groundzero
by Ali Berman
Categories: Causes, People.
Photo: pnoeric

During a great tragedy, Americans are known for their generosity. They open up their wallets and donate to nonprofits that are skilled in working to right whatever wrong that has taken place. And the vast majority of those nonprofits do an exemplary job. Sadly though, there are more than a few bad apples out there.

The Associated Press did an investigation and looked into how donated funds were handled, and if the organizations had achieved their goals nearly ten years later.

Turns out, some people professing to do good, took advantage and lined their own pockets instead.

The AP said in their article, “But in virtually every category of 9/11 nonprofit, an AP analysis of tax documents and other official records uncovered schemes beset with shady dealings, questionable expenses and dubious intentions. Many of those still raising money are small, founded by people with no experience running a nonprofit.”

While some charities simply failed to complete the act of remembrance they were raising money for, like making a huge quilt ($700,000) or building a garden at ground zero ($200,000), others didn’t even file how much money was donated on their taxes.

The organization Urban Life Ministries raised over 4 million dollars to assist victims and first responders, however, the organization only noted $670,000 on their tax forms and failed to account for how the money was spent. That offense lost them their tax exempt status this year.

They weren’t alone. A few dozen charities lost their nonprofit status over their failure to accurately account for the donations.

Some offenders were a little craftier than others, like The Flag of Honor Fund. They raised almost $140,000 to promote a memorial flag that listed the names of each of the victims who perished the day of the attacks. The flag is available for purchase at Walmart. Doesn’t sound so bad? Well, only a tiny amount of the money raised from the flag goes to the fund. Also, the owner of the for-profit flag company who is making money off of these memorial flags is the same guy who created the flag charity. Sure, no conflict there at all.

Via AP

About Ali Berman

Ali Berman is a writer, teacher and activist. She works as a humane educator for HEART teaching kids about issues affecting people, animals and the environment. Ali is also a fiction writer. Her published work can be found on her website at aliberman.com. In early 2012 Ali co-founded flipmeover, a production company with the mission to use media to raise awareness of social issues.

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