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January 11, 2013

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1 previous review
August 24, 2012

CARING FOR OUR CHILDREN FOUNDATION will provide a response to the comments made by MS NETHERY in form of FALSE vs FACT. Because she has opted to intertwine the organizations in her remarks, we wish to... more

January 11, 2013

Excerpt from the 2011 audit* performed by Martin Eller, CPA-Wyckoff, NJ December 15, 2012: Michael and Melody Gibson Co-founded OPERATION LOOKOUT in 1984 and their input and consulting continues 28 years later. Michael Gibson is the volunteer President, Chairman of the Board, and Head of Case Management. Melody Gibson is Executive Director of the organization and volunteer Treasurer and the wife of Michael Gibson. Michael Gibson was paid a wage of $18,394 and Melody Gibson was paid a wage of $16,979. Both Michael and Melody Gibson reduced their time in their organization and is now considered ‘semi-retired’. Any compensation received by either party in 2011 is based on unpaid past due wages from previous years that was approved by the Board of Directors. Melody Gibson, Executive Director and volunteer Treasurer, is a member of the Board of Trustees of Caring For Our Children Foundation, serving as the Treasurer. Caring For Our Children Foundation gave $1050 in grants** to Operation Lookout in 2011.***

COST-ALLOCATION: The use of funds, as shown on the IRS 990 reports, reflect that a portion of the ‘fundraising’ cost is allocated to a ‘program’ element, mandated by contract. The respective nonprofit websites provide full disclosure on the IRS 990, AUDIT and PIE CHART showing distribution of funds.

Caring For Our Children Foundation’s mission in 2001 was solely to raise funds for OPERATION LOOKOUT (and later included giving to other select under-funded nonprofits serving child victims of crime, poverty, and neglect). The mission has grown to include grant giving, job training, benevolence, fiscal sponsorship, and administrative assistance.

OPERATION LOOKOUT’S mission since 1984 has been singular to provide no charge crisis intervention and assistance to families whose children are missing, abducted, or runaway. Program includes but is not limited to providing case management, encouraging media and community participation and outreach, volunteerism, law enforcement and authorities liaison, and more.

The OPERATION LOOKOUT Helpline: 1-800-LOOKOUT and 1-800-771-SEEK is manned 24/7 by Kelley’s Answering Service Medical Emergency Division. This generous business has contributed its professional services over 20 years to OPERATION LOOKOUT. Their representatives screen and triage any ‘life-threatening situation’ (asking, “What is the nature of your emergency?”) Emergent callers are dispatched to an ‘on-call’ case manager - community volunteers have proven unable to provide this level of excellence required.

Dialing for Support - One of the business models used to raise funds since the founding of both nonprofits has been to outsource fundraising and encouraging Citizen involvement. Such promotional efforts include brand marketing, a call to action, and fundraising. Call centers are mandated by contract to provide a duel service including a programmatic element. A Public Service Announcement (PSA) such as asking for volunteer poster distribution in ones community, or telling a parent how to learn the whereabouts of registered sex predators nearby may be infused into the communication either at time of call or upon receiving a mailed packet. The call center must cover all costs with no portion of the cost falling on the shoulders of the nonprofit whether the venture is profitable or not. A percentage or revenue split of the weekly proceeds insures the nonprofit of having net, free and clear minimum income streams, insuring the organization of ongoing sustainable funds dedicated solely to ‘program’. On a quarterly basis, some contracts compare cost vs income assuring the charity of no over-charges vs income still due to the charity. In recent years, the economic environment has, more often than not, cost the call centers more than their payment. Such losses are not charged to the nonprofit.

REDUCED DONATIONS: From time to time, like with any business during an economic crisis, a non-profit may downsize to a skeleton crew or delay paychecks. Timely communication and resolve follow soon after. Authorities respect and understand this financial draught.

COMPUTER UPGRADES - Occasionally a nonprofit must upgrade its computer system to avoid loss of critical data and communications from a languishing computer system. In 2012 OPERATION LOOKOUT purchased 2 refurbished computers and a scanner in response to this critical need.

* The 2011 IRS 990 and audit is available upon request by email or mail. The reports are posted annually on the respective websites. The 2011 reports were released by the CPA for public disclosure January 2013.

** CFOC was founded in 2001 to provide free and clear grants from net funds to Operation Lookout for aid in locating missing, abducted and runaway children. OL'S mission matches CFOC'S mission.
Caring For Our Children Foundation provided grants to OPERATION LOOKOUT in 2007 - $45,954; in 2008 - $61,561; in 2009 - $27,805 ; in 2010 - $4,850; in 2011 - $1,050.

***The respective organizations are separate entities with different missions, different office venues, separate accounting and reporting procedures provided by 3rd party professionals to insure the public of disclosure transparency. The common thread between the organizations is the dedication of Ms. Gibson, whose heart and expertise has benefitted at-risk children and their families for many years. CFOC provides data entry and administrative assistance to OPERATION LOOKOUT, allowing it to remain focused solely on child search and case management.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

August 24, 2012

CARING FOR OUR CHILDREN FOUNDATION will provide a response to the comments made by MS NETHERY in form of FALSE vs FACT. Because she has opted to intertwine the organizations in her remarks, we wish to clarify that each is its on entity with no cross-over of mission. FALSE: I worked for this organization form early 1996 through late 1998 - (and was forced to volunteer for the "other" charity as part of my job description).
FACT: Ms. Nethery worked for OPERATION LOOKOUT and was a volunteer for CARING FOR OUR CHILDREN FOUNDATION for two years. Her termination date was 10/10/2008.

FACT: Ms Nethery was in a position serving two nonprofit organizations. There were no paid positions with Caring For Our Children Foundation whereby every net dollar went into grants to OPERATION LOOKOUT and other CFOC board selected under-funded non-profit programs and projects providing free services to young victims of crime, abuse, and neglect (See www.caringforourchildrenfoundation.org for a sampling of grant recipients)-CFOC'S low rent ($250.00) and everyone's donated time allowed for the greater share of donations to go into grants. Full disclosure about helping CFOC was agreed to and a job description was provided.
FALSE: THE ONLY PURSPOSE OF THIS CHARITY and the founder's other charity - CARING FOR OUR CHILDREN FOUNDATION, - is to support Michael and Melody Gibson !
FACT: The board of directors set the Gibson’s salary annually at OPERATION LOOKOUT using a median wage survey to determine all salaries and wages. CARING FOR OUR CHILDREN FOUNDATION paid no wages to any individual.

FALSE: This is achieved by extremely unethical, bordering on illegal, operation strategies for both charities.
FACT: It’s difficult to make comment on this. It means the board of directors, the 3rd party bookkeeping service, and the CPA are all bereft of their duty to audit, disclose and report.

FALSE: They get your attention by using logos that are very close to those of REAL charities such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children...
OPERATION LOOKOUT® was founded in 1984 and originally named OPERATION LOOKOUT Child Abduction Research and Resource Center using the logo of the Gibson’s first grandson. OPERATION LOOKOUT has no similarity to ‘any’ other nonprofit assisting missing children. The sub tag, 'National Center for Missing Youth' is merely a descriptive registered name indicating the search for 'teens and children'. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has declared the name a non-issue many years back. The currently used logo was based on the neighborhood ground search for young 12 year old Jason Redfern of Woodinville, WA.. The looking glass portrays searching and seeking clues, these combined images became the upgraded logo in the 1990’s. FALSE: The spy glass image used by St. Jude's Hospital, and the almost identical Children of the World.
The organizations have designed their respective logos and we see no similarity or cause to duplicate. OPERATION LOOKOUT'S logo was designed following the 1990's search for Jason.
FALSE: Although they claim an 82% success ratethis organization has absolutely no true claims of even aiding in the location of any missing child !
FACT: OL'S Claim is that "Overall, since 1984, the case resolve rate is approximately 82%." OL makes no reference to a 'success' rate. OL notes the percentage is a fluid figure and approximate as annual figures change with new cases added and older cases resolved. Cases are often not successful, but resolved. Additionally, countless 'others' are involved in search and recovery efforts. OL doesn't make claims about being the sole reason for a search and recovery result, as it is difficult to quantify such a statement. Jason Redfern is one case active resolved case, and there are countless others.
FALSE: Their services include and intake questionnaire and donated posters to send to the area of the missing child ! Period !
FACT: All missing child services use an intake questionnaire and provide posters when applicable. Other services provided are at the discretion of the caseworker and the family. Ms. Nethery was not a participant in any child or family related service.
FALSE: Give you money to a REAL charity, not this scam.
FACT: OPERATION LOOKOUT and CARING FOR OUR CHILDREN FOUNDATION'S financials can be located for review at www.operationlookout.org and www.caringforourchildrenfoundation.org. Full disclosure is included with these documents. For additional notes see OPERATION LOOKOUT notes relating to DON AUSTIN comments. In 2012, the nonprofits do not share offices or personnel.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

that giving grants was the board of trustees favorite thing to do. In 2011/2012 the expansion of vision has given a greater focus on community need.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Raise funds in a more cost-effective manner, but this business model has proven effective and it works to reach thousands more people than CFOC board can do all by itself. I would improve its marketing and its visibility. I would establish a 2nd thrift store in another community.

More feedback...

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

How did you learn about this organization?

I co-founded it with a group of wonderful retired ladies.

What is this organization's top short-term priority?

Expand the thrift stores capacity to raise funds and assist with job training of young unemployed parents. Expand the child abuse prevention public service announcement which tells young how to learn the whereabouts of the sexual predators in ones own neighborhood.

What is its top priority in the long run?

Expand the ability and develop more avenues of fundraising. Reduce the negative responses to outsourced call center activities.

August 12, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

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August 12, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

The "foundation" is run in conjunction with Operation Lookout, run by Mike and Melody Gibson, who, each year make close to $100,000. The COCF supposedly gives advice and money to other children's charities, but the bulk of the money goes to Operation Lookout and apparently into the Gibson's pockets. On their 2010 IRS 990 forms $666,286 was raised, but $569,222 went towards fundraising, $35,510 went towards salaries and $4,850 went to Operation Lookout, leaving $56,704. Subtracting another $3,666 for payroll taxes, $21,165 for accounting services and $8,307 for bank charges leaves $23,566. In other words, only 3.5¢ of every dollar donated goes towards their cause. But their rent was $38,839, which means that not only does no money go towards their cause, but nothing goes towards it. This and Operation Lookout appears to be a way for the Gibsons to pay for their mortgage or their rent and living expenses, until both organizations' credit lines run out and they declare bankruptcy and both organizations fold. The governor of South Carolina publishes an annual Angels and Scrooges list of charities, based upon how much of the donations go to the charity. COCF would go to the top of their Scrooges list.

More feedback...

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Badly

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

None

Will you recommend this organization to others?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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