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September 20, 2014
13 people found this review helpful

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Review from Guidestar
September 20, 2014
13 people found this review helpful

I am the biggest supporter ever of Chai Lifeline. However, in a recent interview of the Executive Vice President by the Jewish Week editor and publisher, the Chai Lifeline top executive was asked if I was, indeed, the charity’s largest donor. He said I was one of the largest donors, adding,“there are a few” in that category, according to editor, who said the Executive Vice President declined to name the others. It is not clear what the word “category” means so I offer Chai Lifeline $1,000,000 for immediate proof of these aforementioned "few” other donors that gave a similar amount as me. To be fair, I will allow them to count any donor whose lifetime contributions that are within 25% of mine.

So what do you do when you find yourself faced with the following ethical and moral dilemma – you totally support the mission and work an organization provides but are confronted with the real possibility the leadership is dishonest? Do you walk away from the people the charity supports or do you make your continued financial support contingent on an immediate leadership change? I see no choice but to only continue my support with a complete change in leadership. The leadership of any charity, and especially one that deals with the individual and family needs associated with sick children, must be true to their word on all counts.

In 2012, I heard that Chai Lifeline had a problem with the Camp Simcha sewer system. The health department warned the camp that they cannot expand, and the camp had to take on strong conservation measures.

I donated $900,000 as a directed contribution for the sewer and the naming rights, expecting to name it after myself. I wanted to show how crazy this naming rights can become. By the way, in case you’re wondering, my wife said there’s no way her name would go on it with me!

In mid-2013, I offered the single largest donation ever to Chai Lifeline. This donation would have raised my lifetime donations to a level that the Executive Director of Development had told me and other donors for many years would give them the honor of having the Chai Lifeline organization dedicated in their name.

The Executive Vice President and the board rejected the donation. They claimed the Executive Director, the highest paid employee, who collected most of the money for the organization for nineteen years and always gave out honors and dedications, did not have the right to make the offer. The Executive Director of Development was represented as a principle of the organization and as such had entered into a legally binding contract on behalf of the organization. Based on the condition on the donation the board rejected the donation. I find the rejection of this donation appalling at the least, in direct conflict with the organization's mission to help sick children and their families, and a real question of the execution of each of the board member's fiduciary responsibility.

I still hadn’t heard that the sewer was built so I sent emails to the Executive Vice President, and to the entire board of directors. Their answers were not responsive to my direct inquiries.

I realized that they may no longer have the money for the sewer, even though the donation should have been segregated from general operating funds. I emailed the Executive Vice President and the board of directors and very clearly give them three options: (1) show me the $900,000 is accounted for, (2) return the money to me, or (3) resign. They never choose one so I informed them I will contact the NYS Attorney General and file a complaint. They still didn’t respond with a choice.

I filed a complaint in late 2013 that Chai Life had misappropriated $900,000. Through it all the Executive Vice President has never contacted me.

The law requires a donation for a specific project to become restricted money; the charity must not spend it on anything other than what the donor requested. The Executive Vice President now claims the Executive Director sent an email in 2012 that made the funds unrestricted; the Executive Director refutes the meaning of the email. Additionally, on September 3, 2014, the Executive Vice President sent an email to the publisher and editor of the Jewish Week stating, “As I said we always had enough available funding for this project from the very onset.” If their story is true, why didn’t they write it to me in 2013?!

Regardless, the organization has to keep the funds available. I have donated restricted funds to Hatzolah five times to buy ambulances and over ten times to the Wildlife Conservation Society and never once did either spend the money on anything but on what it was directed to be spent on. All of these commitments were done verbally like the agreement with Chai Lifeline

In early 2014, after the loss of my support and the loss of their largest donation ever, the organization remortgaged Camp Simcha and used the $1,000,000. This is a direct violation of a 2009 commitment they made in writing to me about being fiscally responsible when I threatened to stop donating.

We all agree that Chai Lifeline does great things. But they have lost at least their largest donor, and I believe many more will follow. For the organization to survive and prosper, I believe the Executive Vice President and the entire board of directors must be replaced immediately. By supporting this organization under current management, donors are hurting its potential, or possibly its survival.

I am hoping all will see the light and stop supporting Chai Lifeline. Once management is changed, I strongly suggest that all support it with all their means.

And the name of the sewer — I changed my mind. I want to name the cesspool after the Executive Vice President and some of the board of directors.

I stand behind the facts in the article. If the Executive Vice president and the Board of Directors of Chai Lifeline can disprove them all, I will donate $5,000,000 to Chai Lifeline. To get this money, they must publish their disproof in a prominent publication, and be willing to publicly open their audited books to prove their facts. If I get such a request, I will forward it to the Attorney General as fraud as I guarantee it can’t be true.

What will you do about Chai Lifeline now that you know what’s going on? Stop supporting it or move over to the dark side?
November 1, 2013

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November 1, 2013

They have seven highly paid executives that range in pay from about 180,000 to about 450,000. That's for their 2011 tax return. It's likely higher now.


Chai lifeline also runs a surplus every year and now has 10 million extra in the bank.

If you want to volunteer to
help cancer kids, God bless you. If you are looking for your money to have an impact, there are more effective organizations.

Ways to make it better...

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

Use donor's money more wisely.

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?

A lot

Will you recommend this organization to others?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

January 30, 2013

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January 30, 2013

There are no words to describe how Chai Lifeline impacts lives. They are there at the moments you need them most, and continue to support. I remember once I got a call from Chai Lifeline late in the afternoon asking if I can go downtown to the hospital to deliver food to a family who's son was admitted to emergency. Once I got to the hospital and met the mother, she was confused as to why I was delivering food. I told her I was from Chai Lifeline, and immediately a smile filled her face. She said "My son was just admitted 2 hours ago and I have no clue how Chai Lifeline knew that, but I'm not surprised."Chai Lifeline never stops amazing everyone around with all they have done and continue to do. I'm honored to be part of such an incredible organization!

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 26, 2012

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August 26, 2012

Words alone cannot suffice to describe the impact this organization has on the individual lives of so many children, teenagers, families, volunteers and members of the community. Perhaps pictures can do better justice than words - check out Chai Lifeline's website! Giving the gift of happiness to children who have a hard time finding it due to circumstances outside their control, and enabling exhausted parents to see their children happy for, perhaps, the first time in weeks or months warms the hearts of those who witness the changes this organization can enact. I have witnessed these miracles for a number of years, though I only volunteered once or twice myself. Laughter and happiness help healing. Chai Lifeline sponsors happiness. Chai lifeline makes miracles happen - every day.

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Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

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

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

July 4, 2012
2 people found this review helpful

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July 4, 2012
2 people found this review helpful

Just starting to have to deal with this organization and they have been so wonderful. When your life gets turned upside down by your child being diagnosed with cancer - Chai Lifeline comes in and turns it right back around. Nothing is too much to ask for.

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How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

June 13, 2012

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June 13, 2012

we wish you were not needed, since you are thank g-d for chai lifeline

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Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Unsure

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

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

June 12, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

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June 12, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

Did you know there's a Disney Land in Upstate New York? Did you know there's a group of people that are like angels like white angels helping relieve and cure the pain of cancer patients? Not just with daily help, such as, food services, babysitting, housekeeping, big sistering, tutoring, hotlining, dr. Referring but in general blowing a wind and spirit of life and excitment so magically into the patient undergoing treatment and the family. For years, I was employed as a counselor/supervisor at Camp Simcha which I like to refer to as Disney Land in Upstate. I was just a counselor; cancer has never touched my family and so I felt like I needed to give back. For those two weeks suddenly; there were no problems in this world for everything was so happy. No problems one would think? When you have young bald kids already aged 4 until 24 running around camp attached to an IV sometimes or many times stuck in a wheelchair. Yes, the happiest place; for besides for Camp Simcha not stopping at anything and going all out with a disney level program on a disney level camp ground. Camp simcha proved that happiness is not dependent on the physical; it's something deep within. So for these 2 weeks we left our make up bags home, our nice clothes and modern tech gadegets home, barely spoke to old friends or family and met eye to eye with the chore of the human. We saw the naked truth cus the physical and materialistic outters were gone. We were so excited with that one thing called "life" we too as volunteers suddenly felt connected to this desperation and apperation for life. We would dance and sing and hug and laugh. There was no discrimination, there was no limitation to the word happiness. The camp has free soda machines, a canteen that has sweets and dream goodies that only the happiest place in the world can possess. It has artrooms and wood carving rooms and pottery room and baking and a sophisticated basketball court and a wheelchair accesible pool and the greatest cook in the world; preparing 16 course meals. The lake has motor boats, paddle boats, kayaks and what not?!?! I know I've omitted some very important facilities like the game room etc..... I know and so do my colleague volunteers that the endless and tireless giving and spread of happiness that Camp Simcha has achieved is one that many cancer survivors and thousands of volunteers and bereaved families can attest to. The so many children that have left this world and met with true peace have no doubt helped and given strength to the organization to function and run better and better as a merit of the endless and tireless giving they gave until that last breath. Many an organization have tried competing with Chai Lifeline/ Camp Simcha but there's something magical that just can't drive them out of their success. They have built a professional team of directors and an organization run by professional and honest pple like Rabbi Simcha Scholar who are there for one thing and one thing only; to help and assist and ease. I was employed for a short while at the manhattan office and I was amazed when Rabbi Scholar told me at a meeting; "in this office and in this organization there are no mistakes; it's not an enter and delete process here, WE ARE DEALING WITH A LIFE!!!!! He screamed. The office runs like clock work; with scheduled case meetings and all that a professional office needs so it functions properly which directly affects the success of all they do for the cance patients and their families. Recently my niece was diagnosed and now; although once far from my family. I'm connected again with the organization (4 kids later and many years past) and those pictures that my brother emails us from the volunteers and case workers. The help they've supplied him with at home and otherwise cannot be properly described. For words cannot always do justice, especially in this situation. Chai lifeline/Camp Simcha deserve every high honor that can be bestowed upon them. And if not in this world then in the world to come.

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?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

June 11, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

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June 11, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

I have seen Chai Lifeline step in and support the child and family of seriously ill children. I know their expertise in helping the family establish a sense of normalcy and cope with the financial and emotional strains. There is no better organization out there. They celebrate the cures, remissions, successes and mourn with the families whose struggle has changed.

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?

2012

June 11, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

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June 11, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

My son was diagnosed with ALL in 2009. Our lives were turned upside down. Immediately, Chai Lifeline sent us our case manager, and thats our relationship began. Chai Lifeline sent us countless meals while we were in the hospital, sent volunteers to hep care for other child, arranged second opinion visits to the best doctord, etc. And i can't even describe My son's experience at camp Simcha! He came home a different child. we will forever be greatfull for everything this wonderful organization did for us.

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

June 11, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

more

June 11, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

When my daughter lay dying with cancer, the amazing volunteers from Chai Lifeline came regularly to visit her and brighten her days. In addition their visits provided respite for me. When my daughter was in treatment these amazing people sent her to camp where she says she found peace, love and acceptance. The amazing volunteers came all the time to visit when we were in patient, providing food and conversation and a distraction from what our daughter was going through. I could go on and on. parties, trips, camp, reunion, companionship....

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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3 hours of volunteer time for this nonprofit will...

1. Become a Big Brother/Big Sister, mentoring and supporting seriously ill children and/or their siblings through visits, telephone, email, and other contacts.
2. Participate in holiday toy drives by collecting toys from central locations; sorting for age, gender, and interest; packing and delivering toy boxes to families.
3. Organize a recreational activity that gives isolated children an opportunity to build social skills and have fun.