Sam Fields: When Is A Charity Not So Charitable?

 

 

 

BY SAM FIELDS

 

 

 

If you’ve watched television in the last five years, I guarantee you’ve seen ads with children suffering birth defects raising money for Shriners hospitals

I am also sure you’ve seen Marlo Thomas pitching fundraising for St Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Tennessee which was founded by her late father Danny Thomas a nightclub entertainer who also did sitcoms.

[Fun fact: Danny Thomas was the original owner of the Miami Dolphins until he sold his shares to his junior partner Joe Robbie]

I’m equally sure you’ve seen ads for Kars4Kids with the earworm played by super cute children on fake instruments.

 

 

 

 

The message is simple.  Instead of selling your car or trading it in to buy a new one, take a tax deduction by donating it to Kars4Kids.

Nothing in the ad tells you specifically where the money is going. A reasonable assumption might be that it is Juvenile Diabetes, leukemia, homelessness, birth defects, etc.

NO, NO, NO and NO.

Kars4kids is a fundraising passthrough for an organization called Oorah. The group, along with Kars4Kids, was founded by an ultra-Orthodox rabbi named Chaim Mintz from New Jersey.  It’s sole purpose is to proselytize secular and reform Jews to become Orthodox or ultra-Orthodox.

Nothing in their ads mentions that.

While its fundraising is nationwide, it does little work outside of the New York and New Jersey area. It appears to be only for Jews.

As a result, the Attorneys General in Oregon and Minnesota have fined them for misleading advertisements.

Charity Navigator, which is the gold standard for evaluating charities, gives them a less than stellar rating.  Overall, they get two stars out of four and their “Financial” rating received one star.

They are lucky they got one star.  Their 2018 IRS 990 form shows they took in $65,000,000 and their overhead was more than half of that with $21,000,000 going to those annoying ads. Their 2017 filing was no better.

So what is the moral of this story? To make a buck charities can be as misleading as a used car salesman.

So, what should you do?

Check out charities on Charity Navigator and Google.  Start with Kars4Kids before dipping into your pocket. You’ll feel better about where your money goes…or doesn’t go.

 



4 Responses to “Sam Fields: When Is A Charity Not So Charitable?”

  1. Jack Cory says:

    Thank you Sam!
    Happy normal New Year.

  2. Swamp, what swamp? says:

    This scheme sounds vaguely familiar. It has several parallels to the methods used by politicians to divert money from real issues to pet project and lobbyist funding sources. Case in point, the Covid relief bill fiasco.
    Foreign governments will receive more substantial dollars than American workers and businesses. Who taught who the trick?

  3. Old Timet says:

    Finally … you posted something productive.

  4. Patti Lynn says:

    Thank you, Sam.
    Happy New Year.

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