Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Charity Wednesday - American Children's Charities

We have received 81 calls in the past two weeks from donors wanting more information about American Children's Society.  I thought it prudent to use this blog to explain to the public what we know about this charity.

American Children's Society (ACS) is an organization that works in eight states (AL, FL,KS, MO, NJ, NY, PA, and TX).  It's primary program is the Auto Donation Program, which it claims on its website to have run for the past 10 years. According to its 2009 IRS Form 990, it's program expenses consist mostly of the transport, repair, and storage of donated vehicles. Also according to the 2009 IRS Form 990, it pays a third-party business to solicit, process, and sell donated vehicles.   A much smaller program provides assitance to families of ill and deceased children.

The National BBB Charity Review Program, known as the Wise Giving Alliance, has sent ACS repeated requests for information, but the organization has chosen not to respond. Charities have the right not to disclose their information to us, but we feel that failure to disclose information demonstrates a lack of commitment to transparency.

American Children's Society suggests that donors check out their 990 tax forms on Guidestar.org.  I encourage all donors to carefully read any organization's most recent IRS Form 990 before making a major donation to a charity that chooses not to otherwise disclose its information. 

For more advice on donating an automobile or other vehicle, check out the BBB's Tips on Giving.

2 comments:

  1. Help people, let's unite for one good cause, be a volunteer"save live"!
    mawaddainternationalaid

    ReplyDelete
  2. BBB PLEASE SEE THE LETTER BELOW AND STOP TELLING PEOPLE WE REFUSED TO ANSWERS YOUR REQUESTS!


    May 30, 2009


    Mr. Bennett M. Weiner, Chief Operating Officer

    BBB Wise Giving Alliance

    4200 Wilson Blvd. Suite 800

    Arlington, VA 22203


    Re: Solicitation to join


    Dear Mr. Weiner:


    We greatly appreciate your invitation to join your program but after a lengthy conversation with your Ms. Waifo we must respectfully decline.


    Ms. Waifo was very informative and fully explained what your requirements were. She advised us that the cost of our becoming a fully approved member would be $2000.00 per year. Considering the state of the today’s economy and the scarcity of funds, we are trying our best to assist every family we possibly can. Here at the American Children’s Society, we feel our hard earned funds could be used in a manner more suited to our charitable purpose such as assisting a family in need rather than on a “seal” to be used on our letterhead. I am sure you are thinking that the American Children’s Society does not understand that this is for potential donors to get information before donating. Please be assured we fully understand your purpose. We believe that our $2000.00 per year could be better used to cover funeral costs of a child that has passed away from Cancer or some other illness than for your “dues”. If a potential donor has a question, our telephones are answered by a member of our staff 24 hours a day 365 days a year.


    We have been in business for almost 10 years. During that time we have solely relied on our own efforts to raise funds through our auto donation program. We have received very minimal cash contributions. Although they are greatly appreciated, we have learned to sustain our programs through our own means. I can not justify putting the needs of a child with a serious illness on hold to give $2000 a year to your charity that provides only “information” to people. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics there are over 1,500,000 non profit organizations in the United States. By your own admission you state you report on only 1200 of them. It appears we are not alone in our decision.


    We, as well as most charities, are already audited and monitored by the Division of Consumer Affairs and the Secretary of State’s Office in several states and our information and tax returns are a matter of public record. All things considered, to do it with your company may be somewhat redundant.


    We would request that in the future, when a potential donor makes an inquiry of your organization in regard to the American Children’s Society, you will inform them that we respectfully decline to join your organization and cite the reasons stated above and NOT that we refuse to answer your requests. You may feel free to give them our 24/7 telephone number 800-380-4380 or refer them to our website: www.childrenscharities.com. We will be checking.


    This letter as well as a copy of your letter will be posted on our website.


    Very truly yours,


    The American Children’s Society, Inc.


    Justin Lloyd, Secretary

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