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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Crime & Law, Crime Prevention, Human Services, Victims Services

Mission: OPERATION LOOKOUT -founded 1984, provides parents with missing children casework in conjunction with law enforcement and authorities, nat'l and int'l. 24 Hour helpline for ER's and Sightings. There is never a fee for service. Staff are volunteer and paid. Our goal is to recover a missing child swiftly using broadscope picture broadcasting and the internet, and search techniques customized to fit the case at-hand.

Programs: Operation lookout in its 29th year is a singular program with the goal of providing free support to parents and legal custodians with missing, abducted and runaway children. Services provided to law enforcement and clients may include investigative case management, systems walk-through, victim advocacy, social and legal services referral, and custom poster design and picture distribution; the web site provides a quick reference point for parent registration and public education. To increase the reach, up to a million usa citizens are contacted by phone, media, and mail to increase exposure of missing children and to notify parents where to turn in time of need. Each contact promotes a voluntary call to action and/or a community safety message knowing who's who in your neighborhood or how to report child abuse campaigns. A 24/7 helpline at 1-800-lookout (566-5688) has been manned by a team of professionals trained for triage dispatch since 1984.

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I think people need to be aware of this "non-profit" organization before committing any time or money. Earlier this year my daughter worked at Operation Lookout in Everett, Wa. She started as an intern and provided over 100 hours of free labor. Eventually she accepted a part time, close to minimum wage, position. She was amazed at the last of managment over a staff of 3-5 people. She was always frustrated with the lack of effort by a few and more so the lack of concern by the Directors. After payroll checks regularily bounce employees are told they have to wait for contributions to finally get their wages. She was disturbed to see $1000's spent on, in her observation, unnecessary lap tops and office equiptment to replace equiptment that was still funtional. She recently gave her two week notice and left for a new job. Days later her $139 payroll check was returned to her bank as dishonored. Phone calls to the Directors went no where. She was told by the treasurer that she would have to wait until funding came. I called and spoke with the treasurer to get an explanation. I got the same rhetoric. "It's not our fault" "the State of Washington Eployment Security and Labor and Industries won't do anything because they understand businesses are struggling" "we are a non-profit" is exactly what she told us. Unbelievable! My daughter is concerned about her final check, which has not been issued, and wonders if she will be shorted. Apparently this is a regular event. Why do employees have to wait weeks to get paid for hours worked. They are not volunteers. The employees have committed their time under the promise of being paid. I would never contribute any of my time or money to Operation Lookout.

Comments ( 1 )

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OPERATION LOOKOUT 05/23/2013

As treasurer and cofounder of OPERATION LOOKOUT I personally took the call from this young lady's father, an irate man who was deeply troubled that her paycheck was delayed to insure it was paid. What he didn't know was that she was the only individual still on payroll due to a long term lay-off at the center. She was a delightful young lady with the capacity to perform her tasks assisting case managers. What she didn't know was that the funds spent on computers were 'designated' for that purpose alone. To spend designated funds for anything other than the computers and software upgrades would have been inappropriate use of the funds.

Review from CharityNavigator

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I am extremely concerned about this charity and an affiliate "Caring for our Children Foundation". I looked at both of their audits, Caring for our Children Foundation paid over $566,000 for telemarketers, which the Federal Trade Commission shows as a Defendant and Operation Lookout paid over $1,200,000 to telemarketers for fundraising. Charity Watch gives them both an F rating. Both are under Mike & Melody Gibson. Caring for our Children Foundation gave a $4800 grant to Operation Lookout, the only money they have as a "grant" and both are under water. The Federal Trade Commission says they "funnel" their money to their affiliates and give little or no money to charities. Why haven't these charities been investigated. Again, Mike Gibson President of Operation Lookout, total donations: $1,304,954, total Expenses: $1,341,541. Melody Gibson is Executive Director of Operation Lookout & Tresurer of Caring for our Children Foundation

Comments ( 1 )

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OPERATION LOOKOUT 05/23/2013

Caring For Our Children Foundation is not an affiliate of OPERATION LOOKOUT National Center For Missing Youth, but it is an outgrowth of its need for net funds to apply directly to child search. CFOC was founded in 2001 at a time when it seemed wise to raise more funds for missing children by giving grants from NET PROCEEDS benefitting more families. Over time, CFOC expanded to include other nonprofit grant recipients. There was a year when CFOC was able to give OPERATION LOOKOUT $50,000 free and clear, but things have changed with the global economic crisis. Operation Lookout was founded in 1984 and has discovered that the business model of raising funds over the phone is not only costly, but the net proceeds for case management is rather low. Call Centers have benefitted missing children with mass distribution of their pictures to increase exposure into geographies otherwise not possible. While the organization raises considerable money through the generosity of individuals giving $10.00, $20.00 and $50.00, those funds not only pay for the cost to raise funds and the call center's calling personnel, but it also pays for a programmatic element that Charity Navigator has not acknowledged to be the cost of 'program'. The IRS and the independent CPA providing the 990 and audit list these costs as program costs making the annual split of dollars donated overall to be closer to 60%/40%. An appeal to pin up a posters of missing children--an outreach effort to expose the faces of the children on a local level, is an extension of citizen compassion for suffering parents. It saddens us to hear how misunderstood this valuable service is, but it has been exciting to rise above the economic crisis and continue serving parents with missing children for the past 29 years.

Review from CharityNavigator