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disillusioned

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3 Reviews

What I want to do

send books to prisoners and encouraging letters

What matters to me

helping people and saving the planet from all the pollution

What inspires me

helping others; good books; nature; music; a challenge

Pittsburgh, PA USA

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Thomas Merton Center, Inc.
August 21, 2011

When I innocently came onto the Board in January 2010, after several years of volunteering with one of their fiscal projects, I never expected that four members of the Thomas Merton Center Board including the communist president would steal mail and donation checks from two of their projects including my project, let alone attack me and my project in various ways for more than a year. Merton Center did so much harm to the books-to-prisoners project that it was robbed of its primary worker (me) and split up, to where Book'Em could no longer serve all 50 states as we had for ten years.

Two Merton Center members grabbed power in Book'Em exactly the way the Board had stated they wanted, and proceeded to sell off and throw away half of our inventory of books that had been specifically donated for the use of prisoners; they then cut off 47 states' worth of prisoners, many of whom we had served for ten years. They kept all the money and the remaining books and can't even keep up with our own state, while I rescued thousands of prisoners' letter-orders which I am serving from a lady's basement with my own money; I am attempting to start a new prison books program and to find a public location and to get funding. This NEEDLESS and totally uncaring and disrespectful disruption of our services has meant that thousands of people behind bars, especially those in solitary, did NOT get books at all or in a timely manner.

The vice-president Carole Wiedman had said at a meeting, "We could all go to prison except for Rose (me) and Jonah," then they got busy purging the files; they had taken in $25 million dollars in 25 years but hadn't paid off the little $50,000 mortgage on the fine, stable old building which they called as unsaleable. Besides the Unemployment Insurance fraud they'd committed regularly, members were asking us, "Where did all the money go and why should we donate more?" Due to their sudden preoccupation with knowing who was in the building at all times plus the fact that TMC was nearly out of money, I believe that they may have been going to set fire to the building for the insurance money. They turned down an offer from a community coalition for $104,000 because the building was valued at over $150,000, then they sold it for $90,000 to a group which gentrified the neighborhood further but the building was renovated for a fraction of what TMC claimed was needed.

This was one of the most horrible experiences of my life, particularly since those completely immoral lying troublemaking thieves on the Board were joined by two more Board members in attempting to FRAME me for alleged Harassment. With NO EVIDENCE for that and despite evidence to the contrary, these creeps proceeded to drag me into court FOUR times and even manufactured a foot-tall stack of paper claiming that I had sent many harassing emails in the previous few months--something that I would never do under any circumstances. They assassinated my reputation to my fellow TMC members and to the community at large. This cost me two thousand dollars including $400 for a lawyer to come to court with me the last time, which was wasted money since the Merton Center liars finally chickened out and didn't show up, at which point the DA withdrew the charge against me and he and I shook hands.

Merton Center which is supposed to stand for peace and social justice, actually spent a great deal of time and energy MAKING WAR on me and on one of the two most valuable social justice projects they have. Who knows how many checks they stole from how many projects? Under no circumstances would I EVER give time or money to this place again.

Furthermore, they discriminate against poor and minorities by refusing to answer letters from prisoner-members and by withholding Board election ballots from them this last time. The communist president has been quietly replaced but remains on the Board and wrote alot of the articles for their newsletter, and it seems to report on the activities of other groups for the most part...since Merton Center does virtually nothing.

At no point have any of them ever apologized to me or cared enough to ask how I am. Those seemingly normal people nearly gave an innocent person a criminal record, after driving another volunteer to attempt suicide over their game-playing with our mail and donation checks. If you want to donate to a prison book program, please donate to Spring Grass Book'Em, 1401 Hodgkiss Street, Pittsburgh PA 15212. Thank you for your time, Rosemary C. Anderson, Executive Director rcat32@gmail.com

The Great!

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

damaged reputation, tremendous loss of time, and wasted money.

Ways to make it better...

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

Get rid of all the old Board members who either actively attacked me and Book'Em, or who passively turned their back and went along with the evil and the coverups of the others. Not once did I see any sincere evidence of caring or respect for the poor and minorities and seniors such as myself, and that makes them the worst people I have ever known. The sad thing is, they seem to have gotten away with it.

More feedback

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

No

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

A little

Will you tell others about this organization?

No

How did you learn about this organization?

saw their newsletter around town

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

coverups

What is its top priority in the long run?

make money

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

MY ROLE:
Board Member & Board Member; volunteer at three projects.

Women's Center and Shelter
January 3, 2011

I met a woman about ten years ago who was very isolated socially, depressed, being abused by her husband and living in the horrible conditions he caused; finally I begged her to go to this women's center and shelter for support, and finally she did! At first she didn't like the groups but she liked the counselor; after awhile she dropped out, but now she's going back again and LIKES the groups too. She is doing better and is more assertive and has reached out online to support groups where she has made friends and is subscribing to some things with hope that someday she can get away totally. Life is still hard for her, but she is developing self-esteem and sometimes uses her power to stand up for herself and to take breaks from the bad situation. I'm very grateful to this nonprofit as it may have saved her life.

The Great!

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

seeing this woman blossom and assert herself in some very important ways--and seeing her survive!

Ways to make it better...

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

encourage people to give it money so it can stay open and continue to provide services.

More feedback

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

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

Life-changing

How did you learn about this organization?

flyer on a table at a Cellular Expansion healing free seminar

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

MY ROLE:
General Member of the Public & encouraged a woman to go there; kept encouraging her to go back to this place for support.

Thomas Merton Center, Inc.
August 20, 2010

Thomas Merton Center (TMC) has lost two-thirds of its membership locally including many young people, and is famous for its incompetence and lack of caring for many community groups it could be supportive of or working with. They have been almost all white along with most of the staff despite their location in a black neighborhood. As a former Board member, I know that they failed to insulate their huge old building or to even plug up a 10-inch hole in the foundation with a clear shot to the outside air FOR YEARS & it still has a large gap of an inch or so under one back door. While lamenting huge utility bills & expenses, they heated all rooms and floors including vacant ones to 70 degrees--and refused to rent them out although small community groups had no place to start up an office. While being unable to get grants because they did nothing, this year a group of B.members seized power and attacked and harmed and nearly destroyed their largest project in residence. They broke their own rule when they refused to deal with the project head who was handicapped/Native American Indian/poor/senior in order to deal first with one unwilling parttime volunteer then another one who were coincidentally both white/middleclass/ablebodied and young. They fail to post all their monthly meeting minutes, and were heard saying that they don't want the black staff person to represent TMC because she's on psychiatric medication--but they say nothing about at least one of their white members who is/are also on psychiatric medication. One B.member communist Courtney Smith loudly announced twice that she was taking a bunch of stuff (books, CDs,?) as payment for all the free time she volunteered here--then I noticed office supplies kept going missing too even when I donated more. The Board laid off all the staff in April and added to their financial crisis by renting next door to an almost paid off solid building, without looking at more than one rental, then refused to sell the old building to a community coalition while being willing to sell to anyone who comes along although it will gentrify the neighborhood further. I would never ever give them money nor any of my time again, unless the entire Board were removed and there were major changes in attitude. One old woman who came in to volunteer was treated rudely by the young staff who spent most of their time yakking and partying, and she went elsewhere. As one fine intern told me, "It's a joke."

The Great!

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

the harm the current Board especially its president have done to my project, Book'Em, and to my reputation, and to many members and people in the community who have given up on Merton Center and are starting a new organization that will be responsive.

Ways to make it better...

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

Remove ALL the Board members except possibly for the two or three that were just brought on to replace three good Board members, two of whom resigned in protest at the negativity going on and one minority who was kicked off.

More feedback

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

volunteering in their project Book'Em.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

doing nothing most of the time, including one intern who was unhappy about that, and they ridiculed old & poor people & the Board several times I know of, left dirty dishes and molding food they blamed on others, lied to the Board about how hardtheyworkd.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

continue to mismanage and waste even more.

Ways to make it better...

they had not repeatedly disrespected me and discrimated against me, taken/opened/destroyed mail with checks addressed to my Project, tried to close down and cripple my Project, and if entirely different people were on the Board.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

being honest about their lies and the harm they've done to people, community groups, and to two project volunteers, one of whom went out a 9th story window (now crippled) when the other one was banned after discovering some Board memberstakingopening mail

One thing I'd also say is that...

I'm sorry I ever got involved with the current Board, which I regret to say IS as hopeless as some people told me it would be.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

MY ROLE:
Board Member & BOD member, and volunteer work at the center and in two Projects which helped educate prisoners.

Review from Guidestar