Thursday, March 20, 2008

Green machine

Good reading, from a few years ago in the Sacramento Bee - touches a bit on what we've been discussing below.
Update: This post is getting so much traffic, alot of it from activist-type sites. I'm curious why - but let me be very clear for all of those who aren't part of that larcenous subset, the article below details ways in which the "environmental" orgs fleece the public through scare tactic marketing, false claims, and appealing to the high ideals of the people they seek to dupe. Some orgs, like the "Baykeeper/Riverkeeper/CoastKeeper" (moneykeeper) groups make their money using the judicial system, they threaten lawsuits and walk away with million in go-away settlement money. Then, as we have seen here, they set up another phony nice sounding group and start the suing cycle all over again. The laws that were set in place to assist citizen watchdogs are now used by new age con men to make money, and fool the public with nicely worded dishonest Mission statements. It is going to take some new laws to put the orgs back into a system of checks and balances that all other facets of government and policymaking have to operate under. Their experts should be checked, licensed and required to be unbiased, just for starters... For more check on labels in the sidebar both here and at the watchpaulARTICLEarchive side of this blog.

Mission adrift in a frenzy of fund raising (Second of five parts)

Dear Friend,
I need your help to stop an impending slaughter.
Otherwise, Yellowstone National Park -- an American wildlife treasure -- could soon become a bloody killing field. And the victims will be hundreds of wolves and defenseless wolf pups!

So begins a fund-raising letter from one of America's fastest-growing environmental groups -- Defenders of Wildlife.

Using the popular North American gray wolf as the hub of an ambitious campaign, Defenders has assembled a financial track record that would impress Wall Street.

In 1999, donations jumped 28 percent to a record $17.5 million. The group's net assets, a measure of financial stability, grew to $14.5 million, another record. And according to its 1999 annual report, Defenders spent donors' money wisely, keeping fund-raising and management costs to a lean 19 percent of expenses.

But there is another side to Defenders' dramatic growth.

Pick up copies of its federal tax returns and you'll find that its five highest-paid business partners are not firms that specialize in wildlife conservation. They are national direct mail and telemarketing companies -- the same ones that raise money through the mail and over the telephone for nonprofit groups, from Mothers Against Drunk Driving to the U.S. Olympic Committee.

You'll also find that in calculating its fund-raising expenses, Defenders borrows a trick from the business world. It dances with digits, finds opportunity in obfuscation. Using an accounting loophole, it classifies millions of dollars spent on direct mail and telemarketing not as fund raising but as public education and environmental activism.

Take away that loophole and Defenders' 19 percent fund-raising and management tab leaps above 50 percent, meaning more than half of every dollar donated to save wolf pups helped nourish the organization instead. That was high enough to earn Defenders a "D" rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy, an independent, nonprofit watchdog that scrutinizes nearly 400 charitable groups.

Pick up copies of IRS returns for major environmental organizations and you'll see that what is happening at Defenders of Wildlife is not unusual. Eighteen of America's 20 most prosperous environmental organizations, and many smaller ones as well, raise money the same way: by soliciting donations from millions of Americans.

But in turning to mass-market fund-raising techniques for financial sustenance, environmental groups have crossed a kind of conservation divide.

No allies of industry, they have become industries themselves, dependent on a style of salesmanship that fills mailboxes across America with a never-ending stream of environmentally unfriendly junk mail, reduces the complex world of nature to simplistic slogans, emotional appeals and counterfeit crises, and employs arcane accounting rules to camouflage fund raising as conservation.

Just as industries run afoul of regulations, so are environmental groups stumbling over standards. Their problem is not government standards, because fund raising by nonprofits is largely protected by the free speech clause of the First Amendment. Their challenge is meeting the generally accepted voluntary standards of independent charity watchdogs.

And there, many fall short.

Six national environmental groups spend so much on fund raising and overhead they don't have enough left to meet the minimum benchmark for environmental spending -- 60 percent of annual expenses -- recommended by charity watchdog organizations. Eleven of the nation's 20 largest include fund-raising bills in their tally of money spent protecting the environment, but don't make that clear to members.

The flow of environmental fund-raising mail is remarkable. Last year, more than 160 million pitches swirled through the U.S. Postal Service, according to figures provided by major organizations. That's enough envelopes, stationery, decals, bumper stickers, calendars and personal address labels to circle the Earth more than two times.

Often, just one or two people in 100 respond.

The proliferation of environmental appeals is beginning to boomerang with the public, as well. "The market is over-saturated. There is mail fatigue," said Ellen McPeake, director of finance and development at Greenpeace, known worldwide for its defense of marine mammals. "Some people are so angry they send back the business reply envelope with the direct mail piece in it."

Even a single fund-raising drive generates massive waste. In 1999, The Wilderness Society mailed 6.2 million membership solicitations -- an average of 16,986 pieces of mail a day. At just under 0.9 ounce each, the weight for the year came to about 348,000 pounds.

Most of the fund-raising letters and envelopes are made from recycled paper. But once delivered, millions are simply thrown away, environmental groups acknowledge. Even when the solicitations make it to a recycling bin, there's a glitch: Personal address labels, bumper stickers and window decals that often accompany them cannot be recycled into paper -- and are carted off to landfills instead.

"For an environmental organization, it's so wrong," said McPeake, who is developing alternatives to junk mail at Greenpeace. "It's not exactly environmentally correct."

The stuff is hard to ignore.

Environmental solicitations -- swept along in colorful envelopes emblazoned with bears, whales and other charismatic creatures -- jump out at you like salmon leaping from a stream.

Open that mail and more unsolicited surprises grab your attention. The Center for Marine Conservation lures new members with a dolphin coloring book and a flier for a "free" dolphin umbrella. The National Wildlife Federation takes a more seasonal approach: a "Free Spring Card Collection & Wildflower Seed Mix!" delivered in February, and 10 square feet of wrapping paper with "matching gift tags" delivered just before Christmas.

The Sierra Club reaches out at holiday time, too, with a bundle of Christmas cards that you can't actually mail to friends and family, because inside they are marred by sales graffiti: "To order, simply call toll-free ... " Defenders of Wildlife tugs at your heart with "wolf adoption papers." American Rivers dangles something shiny in front of your checkbook: a "free deluxe 35 mm camera" for a modest $12 tax-deductible donation.

The letters that come with the mailers are seldom dull. Steeped in outrage, they tell of a planet in perpetual environmental shock, a world victimized by profit-hungry corporations. And they do so not with precise scientific prose but with boastful and often inaccurate sentences that scream and shout:

From New York-based Rainforest Alliance: "By this time tomorrow, nearly 100 species of wildlife will tumble into extinction."

Fact: No one knows how rapidly species are going extinct. The Alliance's figure is an extreme estimate that counts tropical beetles and other insects -- including ones not yet known to science -- in its definition of wildlife.

From The Wilderness Society: "We will fight to stop reckless clear-cutting on national forests in California and the Pacific Northwest that threatens to destroy the last of America's unprotected ancient forests in as little as 20 years."

Fact: National forest logging has dropped dramatically in recent years. In California, clear-cutting on national forests dipped to 1,395 acres in 1998, down 89 percent from 1990.

From Defenders of Wildlife: "Won't you please adopt a furry little pup like 'Hope'? Hope is a cuddly brown wolf ... Hope was triumphantly born in Yellowstone."

Facts: "There was never any pup named Hope," says John Varley, chief of research at Yellowstone National Park. "We don't name wolves. We number them." Since wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone in 1995, their numbers have increased from 14 to about 160; the program has been so successful that Yellowstone officials now favor removing the animals from the federal endangered species list.

Longtime conservationist Peter Brussard has seen enough.

"I've stopped contributing to virtually all major environmental groups," said Brussard, former Society for Conservation Biology president and a University of Nevada, Reno, professor.

"My frustration is the mailbox," he said. "Virtually every day you come home, there are six more things from environmental groups saying that if you don't send them fifty bucks, the gray whales will disappear or the wolf reintroductions in Yellowstone will fail ...You just get super-saturated.

"To me, as a professional biologist, it's not conspicuous what most of these organizations are doing for conservation. I know that some do good, but most leave you with the impression that the only thing they are interested in is raising money for the sake of raising money."

Step off the elevator at Defenders of Wildlife's office in Washington, D.C., and you enter a world of wolves: large photographs of wolves on the walls, a wolf logo on glass conference room doors, and inside the office of Charles Orasin, senior vice president for operations, a wolf logo cup and a toy wolf pup.

Ask Orasin about the secret of Defenders' success, and he points to a message prominently displayed behind his desk: "It's the Wolf, Stupid."

Since Defenders began using the North American timber wolf as the focal point of its fund-raising efforts in the mid-1990s, the organization has not stopped growing. Every year has produced record revenue, more members -- and more emotional, heart-wrenching letters.

Dear Friend of Wildlife:
It probably took them twelve hours to die.
No one found the wolves in the remote, rugged lands of Idaho -- until it was too late.
For hours, they writhed in agony. They suffered convulsions, seizures and hallucinations. And then -- they succumbed to cardiac and respiratory failure.

"People feel very strongly about these animals," said Orasin, architect of Defenders' growth. "In fact, our supporters view them as they would their children. A huge percentage own pets, and they transfer that emotional concern about their own animals to wild animals.

"We're very pleased," he said. "We think we have one of the most successful programs going right now in the country."

Defenders, though, is only the most recent environmental group to find fund-raising fortune in the mail. Greenpeace did it two decades ago with a harp seal campaign now regarded as an environmental fund-raising classic.

The solicitation featured a photo of a baby seal with a white furry face and dark eyes accompanied by a slogan: "Kiss This Baby Good-bye." Inside, the fund-raising letter included a photo of Norwegian sealers clubbing baby seals to death.

People opened their hearts -- and their checkbooks.

"You have very little time to grab people's attention," said Jeffrey Gillenkirk, a veteran free-lance direct mail copywriter in San Francisco who has written for several national environmental groups, including Greenpeace. "It's like television: You front-load things into your first three paragraphs, the things that you're going to hook people with. You can call it dramatic. You can call it hyperbolic. But it works."

The Sierra Club put another advertising gimmick to work in the early 1980s. It found a high-profile enemy: U.S. Secretary of the Interior James Watt, whose pro-development agenda for public lands enraged many.

"When you direct-mailed into that environment, it was like highway robbery," said Bruce Hamilton, the club's conservation director. "You couldn't process the memberships fast enough. We basically added 100,000 members."

But environmental fund raising has its downsides.

It tends to be addictive. The reason is simple: Many people who join environmental groups through the mail lose interest and don't renew -- and must be replaced, year after year.

"Constant membership recruitment is essential just to stay even, never mind get bigger," wrote Christopher Bosso, a political scientist at Northeastern University in Boston, in his paper: "The Color of Money: Environmental Groups and the Pathologies of Fund Raising."

"Dropout rates are high because most members are but passive check writers, with the low cost of participating translating into an equally low sense of commitment," Bosso states. "Holding on to such members almost requires that groups maintain a constant sense of crisis. It does not take a cynic to suggest ... that direct mailers shop for the next eco-crisis to keep the money coming in."

That is precisely how Gillenkirk, the copywriter, said the system works. As environmental direct mail took hold in the 1980s, "We discovered you could create programs by creating them in the mail," he said.

"Somebody would put up $25,000 or $30,000, and you would see whether sea otters would sell. You would see whether rain forests would sell. You would try marshlands, wetlands, all kinds of stuff. And if you got a response that would allow you to continue -- a 1 or 2 percent response -- you could create a new program."

Today, the trial-and-error process continues.

The Sierra Club, which scrambles to replace about 150,000 nonrenewing members a year out of 600,000, produces new fund-raising packages more frequently than General Motors produces new car models.

"We are constantly turning around and trying new themes," said Hamilton. "We say, 'OK, well, people like cuddly little animals, they like sequoias.' We try different premiums, where people can get the backpack versus the tote bag versus the calendar. We tried to raise money around the California desert -- and found direct mail deserts don't work."

And though many are critical of such a crisis-of-the-month approach, Hamilton defended it -- sort of.

"I'm somewhat offended by it myself, both intellectually and from an environmental standpoint," he said. "And yet ... it is what works. It is what builds the Sierra Club. Unfortunately the fate of the Earth depends on whether people open that envelope and send in that check."

The vast majority of people don't. Internal Sierra Club documents show that as few as one out of every 100 membership solicitations results in a new member. The average contribution is $18.

"The problem is there is a part of the giving public -- about a third we think -- who as a matter of personal choice gives to a new organization every year," said Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope. "We don't do this because we want to. We do it because the public behaves this way."

Fund-raising consultants "have us all hooked, and none of us can kick the habit," said Dave Foreman, a former Sierra Club board member. "Any group that gives up the direct mail treadmill is going to lose. I'm concerned about how it's done. It's a little shabby."

Another problem is more basic: accuracy. Much of what environmental groups say in fund-raising letters is exaggerated. And sometimes it is wrong.

Consider a recent mailer from the Natural Resources Defense Council, which calls itself "America's hardest-hitting environmental group." The letter, decrying a proposed solar salt evaporation plant at a remote Baja California lagoon where gray whales give birth, makes this statement:

"Giant diesel engines will pump six thousand gallons of water out of the lagoon EVERY SECOND, risking changes to the precious salinity that is so vital to newborn whales."

Clinton Winant, a professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography who helped prepare an environmental assessment of the project, said the statement is false. "There is not a single iota of scientific evidence that suggests pumping would have any effect on gray whales or their babies," he said.

The mailer also says:

"A mile-long concrete pier will cut directly across the path of migrating whales -- potentially impeding their progress."

Scripps professor Paul Dayton, one of the nation's most prominent marine ecologists, said that statement is wrong, too.

"I've dedicated my career to understanding nature, which is becoming more threatened," he said. "And I've been confronted with the dreadful dishonesty of the Rush Limbaugh crowd. It really hurts to have my side -- the environmental side -- become just as dishonest."

Former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo halted the project last year. But as he did, he also criticized environmental groups. "With false arguments and distorted information, they have damaged the legitimate cause of genuine ecologists," Zedillo said at a Mexico City news conference.

A senior Defense Council attorney in Los Angeles, Joel Reynolds, said his organization does not distort the truth.

"We're effective because people believe in us," Reynolds said. "We're not about to sacrifice the credibility we've gained through direct mail which is intentionally inaccurate."

Reynolds said NRDC's position on the salt plant was influenced by a 1995 memo by Bruce Mate, a world-renowned whale specialist. Mate said, though, that his memo was a first draft, not grounded in scientific fact.

"This is a bit of an embarrassment," he said. "This was really one of the first bits of information about the project. It was not meant for public consumption. I was just kind of throwing stuff out there. It's out-of-date, terribly out-of-date."

There is plenty of chest-thumping pride in direct mail, too -- some of it false pride. Consider this from a National Wildlife Federation letter: "We are constantly working in every part of the country to save those species and special places that are in all of our minds."

Yet in many places, the federation is seldom, if ever, seen.

"In 15-plus years in conservation, in Northern California, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, I have never met a (federation) person," said David Nolte, who recently resigned as a grass-roots organizer with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Alliance -- a coalition of hunters and fishermen.

"This is not about conservation," he said. "It's marketing."

Overstating achievements is chronic, according to Alfred Runte, an environmental historian and a board member of the National Parks Conservation Association from 1993 to 1997.

"Environmental groups all do this," he said. "They take credit for things that are generated by many, many people. What is a community accomplishment becomes an individual accomplishment -- for the purposes of raising money."

As a board member, Runte finds something else distasteful about fund raising: its cost.

"Oftentimes, we said very cynically that for every dollar you put into fund raising, you only got back a dollar," he recalled. "Unless you hit a big donor, the bureaucracy was spending as much to generate money as it was getting back."

Some groups are far more efficient than others. The Nature Conservancy, for example, spends just 10 percent of donor contributions on fund raising, while the Sierra Club spends 42 percent, according to the American Institute of Philanthropy.

Pope, the Sierra Club director, said it's not a fair comparison. The reason? Donations to the Conservancy and most other environmental groups are tax-deductible -- an important incentive for charitable giving. Contributions to the Sierra Club are not, because it is a political organization, too.

"We're not all charities in the same sense," Pope said. "Our average contribution is much, much smaller."

Determining how much environmental groups spend on fund raising is only slightly less complex than counting votes in Florida. The difficulty is a bookkeeping quagmire called "joint cost accounting."

At its simplest, joint cost accounting allows nonprofit groups to splinter fund-raising expenditures into categories that sound more pleasant to a donor's ear -- public education and environmental action -- shaving millions off what they report as fund raising.

Some groups use joint cost accounting. Others don't. Some groups put it to work liberally, others cautiously. Those who do apply it don't explain it. What one group labels education, another calls fund raising.

"You use the term joint allocation and most people's eyes glaze over," said Greenpeace's McPeake. The most sophisticated donor in the world "would not be able to penetrate this," she said.

Joint cost accounting need not be boring, however.

Look closely and you'll find sweepstakes solicitations, personal return address labels, free tote bag offers and other fund-raising novelties cross-dressing as conservation. You also find that those who monitor such activity are uneasy with it.

David Ormsteadt, an assistant attorney general in Connecticut, states in Advancing Philanthropy, a journal of the National Society of Fundraising Executives: "Instead of reporting fees and expenses as fund-raising costs, which could ... discourage donations, charities may report these costs as having provided a public benefit. The more mailings made -- and the more expense incurred -- the more the 'benefit' to society."

The Wilderness Society, for example, determined in 1999 that 87 percent of the $1.5 million it spent mailing 6.2 million membership solicitation letters wasn't fund raising but "public education." That shaved $1.3 million off its fund-raising tab.

One of America's oldest and most venerable environmental groups, the Wilderness Society didn't just grab its 87 percent figure out of the air. It literally counted the number of lines in its letter and determined that 87 of every 100 were educational.

When you read in the society's letter that "Our staff is a tireless watchdog," that is education. So is the obvious fact that national forests "contain some of the most striking natural beauty on Earth." Even a legal boast -- "If necessary, we will sue to enforce the law" -- is education.

"We're just living within the rules. We're not trying to pull one over on anybody," said Wilderness Society spokesman Ben Beach.

Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy, the charity watchdog, said it is acceptable to call 30 percent or less of fund-raising expenses "education." But he deemed that the percentages claimed by the Wilderness Society, Defenders of Wildlife and others were unacceptable.

"These groups should not be allowed to get away with this," Borochoff said. "They are trying to make themselves look as good as they can without out-and-out lying ... . This doesn't help donors. It helps the organization."

At Defenders of Wildlife, Orasin flatly disagreed. The American Institute of Philanthropy "is a peripheral group and we don't agree with their standards," he said. "We don't think they understand how a nonprofit can operate, much less grow."

Even the more mainstream National Charities Information Bureau, which recently merged with the Better Business Bureau's Philanthropic Advisory Service, rates Defenders' fund raising excessive.

"We strongly disagree with (the National Charities Information Bureau)," said Orasin. "They take a very subjective view of what fund raising is. We are educating the public. If you look at the letters that go out from us, they are chock-full of factual information."

But much of what Defenders labels education in its fund raising is not all that educational. Here are a few examples -- provided to The Bee by Defenders from its recent "Tragedy in Yellowstone" membership solicitation letter:

Unless you and I help today, all of the wolf families in Yellowstone and central Idaho will likely be captured and killed.

It's up to you and me to stand up to the wealthy American Farm Bureau ...

For the sake of the wolves ... please take one minute right now to sign and return the enclosed petition.

The American Farm Bureau's reckless statements are nothing but pure bunk.

"That is basically pure fund raising," said Richard Larkin, a certified public accountant with the Lang Group in Bethesda, Md., who helped draft the standards for joint cost accounting. "That group is playing a little loose with the rules."

Defenders also shifts the cost of printing and mailing millions of personalized return address labels into a special "environmental activation" budget category.

Larkin takes a dim view.

"I've heard people try to make the case that by putting out these labels you are somehow educating the public about the importance of the environment," he said. "I would consider it virtually abusive."

Not all environmental groups use joint cost accounting. At the Nature Conservancy, every dollar spent on direct mail and telemarketing is counted as fund raising.

The same is true at the Sierra Club. "We want to be transparent with our members," said Pope, the club's director.

Groups that do use it, though, often do so differently.

The National Parks Conservation Association, for example, counts this line as fund raising: "We helped establish Everglades National Park in the 1940s." Defenders counts this one as education: "Since 1947, Defenders of Wildlife has worked to protect wolves, bears ... and pristine habitat."

"It's a very subjective world," said Monique Valentine, vice president for finance and administration at the national parks association. "It would be much better if we would all work off the same sheet of music."

At the Washington, D.C.-based National Park Trust, which focuses on expanding the park system, even a sweepstakes solicitation passes for education, helping shrink fund-raising costs to 21 percent of expenses, according to its 1999 annual report.

Actual fund-raising costs range as high as 74 percent, according to the American Institute of Philanthropy, which gave the Trust an "F" in its "Charity Rating Guide & Watchdog Report." Borochoff, the Institute's president, called the Trust's reporting "outrageous."

"Dear Friend," says one sweepstakes solicitation, "The $1,000,000 SUPER PRIZE winning number has already been pre-selected by computer and will absolutely be awarded. It would be a very, very BIG MISTAKE to forfeit ONE MILLION DOLLARS to someone else."

Paul Pritchard, the Trust's president, said the group's financial reporting meets non-profit standards. He defended sweepstakes fund raising.

"I personally find it a way of expressing freedom of speech," Pritchard said. "I can ethically justify it. How else are you going to get your message out?"
By Tom Knudson Sacramento Bee Staff Writer (Published April 23, 2001)


  1. HWC,EPIC,NEC,Baykeeper,Smith River Alliance,Trees Foundation, Friends of the Dunes,etc....... Money laundry? How about enviro degradation? It's a lot of junk mail for a lot of junk causes. How many backs getting scratched? How many bank accounts getting lined? How much on the dollar going to anything positive? How much to beer,pot,ski trips,tropic vacations,new vehicals and high powered boats? 4300$ to screw a hooker is cheap by comparison.

  2. And there's an enviro group that's threatening Victoria's Secret to STOP SENDING OUT CATALOGS...

  3. Looks like you are trying to hide your ass kicking under a very long spam. Pathetic

    Now about your membership in the KKK...

  4. Rose looks like the King Kool-aid Kid is back. What a complete zero. ROTFLMAO. We love you Rose!

  5. How did $17,000 in equipment and machinery bought for HWC (Which with so few people, is it really a council?) in 2005 drop $16,200 in one year?

    Still, $13,400 to $34,000 in three years isn't a bad raise ya know!

  6. If you spent more time reading and less time spreading lies you would know that he was working part-time for HWC and then went to full time.

  7. So exactly how many members does your KKK chapter have now? All the names please.

  8. Numbers still don't work. $13400 x 2 = 26,800 not $34,000 or $28,000 which he paid himself the very next year. A $6,000 dollar a year raise is very nice indeed!

  9. Anonymous Anonymous said...

    So exactly how many members does your KKK chapter have now? All the names please.

    3/21/2008 1:31 AM

    Is that comment directed at me? Because I'm pretty sure those are fighting words. Ask me that question to my face, I dare you.

  10. You want the staff of the Humboldt Herald? They're over at HHHQ, the link is in the sidebar.

  11. LOL Tough guy. More stupid assumptions Rose. Part-time doesn't mean half-time it means less than full-time Read the newspaper articles available. Don't be such a lazy investigator. Now about that KKK membership. Why won't you answer? What are you hiding?

  12. 7:32,we're just trying to save you em-bear-ass-ment with your loonie friends.

  13. Anonymous 7:32, you could be right, but in this case he wrote down that he was working 20 hours a week, not 30, 22, or even 31. Check the paperwork.

    Also, is it true 7:32am, that you, yourself, trade candy for sex from underage boys and girls at the Carson Park in Eureka? I've also heard that you and your pals Richard Salzman, Ken Miller and Mark Lovelace get together and hold drum circles which involve hand jobs and group masturbation therapy. I'm not sure what this has to do with the subject at hand, but I'm sure you'll have some witty comment about Klan membership, while dreaming of touching under aged children in a sexual manner.



  14. churches and non-profit environmental groups seem very similar to me. these exact same issues raised about these environmental groups could be made agaisnt churches. the fact that these entities both avoid paying taxes bugs the heck out of me.....

  15. anon.r.mousy,
    you have provided another example of how churches and enviromental groups are the same. according to you, they both provide hand jobs given by men.

  16. Theo therme - we agree on that.

    The idea of tax exempt status for certain groups is laudable. Unfortunately, it is exploited and abused by corrupt groups and people.

    There are a lot of churches out there that are a scam and bilk people.

    There are a lot of groups that say that they are for entities that we like to contribute to (kids, cops, firefighters, etc.) but are actually also scam artists who call themselves a name to bilk people of their money.

    There are also other scam groups (Humboldt Watershed Council, Humboldt Bay keeper [not to be confused with other reputable baykeepers]) who say that they are for the environment and are just feeding from the grant trough and through misleading folks to get their money.

    It is shameful and I am glad Rose is talking about this.

  17. Theo, I think your major problem is you have it stuck in your head that I'm some kind of Jesus freak or something. Let's keep it on track here, we are talking about "non-profits" not churches. I'm sure if you wanted to start a blog about Church abuse and fairy-tales, it would do very well.

  18. Way back in the early 1980's, when I was still at the newspaper, Darryl Cherney loved to "remind" us that his organization's name - Earth First - must always be in bold type with an exclamation point at the end.

  19. Back in the 80's and early 90's Dirtfirsters called people like Darryl Cherney "Media Whores" I guess that is why he has won a spot on their hate-list for "selling out"

  20. Only good thing Darryl Cherney did was correctly point out that the Recall was an "environmental Jonestown" and that the org community had used up alot of their capital there. I think you are seeing the results of that today

    To learn more about Earth First! go to They're old news now, the poor Earth First!ers don't have enough money to buy socks to keep them warm in the winter time. They've been replaced by the new model, the predatory litigious orgs like "Baykeeper."

    More efficient, more profitable.

  21. anon.r.mousy,
    i dont know if you believe in the supernatural or not. i was referring to your comment about hand jobs from men at non-profit gatherings. it reminded me of what happens in the churches.

    i CLEARLY indicated that my "major problem" was the fact that non-profits and churches get away with paying no income tax. please, read carefully before responding.

  22. An interesting point and an interesting correlation given that Global Warming and "Environmentalism" have become a religion.

    I would maintain that the religious enviros aren't for the environment at all. They're like the people who started wearing leg warmers after Flashdance - pretenders.

  23. rose,
    kinda like the christians who believe in killing muslims? fakers? you may be right....

    jesus did say to turn the other cheek....

    ill make the point that no person really stands for anything. we are all hypocrates in one way or another...environmentalists who live in wooden houses, global warming mongers who drive cars, christians who preach for war, welfare recipients who claim to be libertarian, rich people who claim to be christian, pot growers who claim that they arent part of the capitalist system.....ALL hypocritical, but all true just the same.

  24. Yeah, Theo - I do see your point.

  25. Tom: " people who claim to be christian..."

    WTF does being "rich" (or poor) have to do with being "christian"? As an agnostic I'm just askin'.

  26. theo point well taken but you need to rethink and refine your examples. They leave much to be desired. I do know a few enviros that are honest,a few rich folks that are compassionate,a few christians that Gandi would follow. We also know many who are just as you say. None of will be here very long.How we use the spark we have been so graced with will ultimately define use. Each and everyone.

  27. 6:43,
    in the bible, jesus is quoted as saying "a rich man has the same chance getting into heaven as he does fitting through the eye of a needle".........or something to that affect

  28. 7:02,
    ill bet that the honest environmentalist has told a lie before, probably many. ill also bet that the compassionate christian has had moments of selfishness. thats being human...

    here's another way to look at it, using reverse pyschology: no matter what stereotype you try to box me into, i will transcend it at some point or points in time. you can call me a conservative and ill show you an instance where im liberal. call me rich and ill show you my debts. call me poor and ill show you my assets. call me an evironmentalist and ill show you how i pollute the earth. call me a earth destoying redneck and i will show you how i have spent my life in the forest. call me a republican and ill show you when i voted libertarian. call me a libertarian, ill show you where ive voted republican....there is no box anyone can be put in, since we are all hypocrates in so many ways...

  29. the o, you seem to see a class half empty,while others see a class half full. I proffer another view. It's just half a class.

  30. theo, you gotta stay on track here, I never said anything about non-profits in my post, I said, and I quote:

    "Also, is it true 7:32am, that you, yourself, trade candy for sex from underage boys and girls at the Carson Park in Eureka? I've also heard that you and your pals Richard Salzman, Ken Miller and Mark Lovelace get together and hold drum circles which involve hand jobs and group masturbation therapy. I'm not sure what this has to do with the subject at hand, but I'm sure you'll have some witty comment about Klan membership, while dreaming of touching under aged children in a sexual manner."

    Oddly enough, it does seem that yes, I could be talking about non-profits, since each one of these people seem to have had their hands in a non-profit, or three, or I could be talking straight up, that Ken Miller, Richard Salzman and Mark Lovelace do sit around and have drum circles and group masturbation therapy. For some reason, you think that, or feel that is church, which, I guess it could very well be if you are into group masturbation therapy, but well, I am just saying what I am saying.

  31. Since Tater Tot,(Mark), is their employee does he have to clean up all the manually extracted product?

  32. anon.r.mousy,
    excuse me if im wrong, but i could have sworn that this thread was about the funding of non-profits and not about masturbation.

  33. The Nature Conservancy makes almost a Billion $ in land deals each year. Public donations are an insignificant part of its financial operation. Even its own PR head has been in the news lately confirming that TNC's primary motive in these efforts is influencing public opinion rather than fundraising. See resent posts in including the post titled "Bake Sale For Nature Conservancy" from March 15.

  34. Go to "Range" on the web. Read and weap about the evil America is learning about the hard way. Freddy Krugger has nothing on the Nature Conservancy


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