the social clubs 10%. Tickets were sold to the unsuspecting public for $8.00 to benefit the social clubs who received only$ .80. I told Ms.Bibo that I felt the public was being “conned”. I gave her the names of the social clubs and the name, address and phone number of the fund raiser. She said she would check into it and get back to me. A year later in a conversation with Barbara Mantz, JS Editorial page manager, I mentioned my conversation with Ms. Bibo and that Ms. Bibo had never gotten back to me. Ms. Mantz said she would pass the information on to the manager Bibo reported to. Shortly thereafter, I received a blistering phone call from Ms. Bibo. Bibo told me if she wanted to check this 10% rip-off deal she would and if she didn’t want to check it out, she wouldn’t. End of conversation. She has never written on the subject as of this date.

A couple of years later, Bibo took out her revenge with a 500 word vicious attack on me in her column in the JS in an attempt to discredit me so I would lose the County Board election in 2000. Bibo tried to embarrass me with falsehood after falsehood. (I didn’t lose the election because anyone with common sense could see she was “out to get me”).

Bibo is known in this community as a “bleeding liberal”. My conservatism doesn’t blend in with her ilk.

Most organizations that raise funds for good causes are legitimate. Fox News reported today that many aren’t or if they are legitimate, the fund raiser often takes a major portion of the money raised. Or, too much goes to operating expenses of the social organizations, including executive salaries and benefits.

There have been some major scandals in some groups like the National Headquarters of the United Way in excessive executive pay or in the case of the National Headquarters of the Red Cross, trying to get involved politically. Some organizations were sending your money to groups like the El Qaeda and Hamas.

I have always been more than interested why the Journal Star management does not look into how much money is allocated to overhead of those organizations always soliciting for money (12 request in 2004 from one well know local charitable organization). Is that because the JS is in the business of fund raising themselves? They were able to report dollar for dollar on the Bielfeldt Foundation receipts and disbursements and who received the disbursement. (I know they Js editors sometimes visit this site. Maybe they will publish if any overhead is deducted from the funds they collect for charity)?

I understand financial statements are available and at some point I am going to start writing letters asking for a breakout of revenues and expenses. Maybe ask what the Executive Officers are making and with what benefits. My first letter will probably be to the Journal Star. I have never seen a report as to how much they take out for overhead and what financial institutions hold the collected money and who the recipients are. Is everything collected given out during the fund raising drive or do they keep a permanent staff to keep giving all year long? Who makes the decision as to who receives what? Has the JS created a foundation similar to the Bielfeldt Foundation? I’m sure the JS fund is in the best interests of the public and the overhead is reasonable. Maybe this is all public knowledge and I just don’t know where to look.

Most of us feel good about giving a certain amount of our money to charities. This blog and the Fox News Report serves as a reminder that you might feel a lot better if most if not all of your donations actually do go to worthwhile causes. If just the idea of giving makes you feel good, hey, it’s your money. This blog is just a reminder you may not always be getting the bang for the buck you expect!!

But the question remains. Why didn’t Bibo, as an investigative reporter, look into this public rip-off? Isn’t that what newspapers are supposed to do? Didn’t they do it with the Bielfeldt Foundation? Are these same local organizations still just receiving 10% of the funds collected?



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