Thursday, April 25, 2013

What Is Wrong With This Charity...Everything

by Gary Snyder
Sarasota (FL) Police have started a criminal fraud investigation into the embattled Prescription Addiction Really Kills Foundation. The nonprofit, which uses the acronym PARK.

Some very elementary practices were overlooked by board members and donors:

The founder faked her credentials: Linda Ballou, who stressed her medical experience while courting donors, obtained her doctorate from a diploma mill. Two universities she claimed had awarded her advanced degrees had no record of her receiving any academic credentials. She has touted an “extensive medical background,” including decades of work as a registered nurse in surgeries, delivery rooms and a psychiatric facility, she told the newspaper she never had a nursing license, and worked as a certified nursing assistant, or CNA.

Efficacy of her nonprofitdespite constant fundraising, PARK offered no viable programs to the community.

There were no background checks: The Herald-Tribune revealed that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused Ballou in 2001 of playing a role in a multistate Ponzi scheme by a Florida company that bilked investors out of millions of dollars.

Board members did not attend meetingsState Attorney Ed Brodsky, who serves on PARK's board, said: “I have never attended a board meeting, and do not plan to attend this week's meeting,”

Had Board members that were prominent, but did not exercise due diligenceBeside having one of the regulators of charities on its board, other board members included treasurer Dan M. Smith, a certified public accountant and tax manager and board member Robert W. Browning Jr., a Sarasota attorney.

Nonprofit Imperative gathers its information principally from public documents...some of which are directly quoted. Virtually all cited are in some phase of criminal proceedings; some have not been charged, however. Cites in various media: Featured in print, broadcast, and online media outlets, including: Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, B, USA Today Topics,, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times...and many more Nonprofits: On the Brink (2006) Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (2011)
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