My experience began in May of 2010 when I heard of the Gentle Barn's plea to save '60 Sad California Cows'. My husband and I immediately made a very large donation to save these cows and to help build much needed barns. It was advertised that if they raised $100,000 then a donor would match that amount. They raised the money (all of it and thensome). My husband and I became volunteers and volunteered everyday for six months and then at least every other day for the following three (until we were kicked out). My husband is an engineer and offered to help with getting the plans for the barns through the Building Department. He even went to the Building Department with the "president". The "president" was given paperwork to complete and return. We saw that paperwork sit in the office untouched for many many weeks. My husband asked over and over if he could help get things done. He was ignored or his help was flat out refused. I guess he asked about when the barns would be built and offered to help too many times because in February of this year (2011) we were banned from volunteering.
To this date there are no cows (all mention of the cows has been deleted from the website) and there are no barns.
We had also paid for a "lifetime membership" which they refused to refund after we were banned.
We have had no recourse as there is no functioning board of directors.
Many people have told me that they have personally witnessed the misuse of donated money (donated money being used personally by the founder and her husband, the 'president').
The treatment of volunteers is horrendeous. It has now come down to the volunteers are told who they can associate with and who they can not (the 'can nots' being those of us who have questioned the founder and her husband and then subsequently banned). If the volunteers associate with someone who has been banned, they are then banned.
With all the fundraising going on and the reports and personal witnessing of funds being co-mingled, no functioning board of directors, absolutely no transparency, etc... I am failing to see how this is a justified 501c3.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
I was there for a rescued cow and helped her connect with a human being.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
The founder and president need to be replaced with a ethical functioning board of Directors.
Would you volunteer for this group again?
For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?
Did the organization use your time wisely?
Would you recommend this group to a friend?
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?