Today, we have learned that there are negative comments and valid concerns regarding the foundation's procurement officer, Mr. Grady Morton. We will be addressing those comments and concerns via the NextDoor app which is where the online thread has started. Our office was contacted this morning and we received word through a concerned citizen concerning those remarks. We want to publicly address those who are expressing their concerns negatively, where we are not attempting to negate the seriousness of the matter at hand we cannot condone threats of violence against Mr. Morton. Those who have expressed their concerns that Mr. Morton is scamming the public for donations have not reached out to the office to address those concerns. Our website has always been accessible to the general public, as well as our social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). Our 990's are public information as well. The most visible 990 is from FY 2018. Our 990 for FY2019 is still being processed and will be visible when the IRS makes it visible to the general public. Anyone who would like any financial information regarding the foundation may do so by contacting our office via writing, email, text or telephone call. We have been made aware that there seem to be others who are stated to be in connection with Mr. Morton but are not affiliated with the foundation. We will be publicly denouncing the gentleman who has been photographed on July 11, 2021 and posted online to the NextDoor app. The public announcement will be posted in the Virginian Pilot.
For the record we have found Mr. Morton in violation of FOTE's soliciting practices. Mr. Morton has been verbally warned and received a written reprimand concerning his actions stated in the post and comments on the NextDoor app. We welcome anyone who has a comment, question or concern regarding the foundation or Mr. Morton to contact our office.
The Board of Directors is appalled by the actions stated regarding Mr. Morton and take this matter to heart as it is also a representation of the work that the staff, volunteers and Board of Directors is doing to help the community here in Hampton Roads. The Administrator, Mrs. Cleo Rush is deeply concerned by the actions that Mr. Morton has displayed while fundraising on behalf of the foundation. It is our intention to have those persons feel safe and comfortable while deciding to whether or not to make a donation, and for those persons to feel comfortable and safe if they choose not to make a donation. There are a vast number of individuals/families who rely on the work that we do. We will work diligently to ensure this matter is rectified and to build a better relationship with those in our community.
Review from Guidestar
I too want to help the community by expressing disappointment in the procurement officer. However, I am not certain this aggressive hawk is actually affiliated with this charity as he claims. The man walks around parking lots knocking on car windows to solicit for money, even at night. He approaches me even when I am on the phone in my car with my child. I tell him nicely that I already donated. He stares at me as if I were wrong to say this. I have called the charity to find out if the man is even affiliated with this charity, but I haven't heard back yet.
I am posting a review to hopefully make all who are involved aware of a growing problem with FOTE’s procurement officer. This man is so well known in the Virginia Beach area for randomly harassing the public for donations. He has blocked people from pulling out of their parking spaces in public parking lots, followed women around and into their places of business, and recently it was posted on a social media website, a bystander witnessed their procurement officer yelling at an elderly woman at a grocery store parking lot. I personally have had this man block me and tell me he needed to talk to me and I needed to listen as I was trying to pull out of my spot to pick up my ten year old son. I post this b/c I fear his behavior negatively impacts FOTE: a seemingly wonderful, charitable organization. Currently there are over 60 comments made on a post complaining about their procurement officer on a specific social media website. FOTE surely needs to address the situation.
Review from Guidestar
Helping to provide services such as food, clothing, toys,school supplies, pampers, referals to shelters and churches that provide assistance with utilities. They also provide prayer and Christian counseling.
The foundation's annual back to school campaign was a success! We were able to partner again with the Salvation Army to help assist over 80 children for back to school. Children not only received needed school supplies they received new back packs as well. It was a pleasure to help deliver the back packs and to see the smiles (despite getting ready for the first day of school) on their faces as they received their back packs. They got off to a good start for the new school year.
Participated in their back to school program. Received school supplies and back for my kids. They do wonderful work!
Your solicitor in my opinion is persistent, not aggressive. I believe his cause justifies his effort...Keep up the good work.
One of your solicitors is very aggressive and harassing. Numerous people in the community are posting awareness of the unbecoming tactics used to collect donations for your charity. Unfortunately, you are getting less donations and businesses in the strip malls he frequents are losing business because women are choosing to go somewhere else when they see him. His safety is also of concern. There is a good chance he will approach the wrong person.
I just wanted to share my gratitude for the assistance I received through FOTE Outreach Programs. I had just moved into my apartment after experiencing homelessness and was living in a hotel. I was in need of supplies for my home~ simple things like toilet paper and cleaning supplies. The offered me those supplies I needed. Upon delivering the supplies to me the saw that I did not have much furniture and asked me if I had a way of securing those things I needed. To my embarrassment my son announced that he was sleeping on an air mattress. Within a week a bed for my son was sent to me; along with a sofa and a dining room table w/ chairs. I am grateful that that they gave me the assistance that I needed. This is truly a wonderful organization. Thank you.
I would advise your people not to solicit near ATMs,especially during nighttime. There are fewer things more intimidating than one's having a solicitor, FOTE or otherwise, approach him at an ATM during nighttime. This could prove to be more hazardous to the solicitor. Keep up the charitable work but please limit your soliciting to daytime.
Wonderful people! They give me a Thanksgiving basket yearly! I love their personality and spirits! Just a great organization! Down to earth and sweet!
Times have been a little tough for our family this past month; reduced hours at work due to budget cuts. Not only was my family able to receive food from their pantry but they also helped with needed school supplies for my son. The help I received was excellent and not sure what other avenues I would have taken if it was not for them.
I recently experience a situation that led to me becoming homeless. Even though they didn't have accomodations for me; they contacted local resources for me and helped me obtain entry into a local shelter program. Additionally they are continuing to work with me to locate affordable housing and assistance with applications to additional resources and services. They are dedicated to help those in need.
I helped with the Thanksgiving deliveries to the Outreach clientele for Friends of the Elderly. The joy that I saw on their faces was priceless. I feel that the food that was provided to each family was needed and appreciated and brought much joy. The hard work that was given by the foundation and the many supporters of their holiday food program was truely inspirational and is a needed component to the program as there are many families who are in need. The staff went above and beyond any expectations that the families may have had. I personally helped deliver food baskets to over 25 families right here in the Hampton Road community.
Things were really hard for me this Thanksgiving. My husband had lost his job and really were in a financial bid. It is simply amazing how something like a little Thanksgiving cheer can do wonders to lift our spirits. We were grateful for the food basket that we received from them. Our family sincerely appreciates the kindness and generousity that was shown to our family.
Ms Cleo Rush is a great organization, here's my story, almost twenty years ago, being a single parent, i became disabled on my job, my 2 children were taken by defacs and were placed in foster care i was very depressed at that time, someone told me go see Ms Rush, through Mrs. Rush's organization and her family and staff, i was given affordable housing and counseling and through the power of our Creator, my children were returned to me in 30 days!!!!!!! A Miracle! yes a Miracle! through the next ten years my children and i prospered immensly!! FOTE, is a Great nonprofit organization, they have Great staff and a Great leader in Ms RUSH! anyone that wants to see Miracles happen to transform your family, go see Ms Rush and FOTE Please donate to this great organization, and see Miracles! transformed, thank God for giving Ms Rush the gifts that she shares! all i can say is thank you!! your adopted son James Harvey
Review from Guidestar