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donausten@thursdayschild.org

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PUBLIC COUNSEL
May 19, 2014

Extremely rude and unhelpful people. I'm part of a national children's charity, located in Los Angeles. Their people are confrontational. The brochure they sent us was 4 years out of date. Their receptionist would neither transfer to the voicemail of the person I had been speaking with or take a message. They receive close to $10 million per year in contributions.

MY ROLE:
Professional with expertise in this field

National Domestic Violence Hotline
March 5, 2014

I phoned last night to get some referrals for someone to call for problems with domestic violence. I called four times. The first two calls were to places that were closed. The second two hung up on me, apparently because I was a man phoning in and not a woman. I was not asked what the situation was, but regardless, the assumption made was that the call as about a woman being abused by a man, and, therefore, there was either a lack of understanding that a man could be a victim as well or a general animosity towards men in general, as I am told that many of the women who work the hotline are former domestic violence victims, who "understand" what it is like to be a victim of domestic violence. Domestic violence is not just another name for wife beating. It can involve not only physical abuse and mate rape, but emotional abuse as well, and a man can be as much a victim as a woman. It is not only unprofessional, it is inexcusable for a hotline to provide bad referrals and hold such prejudices, especially one that is funding millions of dollars a year. Below, there are questions, one of which is How much of an impact do you think this organization has. I chose Life-changing, but not in a good way. Many victims only have one call in them to make, and if that call goes bad, well, think about it.

Ways to make it better...

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

suggest a different line of work.

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?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

MY ROLE:
Professional with expertise in this field

Childhelp, Inc.
June 21, 2013

I phoned Childhelp's hotline for some professional advice. Although I do crisis counseling, I do not consider myself trained in the area of the after effects of sexual abuse. I was calling about a young woman of 20, who had been sexually abused by her stepfather from when she was 5 years old. He was sent to prison for several years but when he was released, her mother invited him back into their home, where he molested her again. This time, she took all the pills she could find in an attempt to kill herself and it nearly worked. The hospital reported the incident and she was placed in foster care, as were her younger half-brother and half-sister, whom she dearly loved. She never saw them or her mother again. Now at 20, she has deep-seated issues. She is a compulsive liar and sexually obsessive. I am deeply concerned for her well-being. I had to wait more than 10 minutes before a counselor picked up, and then the women was very unprofessional. I just hung up, frustrated.

Ways to make it better...

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

Hire professionals, not volunteers who can 't or don't know how to be.

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?

Some

Will you recommend this organization to others?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

MY ROLE:
Professional with expertise in this field

Father Flanagans Boys Home dba Boys Town
June 1, 2013

Unlike most Wikipedia articles, that one referenced is locked and can neither be added to nor edited, which in and of itself is suspicious, and lends credibility to to the allegations. The article is clearly biased, as it describes the book on the coverup by Nick Bryant as having been "rejected by several larger and more reputable publishing houses," inferring that his publisher is not reputable. This editorializes the article. While it is unclear as to whether or not the incidents did occur, it is an undisputed fact that there were boys molested by Catholic founder of the Second Mile, Jerry Sandusky, and by the founder of the Catholic charity, Covenant House by Father Bruce Ritter, and that Catholic institutions as a whole have a history of coverups of the incidents involving the molestation of children, especially young boys, by the Catholic church. As a young man, I personally was accosted by a Monsignor in his 70's who tried to stick his tongue in my mouth at the conclusion of a blessing. I filed a complaint with the Los Angeles archdiocese, which rejected its validity. The Monsignor then went on to molest two young boys. No organization, including churches, should be allowed to be in charge of children, especially young boys, when those in charge of Catholic priests or similar Catholic clergy. I realize that this is profiling, but with just cause.

But to the matter for which I came to write this review, Boys Town (recently Girls and Boys Town) is enabling a California organization called the California Coalition for Youth to continue to perpetrate fraud against the people of the State of California. CCY has an ongoing contract with the State to operate of 24-hour hotline for youth. But instead of fulfilling its obligations, it forwards its hotline much of the time to the Boys Town National Hotline with Boys Town's consent. see http://www.friedmarbles.com/html/ccy.htm. In this regard Boys Town has continually assisted in the fraud by enabling CCY to disregard its contractual obligations.

More feedback

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

MY ROLE:
Professional with expertise in this field

CHILDRENS RIGHTS OF NEW YORK INC
August 30, 2012

Good organization, publishes an informative newsletter on child safety and other child-related concerns. Non-competative, which is an unusual quality among nonprofits. Actually has contributed to other child-serving charities to insure their survival. No salaries taken. 100% of all money goes to its intended purpose.

More feedback

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

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

A lot

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

MY ROLE:
Professional with expertise in this field

Review from Guidestar
DEMI AND ASHTON FOUNDATION
August 28, 2012

Not finding anything productive that this charity really does. Their "Real Men Don't Buy Girls" PSAs are totally moronic with Sean Penn ironing a grilled cheese sandwich, the announcer saying "Real men know how to use an iron. Real men don't buy girls." Or Justin Timberlake with a chainsaw to shave his face, the announcer saying, "Real men prefer a close shave. Real men don't buy girls." These are presumably produced to end prostitution. Bradley Cooper pours milk into a cereal box, with, "Real men know how to make a meal. Real men don't buy girls." Remarkably, on culture.com, Sean Penn is quoted as saying, "If you want entertainment, you get a couple of hookers and some cocaine." Bradley Cooper starred in The Hangover 2, which humorously portrayed one of his character's friends involved with a prostitute. In defense of clean-cut Timberlake, I don't think he's even seen an episode of T.J. Hooker. But the DNA PSAs are both ineffectual and downright inane. Meanwhile, the organizations 990s reveal that of the $689,058 donated in 2009, $240,000 went to a consulting group and $24,293 went to travel expenses (perhaps to meet with the consulting firm). What was left in the bank was close to $344,000 that went nowhere. The website boasts a human trafficking hotline just over their donate link, but the line is run by another organization. It just give the appearance that it's theirs. The website states that DNA has supported "Senator Wyden’s Domestic Minor Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act." Senator Wyden's office said, "Anyone can support us,t there was never any relationship with DNA." On their "Tech Task Force" page, they state that their technical task force has a representative from Blekko and indeed they do. But to what end? Blekko merely runs a filtered down search engine that tries to remove spam. It has nothing to do with human trafficking. In fact, if you go to blekko.com and type in back page, you come up with backpage.com, which is virtually nothing but prostitution ads. According to new reports, in July 2012, Ashton Kutcher gave Mila Kunis a $5,000 phone case with both their initials carved on it. What is the difference between trying to buy a woman's affections and presumably sleep with her with a $5,000 purchase versus purchasing her time for a twentieth that in cash? You know, I'll bet that Mila, who has her own money, would have preferred a hand-written poem. I don't know. Maybe real men know how to wrap a phone case. But they also do buy girls.. just in a different way.

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?

None

Will you recommend this organization to others?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

MY ROLE:
Professional with expertise in this field

Review from Guidestar
SUSAN G KOMEN BREAST CANCER FOUNDATION
August 24, 2012

Horrible and rude leadership. I cannot view their most recent 990s, as the latest one shown in from 1997, but they are now in league with the American Book Drive, which has numerous collection bins set up in parking lots and shopping malls throughout California as well as offering home pick-ups of books, DVDs and CDs. The value of the items donated, which are sold on Amazon is probably well over a million dollars a year, from which only some thousands of dollars actually go to program services. Furthermore, they have been doing this in L.A. without the required police commission permit. And, more likely than not, the excessive fundraising expense for the small return probably does not appear on their IRS returns. Not only the high cost versus the low yield a poor charitable practice, that the fundraiser expense is probably not revealed makes for deceptive "transparency." When someone donates books or DVDs or CDs to them, they are under the impression that most of the revenue from their sale goes towards the cause. This is far from the case.

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 little

Will you recommend this organization to others?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

MY ROLE:
Professional with expertise in this field

CARING FOR OUR CHILDREN FOUNDATION
August 12, 2012

The "foundation" is run in conjunction with Operation Lookout, run by Mike and Melody Gibson, who, each year make close to $100,000. The COCF supposedly gives advice and money to other children's charities, but the bulk of the money goes to Operation Lookout and apparently into the Gibson's pockets. On their 2010 IRS 990 forms $666,286 was raised, but $569,222 went towards fundraising, $35,510 went towards salaries and $4,850 went to Operation Lookout, leaving $56,704. Subtracting another $3,666 for payroll taxes, $21,165 for accounting services and $8,307 for bank charges leaves $23,566. In other words, only 3.5¢ of every dollar donated goes towards their cause. But their rent was $38,839, which means that not only does no money go towards their cause, but nothing goes towards it. This and Operation Lookout appears to be a way for the Gibsons to pay for their mortgage or their rent and living expenses, until both organizations' credit lines run out and they declare bankruptcy and both organizations fold. The governor of South Carolina publishes an annual Angels and Scrooges list of charities, based upon how much of the donations go to the charity. COCF would go to the top of their Scrooges list.

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?

None

Will you recommend this organization to others?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

MY ROLE:
Professional with expertise in this field

OPERATION LOOKOUT NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING YOUTH
August 12, 2012

The organization uses telemarketers to raise most of its funds. According to their latest 990 IRS filing, only 12.5¢ of every dollar actually finds its way to the charity. The other 87.5¢ goes to the fundraiser. So, from the $1,312,055 raised in 2010, only $1,148,106 went to the charity. Of the 163,949 that went to them, $79.608 of it went towards salaries and payroll taxes, leaving $84,341. The problem is that none of the salaried staff members ever answer either their hotline or their office phone. That is left to an answering service to determine whether or not a call is important enough to leave a message. The simple posing of a missing child on their overly verbose website can take days and days. Meanwhile, on their website and to their potential donors they brag about how they are"an award winning, multifaceted, and fully computerized international child-search assistance center serving families with investigative casework for any geography of origin" and how they are a founding and charter member of AMECO (another "winner" in the missing children arena) and on and on and on. They state that they "provide are as described by Congress in Title IV - Missing Children - of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, as amended or approved and recognized by Royal Canadian Mounted Police," and all that comes to my mind at this point is Dudley Doright, and I'm wondering, if Nell had called Dudley's answering service, would he have gotten there in time to rescue her from the train?

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?

None

Will you recommend this organization to others?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

MY ROLE:
Professional with expertise in this field

GreatNonprofits
June 5, 2012

Sorry, but despite what might be good intentions, the road to hellacious results is well-paved here. Review are few and far between, so all a charity has to do is have some of its friends write five star reviews and voilà!, we have a great nonprofit. I cannot get over the fact that Children of the Night is one of the greats when I was literally crippled by members of the charity while Lois Lee the founder and executive director watched, having lured me out on false pretense in the first place. Talk about charity competition. Anyway, I wouldn't buy into the star gazing here. It doesn't mean much in the way of greatness.

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?

None

Will you recommend this organization to others?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

What is unique about this organization?

It bases its findings on surveys of next to none.

MY ROLE:
Professional with expertise in this field & Run a national nonprofit for endangered children.

CALIFORNIA POLICE ACTIVITIES LEAGUE
May 3, 2012

If you check their 990's you will find that more than 90% of their contributions go towards salary. They have a boiler room filled with staff who make phone calls to solicit money, which is what they seem to be all about, not helping anyone.

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?

None

Will you recommend this organization to others?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

MY ROLE:
Professional with expertise in this field

Review from CharityNavigator
California Coalition for Youth
June 6, 2011

Private charity has taken nearly $8 million in public funds to provide a 24-hour hotline, shuts down at night and in the early morning morning hours.

The Great!

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

Trying to phone them

Ways to make it better...

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

Stop their all of their government funding. Hold them accountable for the times their hotline has been down.

MY ROLE:
Professional with expertise in this field & I run a national hotline for endangered children with 1/100 of their funding but which manages to remain open 24/7.

Children of the Night
July 7, 2009

I was beaten by a volunteer of Children of the Night as its founder and director, Lois Lee sat idly watching. Lee had orchestrated "a scheme" to lure me to Marina del Rey in an attempt to discredit the organization for children I was with. I was left with permanent back injuries as a result, which are the cause of excruciating pain to this day. The following is from the charge evaluation sheet as completed by the Los Angeles District Attorney's office. LOS ANGELES COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY CHARGE EVALUATION SHEET DA CASE NU. 90-0556 COMPLAINT DEPUTY JAMES E. KOLLER REVIEWING DEPUTY R. GUNSON I.I.B File Case No. 090-0031 "It is this Internal Affairs Investigation prepared by Sergeants T. Pradia and Sergeant E. Allen of the Internal Investigations Bureau that reveals the true nature of the conflict that occurred on November 9, 1989. Lois Lee, Executive Director of Children of the Night, devised a scheme whereby Donald Austen1 would be lured from his business to assist a non-existent runaway girl. Ms. Lee states the purpose of this fraud was to obtain a photograph of Mr. Austen. Ms. Lee's plan was to have her friend, Robert Christie, request Mr. Austen meet the feigned runaway at a restaurant. To activate this ruse Ms. Lee obtained the assistance of a private investigator, two photographers, two co-workers, three deputy sheriffs and the deputy's wife. These nine individuals were present at the restaurant before Mr. Austen's arrival. This investigation reveals that off-duty Sergeant Gil Parra contacted the Marina del Rey Station and requested assistance in making a traffic stop of Donald Austen, whom he described as a homicide suspect. The evidence suggests an intent to unlawfully detain Mr. Austen. It is also clear that Sergeant Gil Parra and off-duty Lieutenant William Salveson misrepresented the legitimacy of their investigation of Donald Austen to the Marina del Rey Station deputies. And, we note the plan as described by Lois Lee appears far too elaborate for its express purpose of obtaining photographs." I was not the only victim of Lee's "scheme." Also were former Oregon police officer, Margaret Weems, and her daughter, actress, Priscilla Weems, who were both volunteers with my charity. In 2008, Children of the Night sued both me and the charity for publishing on the Internet what Children of the Night did. After the UCLU took up our right to freedom of speech, COTN dismissed their claim.

The Great!

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

violence.

Ways to make it better...

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

fire the director/founder.

More feedback

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

nothing.

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

brazen, ordering me to disband the charity I was with "so it wouldn't compete with [their] fundraising.

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

It did and it just wanted more.

Ways to make it better...

they had never existed

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

a lack of morality.

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

my life would have been a lot better and less wracked with pain had they never been.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

MY ROLE:
Professional with expertise in this field & I was waylaid and beaten by volunteers from Children of the Night.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
July 7, 2009

Highly overrated due to its own media campaign, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has not recovered a single stranger abducted child in its 25-year history. But then it's not supposed to. You see, the National Center, nicknamed NCMEC or NickMeck, is a clearinghouse. It has a website with photos of missing children (mostly parental abductions and runaways), has a page for child exploitation over the internet that goes directly to the Department of Justice, and it provides space for another organization to train police chiefs as to how to respond when a child is missing. The question is, are those services, while valuable, worth $58 million a year? Or is its director worth nearly $500,000 a year for the 28-hour week that he puts in? Very few children in the US are abducted in the way that Adam Walsh or Polly Klaas were; probably less than a dozen a year. NCMEC miffed the Elizabeth Smart abduction by not bringing a trained bloodhound to the scene; one which could have found her since both she and her abductor were only a quarter of a mile away in a wooded area. To date close to half a billion dollars has been spent on this charity, primarily on its website and various members of its staff. Yet when a girl, featured on its website was recovered, NCMEC would not contribute on cent towards her safe return home. It's not what we do, said NCMEC liaison Marsha Gilmer Tullus. "We're a clearinghouse. Our job is not to return missing children home, but to help others to find them." The cost of returning the girl home was less that what takes Ernie Allen, NCMEC's director, less than four hours to earn. According to their 990's, NCMEC has approximately $30 million, above and beyond their annual expenses, sitting in the bank.

The Great!

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

the imagination of its staff.

Ways to make it better...

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

fire the executive staff.

More feedback

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

those periods between contacts.

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

indifferent

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

be closer to what it should be taking in a year, rather than the $58 million it presently amasses.

Ways to make it better...

they actually showed that they cared.

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

greed and self-aggrandizement.

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

NCMEC has been placed on a pedestal. No one has ever really scrutinized what they do (or don't do) because they are led in name by the now iconic John Walsh, who remains on their board of directors.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

MY ROLE:
Professional with expertise in this field & I recovered the girl, had her treated in a medical facility, obtained medicine for her and took her on a plane from L.A. to Fort Lauderdale, Florida to return home.