Nonprofit Newswire | Feed the Children: Donations Increase Even as Organization’s Problems Exposed

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April 23, 2010; The Oklahoman | Donations were up at Oklahoma-based Feed the Children for the year ending June 30, 2009 despite a series of high profile questions of accountability that led the American Institute of Philanthropy to name FC as the “Most Outrageous Charity” of the year in 2009. The organization’s problems are often characterized as the result of a power struggle between founder Larry Jones and his daughter. Contributions, according to the group’s 990 report, totaled $1.192 billion which constituted a $14 million dollar increase over the year previous. Cash donations, however, totaled a bit over $123 million of which $63 million was spent on fundraising. According to AIP which had some scathing things to say on its website about their fellow watchdog organizations with regards to this charity, “Based on FC’s most recently available financial statements for fiscal 2008, only 21 to 23 percent of its cash budget was spent on program services and $63 to $65 was spent to raise each $100 cash contribution. In 2008 about 54% of FC’s cash budget of $125 million was spent on “television and radio,” “direct mail,” and “direct mail postage” according to its audit of the same year.” It will be interesting to see what happens with their fundraising this year in the wake of the November firing of the 68 year old Larry Jones (after he had, according to his board, bugged three of the organization’s offices among other things). Will the proportion of its budget spent on its very lucrative fundraising change, for instance? Subsequent to Jones’ separation (after 3 decades of service), FC has continued to be in the news with legal suits by former board members, charges leveled by Jones against the organization, and an investigative report by CBS news that claimed FC had overstated its aid to earthquake damaged Haiti.—Ruth McCambridge

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  • Linda Strohl

    My husband had dealings with Feed the Children in Los Angeles in the early and mid 90s and the overhead and fundraising costs even then were outrageous. Not at all a result of any power struggle between founder and family members.