The Chicago Tribune looks inside the charity fundraising industry through the lens of a Chicago call center that keeps about 85 cents of every dollar it raises for nonprofit clients, according to financial and regulatory filings.
Safety Publications and its proprietors have been sued multiple times by Illinois regulators on accusations of misleading donors, failing to file required paperwork, and hiring felons as callers in violation of state law.
A Tribune criminal-background check found that of 56 solicitors registered by Safety since 2007, six had felony convictions, as did four callers who worked for an allegedly affiliated company. Several of Safety Publication's clients steered relatively little of the money they did receive from the telemarketer to mission-related grants and programs, according to the newspaper.
Safety Publications co-owners Adam Herdman and Arthur Olivera did not respond to requests for comment, but in a written statement Mr. Herdman said professional fundraisers "are heavily regulated by state agencies" and that Safety "works hard to comply with these laws regulating charitable solicitations in Illinois and the other states in which it solicits."