Feed The Children

Feed The Children

Feed The Children founded in 1979 is a Christian, international, non-profit relief organization, whose stated mission is "to deliver food, medicine, clothing and other necessities to individuals, children and families who lack these essentials due to famine, war, poverty or natural disaster". Last year, Feed The Children shipped 183 million pounds of food and other essentials to children and families in all 50 states and internationally. During its 27 year history, Feed The Children has worked in 118 countries around the globe. [ [http://www.feedthechildren.org/downloads/accountability/FTC_2005AnnualReport.pdf "Feed The Children Annual Report and Audited Financials"] ]

Feed The Children is currently the ninth largest charity in the United States, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, based on private support. [ [http://philanthropy.com/press/philanthropy400.pdf "The Chronicle of Philanthropy: The Philanthropy 400 Report"] ] Feed the Children is headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Feed The Children has earned a two-star rating from Charity Navigator. [ [http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm/bay/search.summary/orgid/3691.htm "Charity Navigator Profile"] ] Additionally, it meets all of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance's Standards for Charity Accountability. [ [http://charityreports.give.org/Public/Report.aspx?CharityID=524 "Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance"] ]

It received an F rating, however, from the American Institute of Philanthropy [ [http://www.charitywatch.org/ Charity Watch] ] (AIP), reporting that only 18% of its cash goes to provide services, and 60% goes for direct mail, TV, and other promotional activities. AIP notes that Feed the Children refuses to disclose details about what and to whom it provides any services. It also reports that at one point the charity served up fake audits.

Disaster Relief

When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005, Feed The Children self-reported sending over 600 semi tractor-trailers—totaling more than 14 million pounds of donated food and relief supplies. Between the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and the South Asian tsunami in December 2004, Feed The Children self-reported sending more than 31 million pounds of food and relief supplies to the affected regions.

U.S. Programs

Feed The Children’s domestic programs are focused on distributing essential items to needy families. Corporate partners donate surplus food and other supplies. Feed The Children's wholly-owned for-profit subsidiary, FTC Transportation, Inc., picks up in-kind contributions from corporate warehouses and brings them to one of five Feed The Children regional distribution centers. The supplies and boxes are then delivered to pre-approved, independent partner agencies that, in turn, distribute the supplies through over 50,000 feeding centers, homeless shelters, churches and various other organizations located in communities across the U.S. [ [http://www.hoovers.com/free/co/factsheet.xhtml?COID=110136&cm_ven=PAID&cm_cat=OVR&cm_pla=CO3&cm_ite=feed_the_child Hoovers Fact Sheet] ] In December 2006, Jones and Feed the Children, conducted the largest one day food distribution effort in New York City on 138th Street in Harlem, along with the American Bible Society and the Abyssinian Baptist Church. Over 10,000 families received a refrigerator full of food before Christmas.

International Programs

Feed The Children's international programs focus on providing food, medical assistance, emergency relief and sustainable development. Recent international efforts include the Frances Jones Abandoned Baby Center in Nairobi, Kenya, which provides medical treatment and safe haven for children who have been orphaned or abandoned by poverty and the AIDS epidemic. Other international projects funded by Feed The Children include medical mission trips and Builders for Children. Builders for Children provides volunteer construction labor for underdeveloped regions of Central America, Africa, Eastern Europe and South America. Another example of an internation project funded by Feed the Children is the "Casa del Niño" (House of the child) in Barrio Ingles, La Ceiba, Honduras.

Financial Accountability & Criticism

In 2005, an alleged 89% of Feed The Children’s budget went to program services (childcare, food, medical, disaster relief, education and community development). Eight percent went to fund raising and three percent went to management and supporting services. Additional information about Feed The Children’s accountability practices, including an Annual Report, Audited Financials and IRS Form 990 may be downloaded [http://www.feedthechildren.org/site/PageServer?pagename=org_financial_accountability here] .

Accountability Questions

There is another viewpoint and statement of the percentages used for program services, at CharityWatch.org, specifically, "Feed the Children (FC), an AIP F-rated charity that spends only 18% of its cash budget on program services and spends 60% on direct mail and television and radio ads". There are in-kind donations which may be outside of this number, but may also be rather insignificant or even worthless nutritionally. A summary of such questions and forged audits is available through Charity Watch [http://www.charitywatch.org/articles/feedchildren.html here] . As goods are delivered by a wholly-owned for-profit subsidiary, FTC Transportation, there is the possibility of channelling donated funds as fees to the FTC Transportation Inc. owners at an inappropriate rate.

At Feed the Children (FTC) employees are required to sign a confidentiality agreement as a condition of employment. The agreement requires that employees not disseminate any information about FTC outside of the charity without prior written approval. Employees who violate this agreement face “disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment and legal action, even if they do not actually benefit from the disclosed information,” according to the agreement.

"The rankings of AIP, essentially a one-man operation, contradict every other major watchdog organization. Ministry Watch, for example, ranks Feed the Children in the top 20 percent of nonprofits in terms of efficiency, and Charity Navigator gives us its highest rating. Last year Feed the Children distributed more than 117 million pounds of food and 29 million pounds of other relief supplies to suffering families in the United States and 57 other countries. In the past three weeks we have distributed a ton of supplies to tsunami victims. All the supplies distributed last year had a wholesale value of $832 million, but AIP evaluates us as though we never distributed so much as a can of beans, much less hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of supplies. AIP takes the amount of cash received as donations and compares this with the amount of cash distributed. But Feed the Children's mission is not the distribution of cash. My wife and I established Feed the Children 26 years ago for the specific purpose of collecting food, medicine, clothing, shovels, tents, eyeglasses and other "gifts in kind" that are generously provided to us by American corporations. We collect these items into our four warehouses nationwide and then quickly distribute them to those who need them most. AIP's "grade" of Feed the Children is based on the assumption that not one pound of the 41,000 tons of relief items we distributed last year ever existed.Larry Jones, Founder and PresidentFeed the ChildrenOklahoma City, Okla."

The questions remain if cash donations are used for for-profit transportation, appropriate costs, or misrepresented to donors as the source of the food distributed, and to whom. Perhaps future statements and disclosures will be more transparent.

The recent BBB page seems to provide more cogent analysis of funds and spending, including an over $1.5 million loss [http://charityreports.bbb.org/Public/Report.aspx?CharityID=3433 here] .

2004 IRS returns indicate more than $400,000 compensation for Larry Jones and his wife, and "Larri Sue Jones", apparently a daughter, found [http://www.guidestar.org/pqShowGsReport.do?partner=guidestar&npoId=182925 here] .


External links

* [http://www.feedthechildren.org Feed The Children]
* [http://www.2cjcproject.com The 2CJC Project]
* [http://www.feedthechildren.org/baby Frances Jones Abandoned Baby Center]
* [http://www.buyitforchildren.com Buy it for Children Program]

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