Positive comments posted here clearly indicate that the authors are not native English speakers. Obviously these must be posted by members of the Planet Aid group, which is part of the pan-European cult that is Humana People to People (as others have indicated). This method is a clear sign that this is a creepy organization. Read this part of the organization's charter if you want to get more of a sense of how weird it is
Whoever wrote the positive comments posted here went to the same ESL school as those who wrote this charter.
Please visit these updated links to important information about Planet Aid.
FBI file mentioning Planet Aid as a Tvind/Teachers Group organization in the USA can be found at:
Boston Globe article mentioning Planet Aid can be found at: http://www.culteducation.com/reference/tvind/tvind46.html
Five top leaders of the Tvind/Teachers Group, which is the controlling body behind Planet Aid and its sister organizations/commercial companies in the USA, are wanted by Danish authorities and Interpol on charges of aggravated embezzlement and tax fraud. Their names can be found at these links:
Amdi Petersen: http://tinyurl.com/mgyvqt7
Kirsten Larsen: http://tinyurl.com/lrmtvjf
Marlene Gunst: http://tinyurl.com/k9p288s
Christie Pipps: http://tinyurl.com/mwqltw2
Sten Byrner: http://tinyurl.com/m2d3mgm
Please research Planet Aid carefully! I personally would never donate to it.
My review (August 2012) bears repeating. Planet Aid is a scam. The glowing positives that some have written here seem to be part of an orchestrated effort by Planet Aid to divert attention away from its "F" charity ratings by Charity Watch, and extensive negative media coverage. Planet Aid has not had thrift shops for years, so I would like to ask some of the reviewers who have commented on the good quality of clothes they purchased, WHERE they went to buy them?! And when? Given what I know about this organization and its affiliates here in the USA and abroad, I personally would not donate so much as a shoe to Planet Aid. The little money it ships overseas to Humana People to People is money down a black hole. There should be a full-scale investigation of Planet Aid et al by the FBI, DOJ, IRS, US Immigration and Customs Service, state attorneys general offices and others.
This organization is NOT committed to transparency. It is part of the Tvind/Teachers Group global conglomerate of shady businesses, which include a number of interlinked non-profits that operate under the general banner of Humana People to People. In the USA, the non-profits include Planet Aid, Gaia, IICD (Institute for International Cooperation and Development; there are two IICDs--one in Mass and one in Mich) and CCTG (Campus California Teachers Group). Two of the better-known Tvind/TG for-profits in the USA are U'SAgain and Garson and Shaw. Planet Aid works "cooperatively" with all to expand one of the major business lines of the TG: the collection and sale of "donated" used clothes. The Tvind/TG is regarded by scholars and a few governments (e.g., France) as a cult, and is well known in Denmark (where it originated) and throughout Scandinavia and Europe. You simply need to google Planet Aid scam, and you will find many articles addressing different aspects of this organization. Here is one: http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2011/12/06/charity-watchdog-accuses-planet-aid-of-misleading-its-donors/ Here is a link to the FBI file on the Tvind/TG and Amdi Petersen (or Pedersen), the topmost Tvind/TG leader who, along with seven other TG members, stood trial in Denmark in 2003 on charges of fraud and serious economic crime: http://www.tvindalert.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/FBI-file-on-Tvind-2001-pg-1-3.pdf Although only one leader was found guilty (of diverting six million dollars from a TG-created "Humanitarian Fund" for purchase of a luxury condo-- located on Fisher Island near Miami--for Amdi and his girlfriend), another leader was tried again in a higher court, found guilty on several charges of bilking the Humanitarian Fund and sentenced to several years in prison. During sentencing of Poul Jorgensen, the judges stressed the systematic nature of the crimes planned by members of the TG, not just by one rogue member (my term, not their's). Now, Amdi Petersen and several others are wanted AGAIN to stand trial in Denmark. They are thought to be hiding at the lavishly appointed Tvind/TG compound in Mexico, or at the TG-owned farm in Zimbabwe where the Humana People to People Federation HQ is located. Where is Planet Aid in this? As the Danish deputy prosecutor was quoted as saying about TG-led groups: ''They are in operation all over Europe and they are very active in the US, especially on the East Coast,'' said Poul Gode, a deputy prosecutor in Denmark's Division of Serious Economic Crimes, part of the Justice Ministry. ''There is no doubt in my mind that Amdi is linked to Planet Aid in Massachusetts. ... The charges against Amdi are not focused on what is happening with Planet Aid, but the people involved are the same.'' Here is a link the Boston Globe article on Planet Aid, which mentions Gode's remarks. http://www.rickross.com/reference/tvind/tvind46.html The US public and concerned government authorities should ask plenty of questions (and do their background research!) about all of the Tvind/TG used clothes businesses operating in the USA, including and especially Planet Aid. Planet Aid and its affiliated groups are not fulfilling even the basic criteria for receipt of 501c3 non-profit status. They are highly sophisticated scams, raking in millions of tax-free dollars. I have personally witnessed the so-called humanitarian work of some of the Humana People to People projects overseas (in Africa). Judging by the poor quality of what I saw (and filed complaints about), the charitable dollars claimed by Planet Aid and company to be going to support HPP projects are NOT. Neither were the projects I saw competently run. Planet Aid is mainly investing in itself and the Tvind/TG. Beneath the veneer of respectability-- largely derived from well-orchestrated self-promotion--Planet Aid continues to deny, distort and disguise many truths about its leaders, structure, affiliations, practices and purpose. Transparent? Accountable? Certainly not!
Review from Guidestar
Planet Aid does a lot to support development projects that help individuals and communities from all of the world improve the condition of their lives, including strengthening and organizing communities, reducing poverty, expanding sustainable local food production, increasing health awareness and encouraging healthy lifestyles, and so on. They does the greatest things for people!
Review from Guidestar
The method Planet Aid uses is an amazing way to help the world especially the people from the third world and the environment. By selling the second hand clothes people donate to Planet Aid, they use the money to process kinds of charity projects to help people build their life. It both recycles the used clothing and aids the people who need supports.
Review from Guidestar
I have heard only bad things about this organization, for example:
Strange, but all of the 41 positive reviews here seem to have been written by the same person. All were posted in 2013, and all are about 30 to 40 words in length. Furthermore, the usernames are similar, most consisting of a first and last name in lower case, with some of these followed by three numerals. They are also written in a similar style, with most of them raving about a Planet Aid thrift shop.
But the really strange part is that Planet Aid hasn’t run any thrift stores since about 2005! Take a look for yourself:
I also found this Examiner.com article from 2009 that says “Planet Aid no longer has any stores in the United States, although a few stores did exist in the Boston area.” (next to last paragraph) http://tinyurl.com/muheehz
This is kind of creepy when you think about it. What on earth is going on here? I encourage folks to phone Planet Aid at either its Elkridge, Md. headquarters [(410) 796-1510] or its Milford, Mass. administrative offices [(508) 893-0644] and ask why apparently 40 reviewers on Great Nonprofits are, in 2013, raving about Planet Aid thrift shops that closed eight years ago! If you get a hold of anyone there and they talk to you, please post their response on this page.
Also please scroll back through the longer, 'real' reviews here, and read what ‘marianonprofit’, ‘tsomekwas’ and ‘kris in ks’ have to say. I don't understand everything they talk about, but obviously, they’ve researched Planet Aid a lot.
Reading the last eleven reviews here, it's painfully obvious that they were all written by the same person, who seems to have also written many of the older reviews. A Planet Aid employee or some hired hack is trying to flood this page with lots of glowing little blurbs in an attempt to bury the few real, longer reviews voicing legitimate concerns about this controversial nonprofit.
A dead giveaway: Planet Aid hasn't operated any clothing shops since around 2005! So how could all these reviewers "in here" be raving about shops that closed down 8 years ago?
Prosecutors in Denmark have linked Planet Aid with an alleged cult called the Tvind Teachers Group, whose leaders are wanted in their native Denmark in connection with a multimillion-dollar tax fraud and embezzlement scheme.
Beware Planet Aid. It may not be what it appears to be.
I laughed when “michellecoates918” declared that “Going in [a Planet Aid shop] feels like a time travel.” Yes, you’d just about need the DeLorean in “Back to the Future” to visit a Planet Aid store, because, as “kris” and “maria” correctly point out, the non-profit hasn’t operated such shops since around 2003!
I think that most of the positive reviews here were written by the same person, whose ability to come up with convincing fake usernames lacks a certain, well, je ne sais quoi.
As “maria” says, the controversies surrounding Planet Aid can be easily found online, which would explain the company’s desire to bury all the substantive unfavorable reports with fluffy superlatives.
Last December, USA Today reported that only 28% of Planet Aid’s spending went to its international aid programs in 2011, while most of the remainder went to collect and process clothes for recycling. That low percentage earned Planet Aid an “F” from ratings organization CharityWatch:
A charitable spending ratio of 28% is decidedly too low, but the actual figure may be even lower than that. In its 2009 investigation, WTTG News in Washington DC examined Planet Aid’s then most recent tax records and noticed many of the charities Planet Aid claims to support have the *same address*. A list of South African charities was shown in example. But the South African Embassy told WTTG that those groups are NOT registered charities.
WTTG’s investigation found that ALL of the charities listed in Planet Aid’s most recent tax returns are controlled by the same parent organization: a group called International Humana People to People Movement, which, according to its own web-site, *also* controls Planet Aid: http://www.humana.org/Members/usa
Furthermore, prosecutors in Denmark have linked Planet Aid and Humana People to People to an alleged cult called the Tvind Teachers Group (“Tvind” or “TG” for short). Top TG leaders are international fugitives wanted in their native Denmark in connection with a multimillion-dollar tax-fraud and embezzlement scheme.
(NOTE: Whether by its longer name or the shortened version, Humana People to People is NOT affiliated with the American health insurer called Humana.)
Although Planet Aid denies any connection to Tvind, the company admits that out of its 250 employees, “less than 5 percent” belong to the group. I wonder, though, whether or not that 5% all happen to hold upper-level management positions at Planet Aid!
My opinion: steer well clear of this company.
Here are the WTTG News reports from 2009:
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EES1_R-SoKs
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKAPDK0qR6U
A 2001 court document (translated into English by the Danish government) from The Public Prosecutor for Serious Economic Crime, in Denmark. In the document, at p. 31, Planet Aid is mentioned as being part of Tvind. Humana People to People first appears on p. 4: http://www.rickross.com/reference/tvind/tvind46.pdf
“Marianonprofit” is correct, in my opinion. Planet Aid has indeed attracted a storm of media criticism for its very questionable business practices as well as its close ties with an alleged cult from Denmark — the Tvind Teachers Group, whose top leaders are currently Interpol fugitives wanted in connection with a multimillion-dollar tax-fraud and embezzlement scheme.
Here are a few additional reports on Planet Aid:
1) WTTG/Fox-5 News in Washington DC; 2009:
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EES1_R-SoKs
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKAPDK0qR6U
2) The Bay Weekly newspaper; Annapolis, MD; 2009: http://bayweekly.com/old-site/year09/issue_45/lead_1.html
3) The Better Business Bureau; 2008: http://youngstown.bbb.org/article/planet-aid-donations-are-not-staying-in-the-valley-6508
4) The Boston Globe, 2002:
5) San Diego Reader, 2010 (Report about Tvind): http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2010/feb/03/cover-mysterious-danish-exotic-compound-baja/#
Please research before you donate or volunteer.
This is a heads-up for those of you who are reading these comments and hoping to find honest reviews of Planet Aid's work. There can be no such thing because Planet Aid's only function is to take money from the American public and funnel it to other operations overseas. From there small amounts of the funds are used for charitable works, but the bulk of the cash is transferred to affiliated companies, financial institutions, “consultants”, and the main membership organisation known as The Federation for Associations connected to the International Humana People to People Movement...all of this is known collectively as Tvind or the Teachers Group. The heads of all Tvind entities, whether it be one of their charities, or their clothing broker (Garson and Shaw in the USA), or their main financial foundation (Faelleseje in Denmark), are all Teachers Group members...every one of them.
I find it interesting, and rather pathetic, that there are “reviews” mentioning the wonders of Planet Aid's clothing stores...likely written by the same person, and more likely told to do so. If their most recent audit can be trusted (2011) Planet Aid hasn't operated clothing stores for over a decade. So why these comments? Simple...internet searches of Planet Aid yield more negative press than what they care the public to know. To counter these effects, “positive” info is flooded wherever possible, such as this site where reviews are allowed without monitoring. In other words, Planet Aid, or hired guns, can say what they want for as many times as they want...all positive and glowing with little facts to get in the way.
I've researched Planet Aid, and the Tvind/Teachers Group, for several years. I've studied their structure, their mindset, their history, and their motivation....my humble opinion is that it's all about the money. But this is a free country, and we are all allowed to donate where we choose. Just be aware that when you give your used clothing to Planet Aid your donations will likely be churned into money for an elite few members of the Tvind Teachers Group with a very small amount going to the poor in foreign countries. When you donate to a local charity like a church, a homeless shelter, Goodwill, or the Salvation Army, you will be helping the poor neighbors in your community. It's your choice. Make it the right one.
I just love donating my clothes in here, and I told my friends to do the same. Donating to Planet Aid feels like doing the best you can to help others.