Published on April 19th, 2013 | by Pilot8
Follow The Money Part Three: Sandy Hook Charities Answer Attorney General Questionnaire
This article discusses some of the survey results requested by the CT Attorney General of the Charities collecting funds for Sandy Hook/Newtown in response to the events of 12/14/12.
On March 28th, the Connecticut Attorney General George Jepson and the Department of Consumer Protection sent out a survey to the many charitable organizations collecting funds on behalf of victims of the Sandy Hook event. Participation in the survey was completely voluntary and basically asked the questions “How much have you collected?”, “How much have you disbursed so far?” and “What are your plans for the remainder?”
Sandy Hook Charities Answer Attorney General Questionnaire
Read the text of the survey here.
The respondents had a deadline of April 12th to complete and return the survey, and as of this writing, 20 of the charities have not complied:
The American Red Cross, Angels of Sandy Hook Elementary, Connecticut Bar Foundation, Kevin’s Community Center, Mr Carl Schwarz, National Philanthropic Trust, Newtown Family Recovery Fund, Newtown Strong/Newtown Proud, Newtown Victim’s Relief Fund, Newtown Women’s Club, Nourish Newtown, Sandy Hook Angel’s Fund, Sandy Hook Art Center for Kids, Sandy Hook Elementary Memorial Fund, Sandy Hook Elementary Memorial Scholarship Fund, Spike’s Ride for Sandy Hook, Strides For Sandy Hook Memorial Run, The Graceful Planet Moving Center, The Taunton Press Newtown Children and Families Fund, The Toy Tree, and The United Way of Milford.
You can read the results from all the respondents here.
Things are a bit tangled behind the scenes. Where to begin? I suppose all human endeavors eventually come to the point of resembling a living system, in the way that a map of the internet resembles the neural pathways of a brain, so it should be no surprise that there appears to be some web-like complexity with regard to all that freaking money.
My personal favorite, the Fairfield County Community Foundation, with it’s net assets of 150 million dollars, raised $608,274.76 for Sandy Hook, and have disbursed 10 grants to non-profits in Newtown totaling $33,745.00. It is unclear if that was 10 grants of $3,374.50 each, or some other more random amounts. The FCCF is somewhat vague as to where they plan to give the remaining $574,529.76, they mention mental health grants for the future, as do several of the different funds. I’m sure there are young, enterprising recent grads with CSW’s in hand making their way to Sandy Hook, a veritable boom town for mental health professionals.
The United Way of Western CT has 3 different categories for Sandy Hook: The Immediate Needs Fund ($320,000) School Support Fund (11 million) and The Workers Assistance Fund ($21,000 sent to the State Treasurer for disbursement) The big Fund, the 11 million dollar whopper, has apparently been handed over to an entity referred to as The Foundation. That would be The Newtown Sandy Hook Foundation. It appears on the list of survey respondents as well. They have not spent a dime of it so far, and are meeting with the families, first responders, etc. to “get their thoughts on the distribution process”.
The Hartford Marathon 5k Run for Sandy Hook collected $448,428 and turned it over to the UWWC School Support Fund. Newtown Rotary raised $711,134 for Sandy Hook, and have to date disbursed $103,702, to guess who? If you guessed “through a joint program with The United Way of Western Connecticut”, you would be correct . They paid for mental health services and provided financial support to applicants. The Immediate Needs Fund seems to be the most active in terms of actually spending money, they list several donations to various therapeutic, first responder needs, even $8k for a community wide vigil (who knew vigils had gotten so pricey?!)
Sandy Hook School PTA/CTPTSA/Victims Relief Fund brought in a very respectable $800,000, of which they have thus far spent $5,000 on moving the school. Their future plans for the rest of the funds are “to be used to enhance the lives and learning of students through classroom and community based programs, resources and enrichment and to support efforts focused on rebuilding and strengthening our Sandy Hook school community”. Key word: enrichment.
I have to stop and consider what it must be like to have such a huge influx of cash pouring in to such a small town. A small town in the richest county in the US, where the median income is around 100k. It reminds me of this joke somebody played on Michael J Fox. He was asked to do a voice over for an underprivileged children’s charity and handed a script. After the recording, they led him to a room where he could view the tape he was over dubbing. The film showed clips of a bunch of well turned out white kids running around at a country club playing tennis, horseback riding, croquet, etc. A moderate level of hilarity ensued.
It would be unthinkable to leave out Sandy Hook Promise, the foundation formerly known as Newtown United. Of all the surveys I had the great pleasure of perusing, the Promise’s was the one that most resembled a press release, obviously prepared by one of the marketing gurus guiding the organization. You would think that ‘gun violence’ is the single most pressing issue facing the world today. Never mind about all that Monsanto poisoning your food business, or even the endless wars waged across the globe, pollution, nuclear accidents, climate change, comet-freaking-ISON, forget all that mess…ending “gun violence” is the key to unlocking our utopian future.
(By the way, could someone tell me, what “gun violence” is exactly? Does that include deliberately dropping a gun on someone’s toe? I mean, that would hurt, right?)
The Promise has raised approximately $600,000, and plans to use it for gun control lobbying, as they have been all along. They also claim that they are committed to “research, public education and healing communities impacted by gun violence.” They say they have spent $200,000 toward the stated mission. That’s all fine and dandy, however, we are not really privy to what any of the money is being spent on. Not without bank statements and receipts. We have their word only. This was a an exercise in keeping the public from thinking that they were being ripped off.
I hope those of you interested in following the money will take a look at the linked surveys and share your thoughts with us.