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2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Gear Up Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Disaster Aid, Fire Prevention, International, International Exchange, Public Safety, Disaster Preparedness & Relief

Mission: .. .. honoring those who perished, served and were affected by the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 promoting international brotherhood and good will by providing equipment and training to firefighters & fire safety education and hope to children in need around the world, Bringing our world TOGETHER because of the 9/11 attacks rather than allowing ourselves to be torn apart....

Results: For more than 12 years our efforts have fulfilled our commitment to never forget and saving lives in tribute to those who answered the call on 9/11 and those who continue to answer the call. Fire Trucks, Ambulances, Life Saving Gear, education, school for children providing fire prevention, safety and community service, acknowledged as a "God Send" to nations and people that we serve. "Answering the call of Liberty" providing urgent equipment to our own at Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty in response to STORM SANDY. Gear Up acts as "Ambassadors Of Goodwill" as we bring our world closer together because of the events of September 11th, 2001 rather than allowing ourselves to be torn apart.

Target demographics: First Responders, Children 4-19, low income or no income, low income or no income first responders worldwide

Direct beneficiaries per year: Hundreds of Fire fighters Overseas with equipment, hundreds of children in our school and those who have received help from our relationship with Healing the Children Doctors.

Geographic areas served: South America, Latin America, Philippines, Central America, Nepal

Programs: American Tribute Ride, Kids Korner, Awareness and remembrance efforts, Help for Heroes, Two Dates that Live In Infamy Ground Zero and Pearl Harbor linkage, Healing the Children Clef Palate surgeries donated and supported by Gear Up Foundation.

Community Stories

34 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

5 Jen_31

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This organization provides excellent service to the communties and neighborhoods they serve. It is an honor to witness the way they truly care about their fellow man in regards to safety. The more they have, the more they want to give! May God continue to bless You Monica and Vinnie!

Ecu416

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have personally worked with Gear Up on projects from sorting fire gear, to responding with a team from around North and South America to the earthquake in Ecuador (April 2016). We gave aid and donations to the victims and the agencies responding. These are amazing people and an amazing organization. I would trust them with not only my money but life!

Nicole A L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

There is no words to express how I’m grateful I am with Gear Up for always standing up for whose who are in need. In this case for gearing up local firefighters in my country Ecuador with equipments and also for providing them of the necessary knowledge through workshops. God ever bless your team for having such a big heart.

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great organization with The wonderful mission. Delivering much needed help and support . The Gear Up Foundation and everyone who is involved in it are true examples of integrity, honesty and professionalism in the field. Paying a tribute and keeping the memories alive about true heroes of our country. Delivering not only the support around the country and abroad but education and training on fire safety. I witnessed first hand the action the Foundation took answering the call of duty immediately in the areas of crisis effected by natural disaster in South America.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have known Gear Up since the beginning and can say that the help to fire departments in Latin America had been crucial to save lives in those far places that their own government can’t reach. The foundation has proved that the mission is more important even in the face of adversities and opposition. I commend Gear Up for its work and encourage anyone to help GUP and can be part of this awesome story of hope.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have the honnor ofpersonally meet to The Chief Vincent and Monica for many years, last year april 16 my city Esmeraldas also Manabi had a earthquake die aprox 600 persons
I remember that I was so worry to find help I just did a phone call to Monica requesting for help and 24 hours later VINCENT come to mi city with a Team of USAR mi city including the Mayor are deeply gratefully for all the help received

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am Major Santiago Landazury, from Ecuador, I am one of the beneficiaries of the Gear Up Foundation's programs, I met the founders personally when I traveled to Chicago in 2007, they are helping my country since 2005 if my memory serves me well, when I met Monica Carrera and became a volunteer and part of the brotherhood that grew up in many countries....Great people, awesome instructors, we are more than grateful for what they have done in Ecuador.

Review from Guidestar

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

The organizer of this organization is a scam artist. He is being investigated for fraud. Most members of FDNY have heard this mans name and know he is a phony . Think hard before donating anything to this group

Previous Stories
8

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

This guy is a wanna be. Makes up fake uniforms and vehicle plaques to make himself look important. He is a disgrace

Comments ( 1 )

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vforras 10/31/2013

Be Advised that the negative reports about Gear Up Foundation, are complete fabrications and false. Because of malicious acts such as this erroneous comments, Gear Up Foundation has filed a lawsuit against individuals and agencies that have allowed and promoted such actions. Case was filed appropriately on September 11th 2013. All false and negative comments made on this site and others will be collected and maybe use in support of our case. PS: THIS PERSON WAS NEVER A VOLUNTEER, NOR HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH GEAR UP FOUNDATION.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We need heroes to save us from our mistakes or accidents. But who will help those heroes from getting hurt? They risk their lives but we do not realize how precious their lives are until they are sacrificed. When I heard about Gear Up Foundation, I was mind blown. They work very hard to make sure that firefighters from the countries they visit (from all over the world) are prepared for their battles to save innocent people. Gear Up provides help by supporting poor fire departments with good equipment, they train firefighters, and other necessities for our heroes to be safe in their fight to survive and to save those in need.

Review from Guidestar

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Daniel Rodriguez and I have known this foundation and its board for many years. I have volunteered in several events and have seen first hand the wonderful nature of this foundation and its mission. I was directly involved with helping a poorly supplied fire brigade get much needed equipment in order to save lives and would not have been successful without the help of the caring people at Gear Up.

Review from Guidestar

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at Gear Up for 13 years now, and I couldn't be any happier to be part of this foundation. I agree with everything GUp stands for, and I love being able to say that I have done my share for them, as a photographer, document translator, and more. I've been treated with great respect and I love to know that we give continuously to those in need.

Review from Guidestar

3 Lalit S.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Gear up foundation is one of the Brilliant organization.

Review from Guidestar

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Let me first say that I’ve been friends with Vincent Forras for 38 years, and it has been a friendship filled with mutual respect and understanding during good times and bad, great adventures, lots of laughter, and one of the few decisions in my life that holds no regrets. I have had the pleasure of seeing first hand how much Vinny gives of himself, despite debilitating health issues resulting from his efforts as a First Responder at 9/11 Ground Zero, without a thought of gaining anything in return except for the satisfaction of helping others, from his close friends, to those around the world in need. During several trips to South America with Vinny and his wife Monica over the last decade, I have witnessed the smiling faces and warm welcome they receive from everyone who has benefitted from their efforts with Gear Up Foundation. I am proud to say that Vinny is one of my 2 best friends, and my life has been better in many ways because of our friendship.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been working with Gear Up for 9 years. It has truly been a blessing to able to help our brothers and sisters in less fortunate countries. My family has invested many dollars and hours in collecting used fire equipment to share. All of this at OUR expense. Those that have stated otherwise have no idea what we have accomplished. The reception by our fellow firefighters in Latin America has been overwhelming.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering with Gear Up 10 years ago, and have seen first hand how this wonderful foundation has helped other firefighters with their training, provided equipment, as well as educated children with fire prevention in my native home of Ecuador. I am so grateful for being able to witness the help that has been extended to other firefighters in third world countries, where the equipment and gear are not durable enough to battle fires. I have seen the faces on those firefighters when they have received the current standard equipment that is used in the U.S., revolutionizing the way that they are able to protect their communities. That experience was priceless. Thank you Gear Up, for all your work and accomplishments. PS: Vincent and Monica have enormous hearts and their generosity is endless.

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

As a 9/11 responder we have watched this foundation promise money that has never come. We know Vincent has raised large sums of money through Gear Up Foundation and has not donated any of it to a single 9/11 responder. We urge you not to donate to this foundation as they are under investigation by numerous entities.

Comments ( 1 )

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vforras 03/25/2014

As per previous statements this is again an obvious personal attack and baseless and actually pretty pathetic. We feel more sorry for you and your pathetic tactics considering every single false charge that has been made by a small group of rotten apples has fallen on deaf ears and has only led to more individuals being implicated in the suit filed in NYS Supreme Court on September 11th, 2013. Believe me, this is not a HOLLOW THREAT, but an actual suit that was filed and will be expanded to include additional individuals through information being captured on social media and elsewhere containing malicious and false information including statements such as those being made in the above false review. The information being presented is tainted and false and malicious, thus the filing.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Do a simple google search on this foundation's owner, Vincent Forras and count how many different 'tales' of his 9/11 experience and you will quickly realize that this individual see's dollar signs with 9/11. It is disgusting how he uses 9/11 as his platform to raise donations!

Comments ( 1 )

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vforras 12/08/2013

Do yourself a bigger favor. Realize how easy it is to FAKE GOOGLE with BS reviews that are written by those who have an agenda and also have NO IDEA of the truth behind GEAR UP FOUNDATION. Every false charge is just that FALSE> Its more embarrassing to those who make this stuff up than anything to think that a foundation with 12 plus years of operation could be "FOOLING" folks all these years. Gear Up has fulfilled every filing, every law and then some... Our legacy continues to show that we do indeed make a difference across the globe in tribute to all those who served... ADDITIONALLY... ON SEPTEMBER 11th, 2013 a LAWSUIT WAS FILED AGAINST ALL THOSE INVOLVED IN THE FALSE CLAIMS AND WILL BE VIEWED IN PUBLIC SOON. STAY TUNED AS INDIVIDUALS ARE SERVED WITH PAPERS THAT MAY CAUSE THINGS TO CHANGE PRETTY QUICKLY!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 1

Gear up and Vinny forras are frauds! They use 9/11 as their trophy. They mislead donors into believing they support 9/11 responders. His stories of 9/11 are fabricated. All he did at ground zero was search out VIP's for ohiti ops! He is a scumbag mutt who was terminated from his vollie department. I was burned by Vinny. Don't make the same mistake I made! He is a crook!!!

Comments ( 1 )

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vforras 12/08/2013

We continue to get these idiotic comments by low life people who follow like wooden soldiers members of FDNY as their puppet masters. I am wondering if they will continue to follow them into court during the upcoming law suits that will expose their actions in public.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 0

Hola soy Andres maldonado Bombero voluntario de CHILE con mas de 20 años de servicio a esta institucion de una familia de bomberos voluntarios creo que desde antes de nacer ya traia arraigada en mi sangre pertenecer a esta institucion, tambien quiero agradecerles el haberme invitado a ser participe de esta tan noble fundacion, espero algun dia tener el gusto de estar junto a ustedes, gracias por su rol en honrar a los que calleron el 11/9, gracias por estar y ayudar a las instituciones bomberiles con mas necesidades...muchas felicidades, saludos cordiales.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

MI NOMBRE,ES ALI SANTIAGO BOMBERO VOLUNTARIO HACE MAS DE 15 AÑOS,EN BOMBEROS DE JOSE C PAZ,ES UN ORGULLO SABER DE ESTA FUNDACION,TODA LA ENERGIA QUE PONE,YA SEA LA SEÑORA MONICA CARRERA COMO EL SEÑOR VINCET FORRAS. Y LA GENTE QUE TRABAJA CON ELLOS.SABER DE SUS AYUDAS Y ESFUERZOS.POR SUERTE SIGE HABIENDO GENTE CON ESA CALIDAD DE VIDA. SU AYUDA A LOS DEMAS.EN CUANTO AL ATENTADO DE LAS TORRE,QUEDARA EN LA HISTORIA COMO EL ATENTADO MAS INFAME,QUE NUNCA OLVIDAREMOS.COMO HACI TAMBIEN LOS BOMBEROS CAIDOS EN CUMPLIMIENTO DEL DEBER, SIN OLVIDAR SUS FAMILIAS Y AMIGOS,PERO QUEDA DEMOSTRADO UNA VEZ MAS QUE CUANDO MAS FUERTE ES EL GOLPE,UNO MAS FUERZA TIENE LA PREMISA ES NO OLVIDAR. Y SEGUIR CON EL COMPROMISO ETICO DE TODO BOMBERO SACRIFICIO ABNEGACION Y VALOR,HONRAR LA VIDA,Y POR LA UNION MUNDIAL DE LOS BOMBEROS.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

When I heard about this nonprofit organization, I was very touch for the miracle of life, those who survived. Their lives were changed for ever and is very gratifying to see how that horrible experience had been transformed into that brings us together, that no matter how much hatred can be out there towards us Americans , we take that horrible feeling and convert it into love and this organization is really focus into love one another, charity by charity they probed that there is hope in this world.

1 Alejandra2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved as a volunteer with this non-profit organization for more than 10 years and I have seen things done first hand, I would definitely recommend to those people that are doubtful about this foundation to volunteer with Gear Up. Monica and Vincent have been a true blessing to poor firefighter departments around the world (the countries they have traveled to) by giving them donations such as firetrucks and uniforms.
It is sad but in all honesty to say that the internet does lie, but be aware that the negative articles written about Vinny are false. I know Vincent and he is a giving, caring, and trustworthy person. Not only him, but the whole Gear Up team. This organization has not only helped others but it has also helped me by realizing i can make a difference in the world by helping others in any way I can.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience with Gear Up has been wonderful, gladly to let the world know how trust wordy is all the team in USA as well as INTERNACIONALly
Correct !!!! My experience with Gear Up has been wonderful, i am proud to continue to help and gladly to let the world know how trust wordy is all the team in USA as well as INTERNACIONALlY

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

I have know Monica and her husband for quite sometime, on the 10th anniversary me and several other emergency services workers wanted to come to lay a wreath at ground zero, they were very helpful in giving me advise and to also extend an invitation to go to Pearl harbour to also lay a wreath. Well done and hopefully one day we will get there

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

gear up does good for people around the world i will forever support them brotherhood around the world need gear and what gear up is doing for them is a good damn thing the crew in gear up screw these haters they just hate it cause your doing something good for the brothers that need you keep doing what your doing i know your 100% non profit so like i said your doing a good damn thing

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a Great organization. Only good things. Goos stuff and people of God.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

They do good transporting equipment donated by other organizations. They are not transparent and provide no answers how their money is allotted. They say it is "all their own money". so where do donations go? Charity paperwork does not disclose that many family members are on the board, even though it is required. One example: the wife and co- founder checked " no" on the public form where it asks if she is related to anyone in the organization. Her husband is the other co- founder.

This organization seems to mainly exist to stroke the ego of it's founder. He ran for Senate in CT while wearing a jacket identifying him as a member of FDNY. He makes more of deal of being a " heroic firefighter who responded to Ground Zero" something thousands did unselfishly, than helping foreign fire departments. He was never on FDNY or in the military. Yet he wears a firefighter uniform with a Distinguished Service Cross ( which is illegal) and various other dubious medals. His story of being trapped at "Ground Zero" constantly changes and flies in the face of physics and basic firefighting practices. He has no witnesses, worked alone even though he was on a team , and told no one at the time. He solicits funds in the name of 9/11 responders but donates to none.

vforras wrote: August 30, 2013
Negative comments continue to be posted by people who have NEVER worked with the foundation or participated in any way. SERVING MEMBERS of FDNY and their THUGS continue to post non factual and completely fabricated information about both the foundation and myself. We are looking forward to the legal action that is imminent to reveal the true nature of these attacks and the extent of what these individuals have gone to. Gear Up Foundation's actions around the world speak volumes to what we have accomplished over the past 11 plus years and the baseless agenda of a handful of malcontents will not deviate us from our noble mission or the recognition that we have been given for our actions in tribute to ALL THOSE WHO PERISHED ON 911. These same individuals continue to promote this agenda on various social media sites for their own personal reasons. Our foundation has provided documentation in painstaking detail to entities who needed to confirm our operation. We have and continue to operate to the highest standards in the non-profit world. These malcontents should spend more time focused on doing their collective jobs and helping others than making up stories and promoting out and out lies that will easily be exposed very soon. The one thing to keep in mind is that we don't owe these THUGS any explanation whatsoever. We have filed every document with IRS and NYS AG and we have been in operation for over 11 years. The facts are that we are and always have operated our foundation to the highest standards. The so called "facts" are merely a compilation and manipulated by those who apparently have too much time on their collective hands. Again, with all the "FAKE" and "Constructed" complaints sent to various government agencies and others in such volume and containing NOTHING worthy of actions tells it all. I continue to put our faith in the governing agencies that oversea non-profits and trust that their clear and untainted evaluations are far more valuable to everyone who is really concerned.

The facts come from the foundations own propaganda-videos and pictures posted on the Internet. Mr. Forras any organization soliciting donations in the name of charity are obligated by pure integrity to answer legitimate questions. Your answers to my respectful questions were evasive, semi-insulting , and befuddled. You preach love but you attack anyone who has genuine concerns, hardly part of the Brotherhood. You attack members of the FDNY who you emulate and claim to support. Your definition
of 9/11 on your website is totally unrealistic. Problems in fire departments due to poverty, corruption, or indifference in no way equate to a Major Mass Casualty, Fire, Haz-Mat Event perpetuated by murderer's which is what happened on 9/11. Your only purpose seems to be to inflate your ego by replacing the American Flag with one stamped with your foundations name, in bold print,and hijacking the names of those we lost. Any true Memorial would not be festooned with corporate or organizational
logos. Whatever good you do is overshadowed by your self promoting actions and behavior.

Comments ( 1 )

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vforras 10/31/2013

Be Advised that the negative reports about Gear Up Foundation, are complete fabrications and false. Because of malicious acts such as this erroneous comments, Gear Up Foundation has filed a lawsuit against individuals and agencies that have allowed and promoted such actions. Case was filed appropriately on September 11th 2013. All false and negative comments made on this site and others will be collected and maybe use in support of our case. PS: THIS PERSON WAS NEVER A VOLUNTEER, NOR HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH GEAR UP FOUNDATION.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have only good experiences of this valuable organisation, that makes a huge contribution within its field. When talking to persons in Europe who are active in the same field of work, they are always very impressed by its impact and organisation. It is also impressive that it has worked both in USA and overseas, as well as in South America.

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have the pleasure of writing before VOLUNTERSUL, the Association of Volunter Firemen of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. We have been working together with Gear Up USA and UK, in order to process the donation of gears to VOLUNTERSUL. This is really an opportunity to place these brothers together and I have enthusiastically been involved in this process.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure and blessing to be part of Gear Up Foundation for more than 2 years. I had the opportunity to work close to the Gear Up Members and have helped delivering donations, this has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. My favorite part is to see the firefighter’s faces when Gear Up gives them the help they don’t have. I was also part of a children’s ceremony where the kids from this very poor town got fire training, prevention knowledge’ and earned a diploma, it touched me to see their faces, they want to grow up to be firefighters.
If you have the opportunity to contact Gear Up Foundation, and be a part of their helping family, please do so. Their charity work, mission and vision have changed my life. This foundation is formed by people that believe in helping others and giving tribute to those who are not longer with us.

God bless you all Gear Up staff and Gear Up Foundation always

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved in soliciting equipment, packaging and shipping equipment to Central America. I had an opportunity a couple of months ago to host a fire chief and captain from the City of Fernanduez, San Louis Potosi, MX. What an awesome, gratifying experience. Gear Up Foundation's commitment to honor those that perished at on 9-11 and those that are dying every week due to their volunteered time at the WTC, is amazing. I am honored and very happy to be able to honor our brothers in such a beautiful living tribute.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We have year after year, payed tribute to those who perished on 9/11 and those rescuers that answered the call on that tragic day, through our 9/11 memorial events and through out the programs that involved ceremonies on 9/11 overseas performed by Fire Departments in 7 countries in Latin America. Also teaching kids fire Prevention in Ecuador, and teaching community service values and the history of what happened on 9/11 and the lessons learned in Americans.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 1

he is a scam https://www.facebook.com/pages/911-Scam-Foundations-Causes/530268456998882?ref=stream http://www.villagevoice.com/2011-08-31/news/9-11-the-winners-profiting-from-september-eleventh/

Comments ( 2 )

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vforras 10/31/2013

Be Advised that the negative reports about Gear Up Foundation, are complete fabrications and false. Because of malicious acts such as this erroneous comments, Gear Up Foundation has filed a lawsuit against individuals and agencies that have allowed and promoted such actions. Case was filed appropriately on September 11th 2013. All false and negative comments made on this site and others will be collected and maybe use in support of our case.

profile

vforras 10/31/2013

PS: THIS PERSON WAS NEVER A VOLUNTEER, NOR HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH GEAR UP FOUNDATION.

Review from Guidestar