Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Stumbo Announces Settlement with Tsunami-Relief Charity
Attorney General Greg Stumbo today announced an agreement between the Office of the Attorney General and With One Heart, Inc., a tsunami-relief charity that solicited contributions for charitable aid to Sri Lanka tsunami victims beginning in February, 2005.
With One Heart, Inc. sought contributions from Kentucky residents to support the construction and maintenance of an orphanage in Sri Lanka in partnership with a Sri Lankan-based charity known as Sarvodaya. Under the terms of the agreement, called an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, With One Heart, Inc. and its organizers Kelly Knight and Shelia Bayes have now donated an additional $25,634 to the Sarvodaya orphanage in Sri Lanka. The Assurance of Voluntary Compliance was entered in Franklin Circuit Court on May 31, 2007.
The Attorney General sought documentation from With One Heart, Inc. regarding the charity’s express representation to donors and potential donors that, “The overhead of this organization has been underwritten to insure that 100% of the contributions made to With One Heart, Inc. are utilized for the direct benefit of those children in need.” The Internal Revenue Service requires charities meeting certain criteria to file a document titled a “Form 990” which reflects contributions, expenses and other financial information. With One Heart, Inc.’s Form 990 statement indicated that it had raised $88,675 in 2005 but incurred $42,915 in expenses, and had contributed only $26,000 to the Sarvodaya orphanage in Sri Lanka during this time.
With One Heart, Inc. provided affidavits from five donors stating that their individual contributions, totaling $37,677, were intended to underwrite the organization’s expenses. The documents also revealed a $1,000 donation by With One Heart, Inc. to a non-profit entity that was not related to the tsunami relief efforts. As a result, Kelly Knight and Shelia Bayes made additional donations to restore the $6,238 in additional expenses to the organization.
“Generous Kentuckians expect their charitable giving to go directly to the needy,” said Attorney General Stumbo. “My office will continue to enforce charitable solicitation laws and advise the public on wise charitable giving.”
Rick Brooks, a health and education communications specialist who oversees the Sarvodaya project, says every penny of the funds contributed by Kentuckians to With One Heart, Inc. are needed to take care of young women who are pregnant or who have had children after being raped or molested. “This is a problem that became even worse because of the Tsunami,” said Brooks. “The Sarvodaya movement has been taking care of a larger number of young girls each year.”
The Office of the Attorney General recommends that before supporting a charity’s efforts or contributing to it, consumers do their homework. Click here for tips on charitable giving.
Click here to read the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance. (305 KB PDF)