(DES MOINES, Iowa) An unregistered Indiana professional fundraising company has agreed to stop soliciting Iowans after Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller entered into a settlement with the company.
The Campaign Center, Inc. (TCC), a fundraising corporation based in Bloomington, Indiana, and its President and C.E.O., Jonathan Wright, agreed to stop soliciting charitable contributions from Iowans. The company is not registered in Iowa as a professional commercial fundraiser, as required by law. TCC also agreed to pay the state $10,000 as part of the settlement.
Last November, TCC called an Iowa resident to solicit a donation on behalf of a purported charity, based in Sarasota, Florida, called the Children’s Charity Fund, Inc. A TCC employee, whose phone call was recorded, falsely implied that she was directly associated with Children’s Charity Fund. The solicitor claimed the call was part of a holiday drive, when in fact these solicitation calls occur throughout the year.
The solicitor indicated that donated funds would be used in Iowa, which was not true. The solicitor also falsely claimed that at least half of the money would go to the charity. Under TCC’s financial agreement with Children’s Charity Fund at the time of the call, only 20 percent or less of TCC’s solicited funds were forwarded to Children’s Charity Fund. In fact, of every dollar contributed to Children’s Charity Fund through a CCF solicitation, only about a penny helps disabled children.
According to “Charity Navigator,” a respected non-profit charity rating organization, in fiscal year 2008 Children’s Charity Fund committed less than six percent of its revenues to charitable purposes and received Charity Navigator’s lowest ranking.
“Any reasonable Iowan would think twice about giving to this charity if they knew all the facts, including how much money was going to the kids who really need it,” said Attorney General Tom Miller. “Only a penny to needy kids for every dollar donated is just not acceptable.”
As part of the agreement, called an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, TCC and Jonathan Wright deny wrongdoing or liability of any kind. Any future willful violation(s) will result in the maximum civil penalty of $40,000 per violation.
“Professional fundraisers must be licensed and above board with the generous Iowans they’re soliciting,” said Miller. “If not, then we’re going to go after them.”
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