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Certificate of Appreciation From the Southern Poverty Law Center

27 November 2010 38 Comments

Last week I received a large envelope in the mail. As I opened it, my eyes grew large when I saw a certificate with my name on it signed by Morris Dees, Founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center. It was accompanied by a lengthy letter from Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. Skepticism set in as I wondered whether this was a bid for a donation or a genuine keepsake, so I called my friend Shelly for her opinion. I faxed copies to her and let her decide. We both determined that we did not know, but I was going to give a donation regardless. In addition, Shelly wanted me to do a post about this. I stammered and said that I couldn’t. In her assertively charming way, Shelly said, “Then I will!” What follows is Shelly’s guest post and I thank her, for more reasons than I can possibly count.

Shelly and Cher at Thanksgiving

—cher

Thanksgiving 2010: Giving Thanks for Love, Peace & Power Warriors

By Shelly Todd, Esq.

Most Thanksgiving messages are shared on or before Thanksgiving Day, this message comes as a reflection of the priceless experience of dinner this year with my beloved Donovan and Duncombe family.  Actually, Morris Dees, courageous founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center has already taken the best words out of my heart and mouth when he presented:

Ms. Cheryl Duncombe a Certificate of Appreciation “In recognition of your important contribution to the ongoing fight against hatred and intolerance in America.”

Thank you, Mr. Dees, for recognizing my friend in this wonderful way.  Cheryl (Cher) has always had a gift of seeing straight through to the heart of matters. The Native American culture might opine that she carries powerful Lynx medicine, or the clairvoyant like ability to see past social masks and into the heart of any matter. To mime a description that Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison wrote about Morris Dees, that’s what I love about Cheryl, “a white friend of mine” in South West Pennsylvania.  I don’t know what criteria Mr. Dees used for presenting the certificate accompanied by an artful letter from Ms. Morrison, and don’t care. My lawyer cynicism had to step out of the way in face of the fact that Cheryl truly is one of the few people I’ve ever met, black or white, who has always walked the talk of love and compassion.

I have known Cheryl for most of my African American Woman life.  The article she wrote about my “Big Mama’s Medicine Bag” eloquently tells the story of our friendship. Cheryl’s phenomenal gift of transcendence came to light after my encountering many people, both black & white, liberal and conservative, who were imprisoned by the learning and conditioning of white supremacy and privilege.  The conservatives tried to justify or affirm the illusion through bigotry and hatred, and liberals tried to deny their personal supremacist notions through sweet and smothering control of the agenda.  I know, it is complicated. We are witnessing these phenomena as we see President Obama and the Institution of the Presidency attacked from the hateful, bigoted right, while the left (except Jon Stewart) have more sublimely undermined the cause by their loud silence.

I can tell you that Cheryl, like Morris Dees, has always walked the way of the Southern Eagle, exemplifying “many virtues, including transcendence of self.”  She naturally acts and reacts on behalf of others.  She has always aspired “to help those who need help, not out of some self-righteous moralism or religious guilt, but rather from the enlightened perspective that all life is sacred”.*   Do not get me wrong, Cheryl would tell someone violating these principals to ‘kiss her Irish” in a heart beat and be prepared to “duke it out” if it came to that.  We were fortunate, however, to be growing up in time when physical violence was not defined as an affirmation of power.

Thank You Mr. Dees, for what you do and have done to eliminate hatred and intolerance in America.  Thank You Toni Morrison for reaching out to rally the powerful love-warriors to the call.  Thank You Cheryl Donovan Duncombe for being who you are and sharing such enduring and endearing friendship.

*From Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams & David Carson, 1988 Bear & Company Sante Fe New Mexico.

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38 Comments »

  • Emm said:

    Wow Cher! Firstly, you’re lovely and i will always think of you as Cheryl now. But yes, if anyone deserves this then you do. Toni Morrison is an icon, an amazing and inspirational woman but so are you! Well done.

  • admin (author) said:

    Dearest Emm,
    Thanks so much for your humbling words, but as a very young woman, you have now picked up the mantle and are serving causes of battling injustice extremely well. It is I who am proud of you! And…no one has called me “Cheryl” since high school, when I first met Shelly.

    Carry on, my young Sister!
    Hugs~~~

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  • Judie said:

    Great piece, Shelly! Cher is certainly deserving of the award, and much more! She is a kind and loving friend, empathetic and tenderhearted. I am honored to have her as my sister of the heart.

  • Sojourner Peace said:

    Ditto Judie!

  • Richard Keefe said:

    The really sad thing about thing about the Southern Poverty Law Center is that NOT ONE of its top ten, highest paid executives is a minority.

    SPLC:Whites Only

    In fact, according to the SPLC’s hometown newspaper, the Montgomery Advertiser, despite being located LITERALLY in the back yard of Dr. Martin Luther King’s home church, the SPLC has NEVER hired a person of color to a highly paid position of power.

    Someone should ask Mr. Dees about that uncomfortable legacy.

  • admin (author) said:

    Richard Keefe,
    I would invite you to look at the SPLC’s Board of Directors:
    http://www.splcenter.org/who-we-are/board-of-directors and at their Senior Program Staff:
    http://www.splcenter.org/who-we-are/leadership

    Furthermore, having looked at your website which seems exclusively aimed at denigrating the SPLC, I must wonder what your own agenda may be.

  • Sojourner Peace said:

    Thank You Cher for providing Richard Keefe some Truth that may set him free. It’s his choice.
    Sojourner

  • admin (author) said:

    I would like to add my own caveat here. Though I did receive this certificate BEFORE I donated to the SPLC, there may be some reason that I received it other than the countless posts which I have done to fight hatred and intolerance in America. Perhaps it was a bid for a donation. The point is, this is a cause in which I staunchly believe and will continue this fight for all my days. I am proud to support the SPLC, as I am proud to support other causes of like ilk. Any foundation will have top-paid COO’s. I have written to the SPLC and requested that they address Mr. Richard Keefe’s allegations. Keep in mind, however, that his comments sound like so much sour grapes to me.

    Many people give to the United Way. As with any charity, those at the top get paid substantially. As long as the SPLC is fighting the good fight, which they are, I will continue to support them. If you donate to your church, for example, does some of that money not go to the priest or minister? We need to choose our causes wisely, knowing that in any major advocacy group there is probably some in-fighting, even within religious organizations. That does not mean, however, that such groups are not worthy of our support. The SPLC is rich in advocacy history. Long may they fight the good fight.

  • Richard Keefe said:

    With all due respect, if you look at page 7 of the SPLC’s most recent IRS Form 990, their tax return, as it were, you’ll see that, with the exception of SPLC co-founder Joe Levin, all of the Directors are unpaid advisers with no impact on the SPLC’s day-to-day operations.

    Who We Are

    In fact, on page 132 of his 1991 autobiography, “A Season For Justice,” Morris Dees writes that when he first opened the SPLC in 1971 he needed a “name” for his first fund-raising letters. Although he had never met Julian Bond, Dees called him out of the blue and offered him what Dees called the “largely honorary position” of President of the SPLC.

    I’ll leave the reader to consider why a legitimate civil rights leader like Julian Bond would lend his name to two white Alabama lawyers he had never heard of for nothing, but my guess is that this was a classic case of a paid celebrity endorsement.

    Mr. Bond gets two paragraphs in Mr. Dees’ 300 page book and is never mentioned again, so you can imagine what great influence he exerted as “honorary president,” much less as an honorary adviser.

    Furthermore, in 1994, Dan Morse of the Montgomery Advertiser noted that almost all of the SPLC’s directors were longtime friends and associates of Mr. Dees, which is hardly conducive to the regulatory nature of most Boards of Directors.

    Dan Morse, “Friendly Board,” Montgomery Advertiser, February 19, 1994.

    As part of the same investigative series in 1994, Dan Morse also documented the lack of minorities in top paying positions at the SPLC.

    Dan Morse, “Equal Treatment? No blacks in center’s leadership,” Montgomery Advertiser, February 16, 1994.

    In fact, Mr. Morse reports that both of the two black lawyers hired by the SPLC quit soon after, citing what they called a “plantation mentality” at all levels.

    And finally, as for Lecia Brooks, I again refer you to the IRS Form 990 where the names and salaries of the top 11 SPLC executives are listed. The lowest salary on that list is roughly half of the next compensation package listed, and our Ms. Brooks does not make the list. It’s safe to assume that she is paid far less than the top ten.

    I know this information is uncomfortable to many people. It comes directly from Morris Dees’ own autobiography, the SPLC’s own IRS Form 990 and from the Montgomery Advertiser, the SPLC’s hometown newspaper.

    I’ve cited my sources, and the Dan Morse articles, as well as Mr. Dees’ autobiography, are easily available from your local library through their Interlibrary Loan service, which is how I got my copies.

    I’ll even go so far as to concede that I may be dead wrong, but looking at the data I have cited with a critical eye, if things are not as I have described them, Mr. Dees and the SPLC must have gone to great lengths to make them appear so.

    Look at the same data and tell me what you come up with.

    Richard.

  • Richard Keefe said:

    “I have written to the SPLC and requested that they address Mr. Richard Keefe’s allegations.”

    I commend you for looking into the matter and I look forward to hearing their response.

    I would offer one caveat, however. Please pay close attention to how much time they spend refuting my allegations categorically versus how much time they spend attacking the messenger.

    The SPLC knows who I am and have commented on my posts several times before. They have called me many things, but they have yet to call me inaccurate.

    Either they have hired minorities to highly paid positions of power in the past 39 years or they haven’t.

    If they have, I will recant and apologize on the spot.

  • admin (author) said:

    Richard,
    I am awaiting my copy of Morris Dee’s latest book in the mail and that should help me to further address your questions. Much of the information you cite comes from 1991 and 1994. I am more interested in what is happening today. As to Julian Bond “lending his name,” I have no problem with that. Many advocacy groups approach notable leaders to support their cause, particularly as they are getting off the ground. And just how is it that you know…Julian Bond never heard of the “two white lawyers”? Could it be that they are/were highly qualified? Or are you now discriminating against white people who take on advocacy roles?

    I agree with Shelly in her original post that many whites tried to take over such causes for their own agendas. I find that despicable. You must realize, however, that among whites (and I am certainly one) are many who simply seek to end this outrageous injustice. All you need to do is look back through the many posts I have written here to know that is part of who I am. I say that, completely without self-aggrandizement, and only to make you aware that these issues also impact our society as a whole. Therefore, advocacy groups and many voices are needed in this effort.

    I do thank you for your input, but the nagging question for me remains, why is this the sole focus of your efforts? Perhaps you are withholding valuable insights which may better help us to understand your stance against the SPLC.

    In my research of Morris Dees, a white man by the way, let me quote the following reference:

    “In his native Alabama, Dees successfully used the courts to sue the Klan. Not only were Klan leaders convicted of breaking the law, they were stripped of their assets and left virtually penniless. In one case, a unique aspect of the court-imposed settlement mandated that the leader of the racist assaults was required to attend a Brotherhood seminar convened by the husband of an African American woman who was the target of their attack. In Georgia, Klansmen had to pay $100,000 to their intended victims and their office equipment was transferred to the Raleigh branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1984 Dees won a $7 million lawsuit against the United Klan following the lynching of an African American man by Klansmen. The suit forced the United Klan of America out of business.

    The White Patriot Party, a paramilitary off-shoot of the KKK, had by the early 1980s some two thousand members who terrorized minorities in the Carolinas and Virginia. Some of the followers were actually active members in the United States Armed Forces. In 1985 legal action by Klanwatch against the group’s leader, Glen Miller, led to the uncovering of thousands of dollars worth of explosives, including rockets stolen from the military, which were destined to be used in a “race war.” Later, a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raid thwarted an assassination plot by Miller and his followers to kill Dees. As a result of the legal steps brought against them, the White Patriot Party no longer exists.

    The legal and social basis of Dees’ crusade can be shown in his summation before a Mobile, Alabama, court in 1987: “I do not want you to come back with a verdict against the Klan because they have unpopular beliefs. In this country you have the right to have unpopular beliefs just as long as you don’t turn those beliefs into violent actions that interfere with someone else’s rights. … But they put a rope around Michael MacDonald’s neck and treated him to an actual death … so they could get out their message. … You have an opportunity to send a different message that will ring out all over Alabama and all over the United States: That an all white jury from the heart of the South will not tolerate racial violence in any way, shape or form. ….” The jury found for the African American plaintiff and fixed damages at $7 million.

    In the Southern Poverty Law Center’s first quarter century the largest amount awarded by a court to the heirs and victims of a racist murder was the 1988 decision in Oregon to assess damages of $12 million against White Aryan Resistance leader Tom Metzger. His skinhead followers had murdered an Ethiopian immigrant. Obviously, money cannot compensate for murder and mayhem, but Dees had a remarkable track record in using the American justice system to financially bankrupt the groups and hate mongers who strove to promote racism in the United States.”

    http://www.answers.com/topic/morris-dees

    This is indeed a man I can support, even though he is white.

  • admin (author) said:

    Richard,
    I am just a lowly blogger, but this blog reaches approximately 250,000 readers per month. Whether or not the SPLC will respond to me remains to be seen. Nevertheless, you have provided some interesting dialogue. Let us try to remain open-minded, with the knowledge that we need an organized group with lots of money, to take on cases of such large proportions.

  • Trulyfool said:

    Cher,

    I, too, am baffled by the sending — I’ve gotten appeals from Dees and once in a while have sent money, but this is a kind of notice beyond that.

    Those of us who read ‘askcher.com’ know where your heart and energy goes. You deserve recognition. Let’s all wish what you wish for!

    Trulyfool

  • Sojourner Peace said:

    Let us continue to keep our hearts and minds open, as we blog through America’s dilemma of eradicating its peculiar brands of hatred and intolerance.
    Bravo Cher and Richard Keefe for having the temerity to broach the silent question: Of what significance is it that top management at SPLC includes or does not include African-Americans?
    I would put that question to you both as well as Mr. Dees.
    Sojourner

  • admin (author) said:

    Trulyfool,
    Thank you, my friend, for your kind sentiments. The truth about all of this is that I just don’t know. They did not have to send that certificate. At the bottom of a six page letter from Toni Morrison was a request for a donation in order to have my name added to a wall at the SPLC as a testament to those who fight injustice. Do I want my name on there? Sure. Perhaps one day my children will see it long after I am gone and they will be inspired to pick up the mantle and continue the fight. I do believe that if they had only sent me a request for a donation, I would gladly have sent one anyway. In these times of economic downturn, many charities are suffering and even food pantries are depleted. So in some ways, it is a moot point. The fight will continue here regardless. I do thank you, TF, truly…I do.

  • Richard Keefe said:

    I am always open to intelligent dialog such as this. As I mentioned, I’m only responding to what I read from SPLC sources.

    The quote you provided is interesting, but to be fair, it was written BY the SPLC’s public relations department. If I may, I’d like to respond to parts of it.

    Morris Dees was absolutely an innovator when it came to suing racist groups like the Klan for the actions of their followers. I will not deny it, but let’s look at the whole picture.

    In every case, the SPLC has filed a CIVIL suit, not a criminal suit, meaning everyone involved had already been tried and sentenced in a criminal court. The SPLC has never caused a single racist to be arrested or imprisoned.

    Granted, the SPLC has won some very large settlements against these groups, but in reality, the victims collect next to nothing as these groups have no assets.

    In the meantime, the SPLC plays up their show trials in their fund-raising propaganda, raking in millions of dollars in donations. Take the 1984 case against the United Klans for example.

    (Incidentally, you’ve noted that all of my previous sources were from the 90′s and yet every case mentioned in your post is from the 80s… just saying.)

    In the United Klans case, two United Klansmen spotted 19 year old Michael Donald walking home from the corner store. The Klan thugs enticed Donald into their car, drove him to a secluded spot where they beat him to death. They later hung his body from a tree, which, not to put too fine a point on it, is not the same thing as lynching. It doesn’t excuse the murder in any way, but lets stick to the actual facts.

    Long after both of the murderers had been tried, convicted and sentenced, one to life and the other to death, the SPLC moved in with a civil suit. During that case, Morris Dees sent out thousands of photos of Michael Donald’s bloated corpse to his donor list.

    Now, while the jury in the trial had every right to see those photos, the donors did not. The donors had no impact on the case. Keep in mind that all SPLC lawyers are already on the payroll and actual court costs, especially in smaller jurisdictions like Alabama, run in to a few thousand dollars at most.

    In a 2000 article in Harper’s Magazine, investigative journalist Ken Silverstein reported that the jury awarded Michael Donald’s mother $7 million dollars from the United Klans, however, the UKA didn’t have anything like that amount in assets.

    In the end, Silverstein reports, Mrs. Donald received a warehouse which was sold for $52,000 dollars while the SPLC took in $11 million dollars in donations, of which Mrs. Donald received nothing. This is the same pattern for all SPLC show trials. Morris Dees exploited the photo of Michael Donald’s corpse for his own gain.

    http://wp.me/pCLYZ-14

    You mention that you are comfortable with Julian Bond’s celebrity endorsement, and that’s fair enough. I only mentioned him because you made the case that the SPLC has hired minorities to high paying executive positions, which I contend they never have.

    And finally, if by Morris Dees’ latest book, you are referring to “A Lawyer’s Life,” keep in mind it is nothing more than a 2003 reprint of “A Season for Justice,” with one final chapter tacked on the end. Otherwise, it is a verbatim reprint. Either way, you’ll find the events I’ve cited.

    I very much appreciate this opportunity to enter into thoughtful dialog. As mentioned, I keep open the possibility that I’m entirely wrong. All I know is what I read from the SPLC and the experts.

    Richard.

  • admin (author) said:

    Sojourner Peace,
    I agree with you. It is of some importance that we know whether top management at the SPLC includes African-Americans. If not, I would be sorely disappointed. But in my heart I believe that this organization offers the best in its fight against hatred and injustice. I cannot think of another organization that is so pro-active.

  • Sojourner Peace said:

    Cher, I see your point, who gets paid is an important aspect of determining how an organization walks its talk. I too have given to SPLC over the years and once my personal economy starts growing I will give again. I breathe by the principles of eradicating hatred and intolerance, and the Teaching Tolerance materials generated by the SPLC are some of the best I’ve seen.
    Sojourner

  • ChrisJ said:

    Whatever the truth is about SPLC, the truth here is that you should be recognized for work you do.Thanksgiving is a good time to share this.

    Belated Happy Thanksgiving to you.

  • admin (author) said:

    Richard,
    You certainly have opened up an interesting discussion. The one hope that all of us share is that hatred and injustice in this country be eradicated. In the troubling times in which we now live, I see this escalating. When I was an Investigator I saw the Klan first hand in 2003. It was a frightening reality and only 60 miles from the city in which I live. The fight must continue, even as we hear political rhetoric that lynches minorities subliminally and figuratively. Who knows how far this will go. In my lifetime I have never seen nor heard such vile rhetoric disguised as political punditry.

  • admin (author) said:

    Sojourner Peace,
    The SPLC has and does, no doubt, serve a good purpose. What other organization goes to the wall as they do? Tolerance must be taught, but more than that, it must be instilled in our youth of today. Groups can only do so much. Parental influence is key. You have always ‘walked the talk’ and you have influenced many along the way. Let us be open to the SPLC and hope that the principles they speak are the principles they practice.

  • admin (author) said:

    Chris J,
    Thank you for always being so supportive. I give thanks for you even, as I wish you a belated Happy Thanksgiving!

  • admin (author) said:

    A friend sent me this link to SPLC’s Wall of Tolerance. Do I want my name on there for the small donation I sent? It would be a complete honor.
    http://www.splcenter.org/civil-rights-memorial/wall-tolerance

    If you will stand against hatred and injustice in America, I would urge you to do likewise.

    cher

  • Judie said:

    I know only too well what the words “thoughtful dialogue” mean, and I think this may have gone far enough. I have great admiration for Cher and her values. Nothing more needs to be said here, other than “we love you, Cher, for all you do for others.”

  • admin (author) said:

    Judie,
    I thank you, my sister, for all that you are.

    Hugs~~

  • Richard Keefe said:

    Cher,

    Thank you again for the opportunity to present an opposing view. It’s a rare thing indeed when people can communicate directly with one another with respect and candor.

    Richard

  • admin (author) said:

    Richard,
    On this blog we make every attempt to be open to views other than our own. People can disagree without being disagreeable, and it becomes a learning process for all. Blogging should be about open communication. The best part of blogging for me has always been within the comments, and always with respect, though at times I can be a bit salty—more for humor than anything else. We need to be able to find the laughter within our souls, especially in dire times. I am happy that you weighed in.

  • RE-BadGalsRadio said:

    Cher You Deserve the Honor Girlfriend.
    You’ve certainly put it out there for-real, always.

    I’m reading the comments made by Richard Keefe; and asking myself – has the word Poverty escaped the conversation ?
    also what about the fact that the SPLC represents anyone
    who is dealing with a Hate Crime ?

    If the attorneys who work at the SPLC are working on hate
    crimes cases – what does their race have to do with their
    representation ?

    I’m not understanding Mr. Keefe’s assertions that because they aren’t minorities, … what is he talking about ?
    these guys work for anybody without regard to their race,creed or other classification.

    did he also look at the sexual makeup disparities and the sexual choices as well ? what is he talking about ?

  • admin (author) said:

    RE,
    Thank you, and you have brought up some excellent questions. I would most appreciate Mr. Keefe’s responses. The volley is to you now, Sir.

  • Lynda Lehmann said:

    Congratulations, Cher! It’s a cherished keepsake, for sure. Nice to meet somebody who walks the walk!

    Your awareness shows in your writing, so I’m not surprised that you’ve taken a stand on “things.”

  • admin (author) said:

    Lynda,
    You are so kind and your thoughts are touching. Thank you…..

  • Juliana said:

    I can’t comment on the legal/injustice/political stuff as I am not American so have little knowledge.
    However, I do know that you Cher are willing to be counted, to speak out and to challenge.
    You know, it was said that Mother Theresa used to know exactly how to press the guilt/conscience button in the powerful, and she did that by her constant example of love and compassion and above all by ‘keeping it simple’.
    Bless you lovely lady.

  • admin (author) said:

    Juliana,
    Thank you for your encouraging words and for the tears that now glisten in my eyes.

    Love,
    cher

  • Richard Keefe said:

    Hi, Cher,

    I thought this thread was closed or I would have responded to Re’s questions a couple of days ago (at the risk of taxing Judie’s tolerance for “thoughtful dialog”).

    Again, maybe it’s just me, but there’s something about the fact that the SPLC is headquartered in Montgomery, home to Rosa Parks, and is located in Dr. King’s own backyard but in 40 years has NEVER hired a minority to a highly paid position of power that just doesn’t seem right.

    Some of your readers seem to be fine with that fact. I’ve had progressive folks on other blogs even say things like “Well, maybe no minorities have ever applied…” (for a six-digit salary job at “the nation’s leading civil rights group,” in nearly 40 years…)

    I guess that could happen.

    Others have said “Maybe no QUALIFIED people of color have ever applied…” (in nearly 40 years…) I don’t even dignify those remarks with a reply. The scary thing is that these folks have been progressives.

    Cognitive dissonance is a beautiful thing.

    When we last spoke, Cher, you said you had contacted the SPLC about my allegations. I’d be interested to hear what they had to say.

    Re, the fact is that the SPLC doesn’t “represent people dealing with hate crimes.” Hate crime cases are criminal cases and are brought by the government.

    The SPLC steps in to these cases AFTER the criminal cases have been closed, and then they bring civil suits. As I mentioned earlier, these showy trials often result in huge awards to the victims, but they usually don’t see much actual cash because the defendants are broke.

    Meanwhile, the SPLC plays up the trials in their fund-raising letters and rake in millions, of which the victims get nothing.

    Granted, something is better than nothing for the victims, but the SPLC is always the big winner.

    I know no one here will believe me, but in his autobiography, Morris Dees writes of his time as “Youth Coordinator” for Gov. George “Segregation Forever” Wallace.

    When a bus carrying a dozen Freedom Riders was attacked in Montgomery by the Klan, it was Morris Dees who represented the head Klan thug, Claude Henley.

    Attorney General Bobby Kennedy had Henley arraigned on Civil Rights abuse charges, but thanks to his sharp lawyer, Henley walked out of the courtroom scot-free, Morris Dees cashed a fat check from the local Klan and White Citizens Council, and Henley’s victims got nothing, least of all justice.

    http://wp.me/pCLYZ-F

    The fact is, Morris Dees has gotten more Klan thugs OUT of prison than he’s ever sent there.

    Re, I’m not sure what you mean by “sexual disparities and choices,” but if you’d expand on that thought I’d be happy to reply.

    Richard

  • Richard Keefe said:

    Also, Cher,

    Since you mentioned that you’ve sent money to the SPLC and Re wonders if I keep missing the “poverty” part of the SPLC’s brand name, I’d just like to add a few facts on that subject:

    In 1994, Morris Dees vowed that he would stop all fund-raising when the SPLC’s bloated Endowment Fund hit the $100 million dollar mark, which it did by 2002.

    And yet the fund-raising letters went out like clockwork.

    In 2008, the Endowment Fund broke the $200 million dollar mark.

    And yet the fund-raising letters went out like clockwork.

    Last year the SPLC’s total annual expenses came to $29 million dollars, $5.3 million of which went to fund-raising (compared with the measly $1.1 million that actually went to legal case costs).

    Total donations exceeded $31 million and the Endowment Fund grew by $39 million in tax-free interest. That’s $70 million dollars combined. Not bad for a “non-profit”

    This means that the SPLC could have met all of its operations costs and STILL dumped $10 million tax-free dollars into the Endowment Fund… without soliciting a single dime.

    The whole reason Morris Dees set up the Endowment Fund in 1974 was to do that very thing… free the SPLC from having to solicit donations.

    If you subtract the $5.3 million in fund-raising costs, (which would no longer be necessary), the SPLC could have paid all the bills and still dumped $15 million into the bank.

    For every $100 check some well-meaning, blue-haired lady sends the SPLC, $40 dollars go toward salaries, $3.70 cents goes toward legal case costs…

    and $19 dollars go toward getting Granny to cut the NEXT hundred dollar check.

    http://wp.me/pCLYZ-6I

    In short, the SPLC doesn’t NEED your donations. They didn’t even spend all of the money people sent them last year. They realized a $2 million dollar profit right out of the donor pot.

    The American Institute of Philanthropy gives the SPLC a grade of “F” for their lopsided funds-to-programs ratio.

    Charity Navigator only gives the SPLC 2 out of 4 stars for their 19% fund-raising costs.

    http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=4482

    The SPLC has not earned the Better Business Bureau’s “Wise Giving” seal of approval in years, “…due to a lack of commitment to transparency.”

    http://www.bbb.org

    Again, I know no one here will believe me, but these philanthropic watchdog groups must know what they’re talking about.

    Richard

  • RE- BadGalsRadio.com said:

    Richard you seem to have alot of good points,
    so why not expose them for crooks if you feel they are ?

  • Richard Keefe said:

    Re, that kind of takes us around full-circle. This whole conversation began because I do try to present this information to people who are usually unaware of the full story of the SPLC.

    I replied to Cher’s original post over a week ago and she has been gracious enough to put up with my long-winded posts ever since.

    I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I’ve put the information I’ve found on a blog, http://rkeefe57.wordpress.com/ , where people can see it for themselves.

    I could certainly be wrong on every point, but so far nobody, especially not the SPLC, has refuted any of my sources.

    People call me a lot of things, but “inaccurate” hasn’t been one of them…lol

    Take care,

    Richard

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