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Shriners in debacle over Fundraising

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posted on Jul, 6 2006 @ 02:57 PM
The Shriners are a masonic fraternity, all members must be masons. They are known for frivolity and fun, and also for operating the Shriners hospitals, which provide absolutely free medical care to children around the US (regardless of whether they are the parents of masons or anything like that). The hospitals operate as charities, the Shriners Fraternity raises funds for the Shriners Hospitals, but they are kept, apparently, as seperate entitites for non-profit status of the hospitals.
A Mr. Hill, in these articles, is a Shriner who used to have the responsibility to drive the children receiving the hospital's services to and from it, in itself another charitable service of the organization. In the past, there had been serious problems with the raising of funds. Reforms were supposed to be enacted. Mr. Hill, in his travels to different shrines, started hearing that the funds were being abused.
Some of the money raised to help children was being used to pay for booze, he alleges.

A few articles, not from a news-service, on the issue:
In response to a reader, Landers wrote:

“The [Orlando Sentinel] reported that in 1985 the Shriners kept a whopping 71 percent of the money raised, about $21.7 million. This went to pay for a range of clubhouse expenses, including the upkeep of private bars, restaurants and golf courses. They also used the money to pay for conventions, travel and entertainment for their 880,000 members and, again, fund raising. The Shrine's most lucrative source of income is the circuses throughout the country. They generated about $23 million in 1985, the paper reported. The records show that LESS THAN 2 percent, or $346,251, went to the medical care of the children. I find this shocking. The Sentinel cited Internal Revenue Service records showing that although the Shrine is the richest charity in the nation, it gave its 22 hospitals for children less than one-third of the gross collected from the public in 1984. The REMAINDER was spent on food, travel, entertainment, fraternal ceremonies and fund-raising.”
[Shriner Hill] ask[ed] [the Shriners executive vice president] 25 financial and management questions [...] Much of the information Hill requested should have been listed on the Shriners annual 990 tax returns or included in financial statements, budgets or annual audits. IRS non profit disclosure law states that when a 501c3 non profit group is asked for such information, they have 30 days to provide it. Two years later, Hill’s questions and requests for financial information have yet to be acknowledged, let alone answered. Instead Hill received a letter dated May 16, 2004 that said:
“A copy of your letter dated March 2, 2004 to Mr. Charles Cumpstone, Jr., executive Vice President of Shriners International in Tampa, Florida was recently shared at a meeting of the Sudan Roadrunners…the membership voted to remove your name from the Associate Membership List. I regret to inform you that you are no longer a Sudan Roadrunner. "[...] This is the second Shriner committee that Hill had been “removed” from. [...]there are two provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that apply to non-profit corporations; whistle blower protection and document destruction
Remember, there are two groups; the Shriners Hospitals for Children, the charitable 501c3 group, and the Shriners Temples, the fraternal 501c10 group. The two are supposed to, per IRS regulations, operate separately and be independent. The fraternal group is incorporated in Iowa; the charitable hospital group is incorporated in Colorado. Both groups have a board of directors; the charitable hospital group also has officers.
For the year 2004 – 2005, both boards had the same 14 men on them. Six of the seven hospital officers also sat on both boards. A call to Shriners headquarters indicated that the board/s of directors’ policies are not available to the public.
In yet another attempt to get answers, Hill emailed Fleisher and asked him to take a look at the Charity Watch website and alleged that Pennsylvania officials were investigating the Shriners. Fleisher then sent both Hill and Dolnier “cease and desist” emails stating that he’d spoken with Pennsylvania officials who had told him there was no such investigation, which, according to state of Pennsylvania officials, is not what he was told.
If Fleisher is found guilty of any of the charges, the bar can impose sanctions for “making false statements, fraud and misrepresentation and improper communications with individuals in the legal system that cause injury or potential injury to a client, the public, or the legal system.”
Hill hopes the Florida Bar will find enough evidence to take action against Fleisher.

The exerpts and articles generally speak for themselves. Its clear, just from the number of articles, that the author is a friend of Hill, whom himself clearly has a personal stake in this.
I am skeptical of a person being able to make much of a claim at whistle-blower protection over not getting a position in a fraternity/charitable organization, but, if what the author is reporting is true, the Shrine is bound to answer the questions Hill and his associates have asked.


posted on Jul, 6 2006 @ 11:15 PM
I checked the Shriner's out on (part of the Better Business Bureau) said:

Shriners Hospitals for Children (Shriners) does not meet the following 1 Standards for Charity Accountability.

10: Avoid accumulating funds that could be used for current program activities. To meet this standard, the charitys unrestricted net assets available for use should not be more than three times the size of the past years expenses or three times the size of the current years budget, whichever is higher.

The Shriner's responce was:

"Because Shriners Hospitals for Children do not charge their patients for services, nor do they accept payment from insurance companies nor governmental agencies, they believe that continued growth of their [board designated] endowment fund is the only assurance of continuing support for the programs.


Shriners Hospitals for Children's major source of income is from bequests, the timing of which cannot be predicted. The organization cannot maintain its level of support and growth if it budgets its operation and capital expenditures based upon contributions in a given year or period. If the organization is to continue its programs or expand services to meet the future needs of its potential patient population, those purposes must be assured through the continued growth of the [board designated] endowment fund,...

IMHO this sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

posted on Jul, 7 2006 @ 08:44 AM

free medical care to children around the US (regardless of whether they are the parents of masons or anything like that)

Can you Please find at least one verifiable case of a child being
treated at a shriners hospital being a parent ( of a Mason or not).

posted on Jul, 7 2006 @ 11:50 AM

Originally posted by stalkingwolf
of a child being
treated at a shriners hospital being a parent

Hey, these kids today, ya never know!

CUG, I agree, there are lots of ways to be a charity, and it makes sense to have a large reserve of money, and its their business to do it as such really.

The things that I find poor are not complying with the laws.

posted on Jul, 7 2006 @ 12:08 PM

Originally posted by stalkingwolf

free medical care to children around the US (regardless of whether they are the parents of masons or anything like that)

I'm not sure where this quote came from (and I won't attribute it to you stakingwolf), but the Shriners Hospitals don't stop at the border, there are hospitals in Montreal, Canada (opened 1925), and one in Mexico City, Mexico (opened 1945), not to mention treatment given to kids from around the world, like this:

Doctors at Shriners Hospital for Children in Cincinnati, which provides burn care for children free of charge, say Waghdan still needs at least two more months of physical therapy, massage and compression to recover well -- all treatments that could be better administered and monitored in America.

"We are getting into the peak scarring period," said Carol Stoudt, a social worker at Shriners. "I wouldn't say it's a risk, but it's not optimal."

From Jan. 31 until last week, Waghdan and her 65-year-old grandmother, Haseeba Zaghairon, lived in Lexington between treatments at the Shriners Hospital.

And on that note, one should look at the generosity of Americans as a whole (non-Shriner aid):

As a final note, the treatment of children at the Shriner's Hospitals is NEVER based on race, religion, ability to pay, Masonic affiliation, or country of origin/residency.

posted on Jul, 11 2006 @ 04:06 PM
I work with someone that his child has had numerous surgery's, (he's club-footed) and it did not cost them one's great that there is an organization out there that provides this service for the people that doesn't have much and is very grateful for it.....Charity is a great thing when used for the right reasons like this....

posted on Jul, 12 2006 @ 07:50 AM
I would also like to add here that the Shriners (at least when I was a member of DeMolay and my sister a Job's ) are assisted by donations from other Masonically affiliated organizations. As I recall our chapter gave a check for 500.00 twice a year,
but that was a long time ago and my memory could be rusty. There were also individual
donations from individuals.

posted on Jul, 13 2006 @ 10:13 AM
what does it matter tht not all their income goes to the hospitals? they are obviously up and running just fine...and none have suffered due to 'financial hardships'...

to me, it doesnt matter how much money is given to the hospitals as long as nothing changes, and no one is turned away due to lack of money, and no one has been. so whats the point of all this?

posted on Jul, 13 2006 @ 11:31 AM
I have a child with CP and the shriners have been a god send to me at very hard time in my life. they have provided all there services to my child transportation to and from the shiners hospitals and every one from the van drivers to the doctors have gone well out of their way to help my child, any one who has ever been to a christmas party they give for these kids and seen the joy in their faces many of which imo.have very little to smile about is breathtaking , so if they get drunk every now and then cool with me i say have one for me and hit the strip clubs
I would also like to point out i know absolutely nothing about secret societies so if their in a back room somewhere shaking a bag of bones and getting drunk with Ernest Hemingway it seems to be working

[edit on 13-7-2006 by skitzo]

posted on Jul, 13 2006 @ 09:45 PM

, so if they get drunk every now and then cool with me i say have one for me and hit the strip clubs

With money that was given to them when they promised to use it to help kids??

posted on Jul, 13 2006 @ 10:47 PM
As far as i can tell they have never turned away any child in my area that needs help. can you imagine what kind of field day the local and national news would have if they did.

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