Oops! You must enter a search term greater than 3 characters.

Invite reviews

Invite friends and colleagues to share their experiences with this nonprofit
77 Reviews
12.75325345
| 1 ... 6 7 8 | Next
Write A Review
November 3, 2011
29 people found this review helpful

more

November 3, 2011
29 people found this review helpful

I wanted to echo the review I have just read on here regarding The Gentle Barn Foundation. I went to volunteer there at the time of the huge ''60 sad dairy cow' rescue. The concept of The Gentle Barn is a wonderful one and if it really was as it seems on the surface it would be indeed noble. However, my experience of it was rather different.

I spent long 12 hour days (sometimes longer) helping with the animals on both properties, in the office, with other volunteers, paid staff and many hours with Ellie Laks and Jay Weiner.

The volunteers were told to inform Ellie and Jay of any problem with the animals so it could be picked up and responded to, however when volunteers voiced concerns about the health of any animal they were caring for, Ellie and Jay would become enraged and/or very dismissive. They reacted suggesting that individuals suggesting an animal had a health concern were saying Ellie and Jay were not doing a good enough job.

Volunteers (without whom the place could not run) were often frightened of Ellie and Jay with good cause. I witnessed much inappropriate and aggressive behaviour towards people by Ellie and Jay. Local vets would no longer work with them and at one time this meant that an animal who was very sick was not getting the urgent treatment it required since the vet who would work for the GB had to come over 90mins in the car.

As for the 60 dairy cows, I was told by Ellie Laks and Jay Weiner themselves that they had never set eyes on the cows. Infact all that had happened is an anonymous man called the GB and said he had 60 dairy cows who were sick as he was going out of business. He asked the GB to buy them from him. The GB said they would take them, though not pay for them, I don't believe. No one at the GB had the phone number of this man neither did they have any details of the whereabouts of these cows. They posted pictures on the website of the cows only they were not the actual dairy cows. For all anyone knew, these cows didn't even exist or if they did, they certainly didn't have enough information about them to present to the public. Their fundraising was fraudulent. No one has held them accountable to the $100,000 they raised for this specific purpose.

I witnessed definite mismanagement of donations and funds given to the barn and ending up in the personal pockets of Ellie and Jay.

One day I asked who was on the board of trustees and they presented a list of names. I was then told that they had never actually met and there were no minutes or anything for any meetings.

Ellie and Jay frequently got very enraged and I felt that they were very disturbed. This would be irrelevant to The Gentle Barn if they didn't take it out on the volunteers caring for the animals meaning they were then too scared to be assertive when worried about the health of an animal. and also if it didn't mean they were blinded at times to the true state of an animal's health.

The GB has an almost cult following. Ellie and Jay are charmers at first and tend to charismatically attract certain characters who will then all but worship them. Unfortunately time and again, as soon as these individuals voiced anything that Ellie and Jay did not agree with, that volunteer was reprimanded, and eventually forced to leave, often immediately made to leave.

I realise anyone reading this may think I am a disgruntled volunteer but in fact I didn't get reprimanded or asked to leave and left on what they thought was good terms. I saw what was happening early on and set about trying to get a glimpse into all angles of the organisation whilst I could. I was deeply saddened in all honesty because the idea behind this organization is wonderful. Unfortunately without proper management, a board of directors and greater transparency, it is far far from the ideal it sets about portraying.

The Great!

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

my own feelings of wellbeing when with animals. it could really help people and animals if it were really as described and not at the hands of two very unstable people

Ways to make it better...

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

create a board of directors/trustees who were independent and had the best interest of the animals in mind. I would have the finances filed and made available. increase transparency. Have the power of the organization dispersed a bit more across a number of experienced individuals to decrease the chances of corruption as is now occurring

More feedback...

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

the above

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

I met some wonderful people in some of the other volunteers and some incredible animals

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

very sad

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

September 25, 2011
54 people found this review helpful

more

Review from Guidestar
September 25, 2011
54 people found this review helpful

The Gentle Barn Foundation (a registered 501(c)3) is far from "Gentle" and far from a worthy, registered non-profit. As a volunteer, I split my time between helping the animals and working in their main office on various Foundation matters. I had direct personal contact with both of the owners, Ellie Laks and Jay Weiner, the office staff, the ranch hands and their 120+ animals. I personally witnessed inappropriate and reprehensible behavior by Ellie Laks and Jay Weiner towards both the animals, the volunteers and the staff. I witnessed animal neglect and mismanaged care of sick animals, fraudulent fundraising practices and the commingling of the Foundation's money for Laks and Weiner's personal use. While the premise of The Gentle Barn is noble, the inner workings of this Foundation are not. There is no active sitting board of directors and no financial transparency nor oversight. They use shady fundraising and advertising practices to pull on the public's heartstrings to raise money that they then spend on themselves, taking lavish vacations, purchasing personal vehicles, hiring personal masseuses, etc. While this is all fine, it is not fine if you are using donation dollars to do so, which they have and continue to do. One example, in 2010, they rolled out a large fundraising campaign to raise $100K with a $100K donor match to rescue "60 Sad California Dairy Cows" and to erect two (2) barns on their Agua Dulce property for these cows. They raised the funds, obtained the donor match and to this day have not rescued those cows nor erected those barns. Why, because their weren't "60 Sad California Dairy Cows" to rescue. Noticeably, all mention of this campaign has been removed from their website and their Facebook page. If you post an inquiry about it on their Facebook page, they will not respond, but instead they delete those postings. Further, while many of the animals came from neglected and abused backgrounds, many others have not. However, they use all of the animals in their campaigns to gain sympathy and more donation dollars with "rescue" or "neglect" stories that are simply untrue; deceiving the public further. Lastly, as human beings, Laks and Weiner lack one common denominator as responsible and worthy human beings running a non-profit: a moral compass. It is my hope, for the sake of the animals in their care, that Laks and Weiner will be publicly tested and held accountable for their actions and The Foundation will finally be made to appoint an active, responsible and proactive sitting board of directors that will finally carry out the mission of The Gentle Barn Foundation in a responsible and transparent manner: "To rescue, rehabilitate and give sanctuary to abused animals. Through the interaction with our animals people learn reverence for all."

The Great!

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

Tending to the animals and working directly in the office.

Ways to make it better...

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

1) Appointment an active, responsible and knowledgeable BOD (board of directors). 2) Immediately fire/remove Ellie Laks and Jay Weiner from controlling positions on the BOD. 3) Prepare, file and make public audited financial statements for the past 5 years. 4) Enact a policy of 100% transparency within the Foundation and 5) See to it the money raised for the care and management of The Foundation's animals is actually used for them.

| 1 ... 6 7 8 | Next
Write A Review

Filter by reviewer role:

Support This Nonprofit

Help this nonprofit get more reviews

5 tips for getting reviews

5 tips for getting reviews...

  1. Sending an email to clients, volunteers, donors, board members, and other partners with a link to your profile page.
  2. Putting a link on your Web site
  3. Including a link in your email newsletter
  4. Putting a link in the signature of your email
    Putting a link on your facebook page and status updates
  5. Tweeting out a link to your twitter followers