[Nfbmo] More on Heritage for the Blind

Gary Wunder gwunder at earthlink.net
Tue Oct 29 22:18:07 UTC 2013

Hello, Dan. Thank you for sending this to the list. I read the information
you sent, and if this is in fact Heritage for the Blind, perhaps we have
more of a case than we thought. We have looked at this before and have
concluded that, while it is highly unethical, it may not be illegal.
Certainly ABC news does not claim to verify the accuracy of all of its
commercials. Heritage for the Blind runs commercials here at least six times
a day. Gene Coulter has verified that the number called can lead to several
different numbers.

As far as I can tell the only thing they do is operate a website which, in
turn, makes referrals to other websites and uses the publications of other
organizations. I think that what Jim's friend says is quite correct about
the fact that you can enjoy tax-exempt status based on the proclaimed
purpose of your organization and not on any in-depth study about how your
organization's funds are spent. Of course, I should observe here that a
number of people would complain if the Internal Revenue Service focused more
on the objectives of the organization. Some of you will remember that they
are currently in trouble for showing bias against very liberal and very
conservative organizations, the thought seeming to be that the mission
statement should be the only thing used to determine whether or not an
organization should be tax exempt.

I don't really know where to take this now. The best information I get is
that what they are doing is not against the law. If we could cause the
Missouri Atty. Gen. to have a different view, this probably would be a good
thing for blind people and for those wanting to donate to us. The
unfortunate consequence of this kind of activity, however, is that it
subjects all of us to extra scrutiny and this scrutiny translates into extra
time we have to spend making sure that we document the good that we do. You
may remember that a disgruntled woman who was once one of our members
reported to the Atty. Gen. that we raised money only to give gifts to
ourselves. It turns out that her allegation revolved around the fact that,
instead of giving flowers to those in the hospital, we were taking the money
we would have spent on them and giving it as a gift card. We had to
demonstrate to the Atty. Gen. that these expenditures represented a small
percentage of our program services and that we were not raising money for
the purpose of giving it to ourselves.

I welcome your ideas.


-----Original Message-----
From: Nfbmo [mailto:nfbmo-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of DanFlasar at aol.com
Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 9:19 PM
To: nfbmo at nfbnet.org
Subject: [Nfbmo] More on Heritage for the Blind

Hi all,
     I've been following through on the "Heritage for  the Blind" issue and 
found that it is only one instance of a large group of  similarly unknown 
'charities' all related to a New Jersey religious sect called  the Oorah in 
New Jersey.  I'm sending a link that refers to a St. Louis  Post-Dispatch 
story from last year which details a lot about Oorah based ona  deceptive 
charity called "Kars4Kids".  The New York Attorney General  identified
for the Blind" as being another front for the Oorah  sect.  As the article 
below notes, donations to these websites  have little if any relation to 
services for the blind.  
   Note that all these false charities seem to all have IRS  certification 
for their non-profit status, but there are numerous stories from  the Better

Business Bureau noting that they received little or no requested  
information from these 'charities'.  The question is, what do we do  about
it?  I 
don't think we need to spend any money, get any lawyers  or anything like
but a note to the Attorney General might make a  difference.   And to the 
point, since this is a national problem, is  it something the national NFB 
should get involved in?  Should the NFB call  out "Heritage for the Blind"
a fraud, and if so, how?
    Here's the link - it's a pretty disheartening  story.
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