All Articles Tagged "charity"
A Tennessee family raised $187 million under the guise of “supporting” cancer patients. The Federal Trade Commission caught ’em red handed spending the donated money on cars, gym memberships, luxury cruise vacations, college tuition, and more, Yahoo! Finance reports.
James T. Reynolds Sr., his ex-wife, and son collected the donations through their own charities: The Cancer Fund of America, The Breast Cancer Society , and the Children’s Cancer Fund of America. The organizations hired telemarketers to solicit $20 donations from people across the country.
Donors were led to believe that the charities generously supported cancer patients who are in need of pain medication, transportation to chemotherapy sessions, and hospice care.
But according to the FTC, not much of the money actually reached cancer patients. The charity organizations operated as “personal fiefdoms characterized by rampant nepotism, flagrant conflicts of interest, and excessive insider compensation.”
And for those who are looking for a refund, tough luck. “The money is mostly gone,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection.
The litigation against the Reynolds is still on-going, but as part of a settlement agreement, they are currently barred running these charities.
The Breast Cancer Society, one of the shuttered charity organizations ran under Reynolds II, blamed increased government scrutiny for their downfall:
“While the organization, its officers and directors have not been found guilty of any allegations of wrongdoing, and the government has not proven otherwise, our board of directors has decided that it does not help those who we seek to serve, and those who remain in need, for us to engage in a highly publicized, expensive, and distracting legal battle around our fundraising practices,” according to the statement.
The organizations hid their high administration costs from benefactors and regulators, according to the complaint. The groups filed financial documents stating that they collected about $223 million “gifts in kind.” But, allegedly, that is all poppycock.
“Investigators say that number was inflated and helped to create the illusion that the groups were being more efficient with donated money than they actually were,” Yahoo! Finance said.
As per the FTC, 36 states claim that the defendants filed “false and misleading” financial statements with state charities.
The settlement agreement imposed heavy judgments on the family. Reynolds II, for instance, faced a $65.5 million judgment, which may be forgiven after paying $60,000.
“I hope it serves as a strong warning for anyone trying to exploit the kindness and generosity of others,” Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said of the investigation.
The Washington Post lays out five reasons why it took so long for the government to catch on to the scam, including an overwhelming number of charities to oversee, the aggressive telemarketers that these charities used and people’s desire to help a good cause.
If there’s one thing you can say about Terrence J, it’s that he is a stand up guy.
The E! News correspondent donated a $100,000 endowment fund to his alma mater North Carolina A&T State University. The beautiful gesture took place Friday morning on campus as he celebrated “Terrence J Day.” The day celebrates the journalism and mass communication department. The day featured a mentor’s breakfast and a “Let’s Talk” networking session.
In addition to his donation, NBCUniversal has established a partnership with the university. The partnership will help develop initiatives to assist future graduates of HBCUs with careers in entertainment.
Terrence stated, “I am truly humbled to return to my alma mater and be in a position to give back to the same department and University that helped steer me on this incredibly rewarding career path. I’m inspired by the great work that NBCUniversal has contributed to N.C. A&T State and I am thankful to be able to work together with them on these important programs.”
We are absolutely squealing in our seats! It’s beautiful to see a celebrity give back so generously to the community. We’re sure that partnership with NBCUniversal and the $100K donation will change the lives of many. And it comes at a time when HBCUs are struggling to remain financially viable. Here are six other notable names who are helping the nation’s HBCUs.
If you haven’t heard, there is a Black man in Detroit who walks 21 miles to-and-from work because he needs the money.
As reported by the Detroit Free Press, 56- year-old James Robertson works at a factory, which is located 23 miles away from his home. There is a bus line but it only covers half of his trip. The other half he must travel by way of dusty Timberland boots. He travels 23 miles, Monday through Friday, for a job that pays him a little over 10 bucks an hour.
According to the story, Robertson has been making this 21-mile journey ever since his 1988 Honda Accord broke down over a decade ago. For whatever reason, Bill Laitner of the Detroit paper sees something dignified in this. And highlights it in the most flowery of prose:
“Every trip is an ordeal of mental and physical toughness for this soft-spoken man with a perfect attendance record at work. And every day is a tribute to how much he cares about his job, his boss and his coworkers. Robertson’s daunting walks and bus rides, in all kinds of weather, also reflect the challenges some metro Detroiters face in getting to work in a region of limited bus service, and where car ownership is priced beyond the reach of many.”
But you won’t hear Robertson complain — nor his boss.”
Um, perhaps Robertson should complain a bit more?
And I’m being serious here when I say that perhaps Robertson needs to engage in a little Black Lives Matter-protesting on the job? You know, raise a stink about that long-overdue raise? Or at the very least, maybe he should be putting those resumes out for a new gig, that requires less travel time? Take it from a person who had to learn the hard way: if you want something in life you better speak up and say something. As Zora Neale Hurston once said, “if you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”
Or you can stay ridiculously humble to the point of being self-sacrificial and wait for a nice reporter to come around and do an equally nice human interest story about you, which eventually inspires enough donations to buy you a new car. Whatever works.
And as USA Today reports:
“After the Detroit Free Press told of Robertson’s arduous 21-mile trek to and from his suburban factory job, the story inspired thousands of donations from across the nation. A day later, the soft-spoken machine operator got to meet the computer student from Wayne State University who launched an Internet crowd-funding site to gather more than $230,000 — a figure expected to continue to climb today.
At Mr. B’s Food & Spirits bar in downtown Rochester, the two hugged and were interviewed Monday night for national television shows and People magazine.”
What’s wrong with it? On the surface, absolutely nothing. In fact, it is quite generous of the global community to chip in a couple of dollars each to help Robertson, at the very least, get a car to transport him back and forth to work. However, if I was Robertson, I would be totally cautious of accepting those unsolicited funds from strangers.
What I mean is that folks can get real paternalistic over poor people. And some charity can come along with inflated expectations of the kind of impact this supposed act of kindness will have on an individual’s life. We identify the alleged hurdles in an individual’s life and then become inspired by them. And we decide to help these people fix or overcome that hurdle. Usually, this help comes with expectations that they will miraculously turn their lives around. However, when they fail to meet our expectations, we are disappointed in them, turn our backs on them and in some instances, want the return of our charity from them.
I see lots of this being played out in Robertson’s story. His savior is a banker, who first brought Robertson’s story to the Detroit Free Press and is overseeing a “board of advisors,” who will not only monitor the funds, but “set much of Robertson’s windfall aside for future expenses, including auto insurance, gasoline, maintenance, and some of the cash likely will help him with medical and dental care.” In other words, Robertson is a project.
In a sense, charity becomes an exercise in meritocracy as opposed to a matter of addressing someone’s alleged immediate need(s). And it also tends to ignore what is the larger concern here, which is income inequality. The crime here is that Robertson has to travel 46 miles round trip from home to a township, in which he probably can’t even afford to live, just to work a job that only pays him $10 an hour. The secondary crime here is that in 2015, public transportation in some parts of America is virtually non-existent. The secondary and primary crimes here often work in cahoots at keeping poor people, poor. And in lots of instances, it is by design. But instead of thinking about why there are jobs targeted to grown men and women in places that they can’t afford to live, which pay less than livable wages (and trying to fix that), we blame the people for not crawling low enough.
Now, I’m not saying Robertson shouldn’t take the money if he really needs it. If he really needs it, heck yeah, take the money. However, I really hope that those who donated won’t start trippin’ if six months down the line, we find out that homeboy is still walking to work because he decided to take that once-in-a-lifetime trip to Vegas instead of buying himself a new car. Hell, after taxes, gas, insurance and upkeep,
I wouldn’t blame him one bit if he decided to take that car money and bet it all on black.
As a former organizer, the one thing I learned was that you have to let folks be the captain of the change in their lives. And the best that you, as a help-mate, could do is support and provide guidance. Ironically, I noticed that nowhere in the story, or in the follow-up story, did anyone bother to ask Robertson if he was cool with his predicament. Everyone just kind of assumes that he needs charity to begin with.
After toiling away to make a new company a success, many entrepreneurs would want to hang on to as much of the fortune they amounted as possible. But that was not the thinking of Cari Tuna and her future husband, Dustin Moskovitz, a Facebook co-founder, in 2010, when they both were in their mid-20s. They decided they would give away most of their multibillion-dollar fortune to charity.
In 2010, Tuna and Moskovitz became the youngest couple ever to sign on to the Giving Pledge, the campaign started by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet to encourage the world’s billionaires to commit to giving away most of their wealth, reports The Chicago Tribune.
The pair believed that most of the money Moskovitz had made, which was estimated at $8.1 billion according to Forbes, should be returned to society in their lifetimes. But first they had to figure out how and where to give it away.
“The conventional wisdom is to say, ‘What am I passionate about?’ and go for something in that area,” Tuna said. “That can be a great way to do things, but at the same time, I think that by just going with that, you’re leaving a lot of opportunity for impact on the table.”
Tuna and Moskovitz, now 29 and 30, respectively, spent three years researching what to do with the money. Finally, after hundreds of interviews and trips that took them from Washington think tanks such as the Brookings Institution to health clinics in Myanmar and villages in Kenya, they have honed in on four major “buckets”: U.S. policy, global catastrophic risks, international aid and science. And in early 2015, they will announce their first major gifts.
“I came to this work without a really fixed worldview as most philanthropists do that are coming to this after highly successful careers in other fields,” said Tuna, who serves as president of Good Ventures, the couple’s foundation. “I have a blank slate, and I’m trying to use that as an advantage.”
No one ever wants to hear news that negatively affects the well-being of others. There are just way too many natural disasters and man-made tragedies that really make you ask why. Thankfully there are organizations out there that are trying to help. Sure we can’t make everything go away but we can do the best to our ability to help out. Here are 10 organizations making a difference in the world.
He may play the long lost, illegitimate black son in Showtime’s “Ray Donovan,” returning July 13, but in real life, Pooch Hall was shown nothing but love from his TV fam as they came out to support a charity close to his heart.
In March, the actor and his wife Linda hosted a first-of-its-kind Special Needs Family Prom in North Hollywood, Calif. that doubled as a “Sweet 16” party for their own special needs daughter, Djanai.
The couple’s charity organization, Djanai’s Angels, threw the event as part of its goal to raise awareness and enrich the lives of families of children with special needs. Participants enjoyed red carpet arrivals, a candy cocktail hour, prom photos, a “Sweet 16” birthday cake for Djanai, an inclusive fashion show and the crowning of Prom King and Queen. Music was provided by their very own special needs DJ… DJ Kripple King.
The day was designed as an opportunity for supporters and families to mingle with celebs, learn about Djanai’s Angels and raise funds for the inClusion Clubhouse, a planned facility that would cater to the needs of families with special needs kids.
Read more about Pooch Hall’s charity work at EurWeb.com
To say that many of us were shocked to hear about Paul Walker’s death is an understatement. As confirmation began to spread, celebrities and fans expressed their sadness and disbelief about this tragedy; by all accounts, Paul Walker seemed like a great guy offscreen.
But for his second family, the cast and crew of The Fast & the Furious franchise, the news has hit them on a deeper level. They were just starting to wrap up on the seventh installment and with the much time being spent over the last 12 years, the relationships become more than just “co-workers.”
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson” took to Twitter to express his sadness regarding Paul Walkers death:
James Wan, the director of The Fast & the Furious 7, was understandably in a state of disbelief:
“Your humble spirit was felt from the start, wherever you blessed your presence you always left a mark, we were like brothers & our birthdays are only 1 day apart, now You will forever hold a place in all our hearts @paulwalker legacy will live on forever. R.I.P.”
Vin Diesel added:
“Brother I will miss you very much. I am absolutely speechless. Heaven has gained a new Angel. Rest in Peace.”
Tyrese’s reaction really encompassed what everyone who knew him seemed to be feeling:
“My heart is hurting so bad no one cam make me believe this is real Father God I pray that you send clarity over this cause I just don’t undertsand My heart hurts it’s broken no one can convince me that this is real…Prayer warriors please pray real hard for his only child, his daughter, and family…#HeartOfAnAngel13YrsFamilyForeverWeJustCelebratedYour40thBirthday…My God…My God…I can’t believe I’m writing this”
He also posted a picture of a recent text message conversation and as part of the caption, Tyrese added, “At least I got to say I love you…”
Walker’s co-stars from Takers also reacted to the news:
T.I.: “I’m shocked & saddened to find that the world has lost such a great spirited person. Paul Walker was not only a passionate, talented actor, he was also a sincere man with a genuine personality, that filled a room immediately upon introduction. My family’s hearts & prayers is extended to his family, especially his daughter. He will never be forgotten. May he rest in peace. #RIPPAULWALKER”
Idris Elba: “I’m Heart broken Paul Walker, he was a mate of mine, very sad. My heart goes out to his daughter.”
Michael Ealy: “My heart is crushed by the news that my friend Paul Walker passed away today. Prayers and light to his daughter and family right now.”
We will update you if any other information becomes available about this terrible tragedy. Gone Too Soon: Actors Who Died While Filming A Movie Or TV Show
The holidays are more than just the gifts we receive but recognizing our many blessings in life. As we start to gear up for the season of shopping and overbuying, quite a few companies will be looking for ways that they can give back. Granted many participate in various endeavors year round, there’s nothing more warming to the soul than helping those in need during this season of thanks. Here are some ways your company can give back during the holidays. You’ll see that many of these ideas are pretty easy to implement.
Your 20s were the time to splurge on the latest handbags, mess up your credit, rebuild your credit and establish patterns of financial success for your future. Now in your 30’s with kids, a mortgage, a significant other and a better career (or just a little wisdom and a desire to get it together), it’s time to get secure and at-peace with your finances.
Here are a few ways to achieve financial peace of mind in your 30’s.
Say what you want about Alicia Keys but there are few celebrities who use their influence, time and talent to give back on the level that she does. And it was in that spirit that she and her beautiful family, husband Swizz Beatz and son Egypt, celebrated 10 years of her charity “Keep A Child Alive,” (KCA). Keys was inspired to co-found the charity in 2003 after she visited Africa for the first time. Each year the charity spends $5 million to help clinics in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa and India with the cost of treatment programs, food and orphan care.
In celebration of those efforts KCA hosted a ball last night where Pharrell Williams, Carole King, Laura Mvula and Roy Ayers performed.
Bloomberg spoke with KCA’s CEO, Peter Twyman, about the need for the organization and the role Keys plays:
“It’s particularly challenging with kids. Only 3 out of 10 who need treatment in middle-income countries are actually getting it. It’s a horrible situation for kids who are infected para-natally. About 50 percent will die by age 2 if they don’t get treatment and 80 percent by the age of 5. It’s an astounding figure. A lot of people think that HIV has been taken care of, but for kids it’s a desperate situation.”
How Keys contributes
“She’s our co-founder and global ambassador and she helps us in every way. She helps us with fundraising, she hosts the Black Ball, she engages her celebrity friends and she talks whenever she can about the issue. She’s written letters to the president about HIV funding.”
Kudos to her. Check out Keys’ family and the other celebrities including Pharrell, Grant Hill and Tamia and more who made an appearance last night.