Gaia Scam in Peoria

Green boxes litter the properties of small businesses in Peoria. Many small business owners have been approached by volunteers of the Gaia Movement asking to place their clothes and shoes collection boxes on the owner's property. According to the Better Business Bureau, the Gaia Movement does not qualify as a non-profit organization, as they claim to the small business owners, because they do not spend enough of their income on “program activities” (charity).

From: bbb.com
“Standard 8: Program Service Expense Ratio - Spend at least 65% of its total expenses on program activities.
GAIA does not meet this Standard because according to the organization's audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2007, the organization spent $12,200 or 1% of its total expenses ($1,140,881) on program service activities.” (http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/national/environment/gaia-movement-living-earth-green-world-action-usa-in-chicago-il-15815)

The above standard is just one of the seven that they failed to meet in order to be called a non-profit as they claim.

The clothes and shoes dropped into the boxes are not given away, like most givers would expect. They are sold.

From: Charitywatch.org

“Beware of Inflated Charity Efficiency Claims! A charity may even count its primary solicitation activity as a charitable program. For instance, Planet Aid [ed: related to Gaia by parent Organization, Tvind], a nonprofit group famous for its yellow outdoor collection boxes, calls the cost of collecting worn clothes, which it later sells, a program service expense. Its tax form states that its purpose is "To support development projects ... and protection of natural habitat through the recycling of used clothing." It would be like Wal-Mart claiming that its main purpose is to help low-income people have a higher standard of living by selling them less expensive merchandise. Planet Aid raises almost all of its funds by selling the donated items, rather than giving them to needy people. It only distributed $8,000 of donated goods of the $8.7 million it spent in 2004, according to its most recently available tax form. Planet Aid's 2004 audit reports two program service expenses: $6.6 million of "Clothing collection" and $2 million of "International Aid." AIP believes the cost to collect used goods for later sale is a fundraising expense and considers any possible benefit to the environment to be incidental. Planet Aid reports a 94% program ratio, whereas AIP believes the ratio earns the group an F grade at 23%.” (http://www.charitywatch.org/articles/inflated.html)

Goodwill and Salvation Army are different because the money they make stays to help the local economy.

Gaia Movement is moving across the country. When it gets kicked out of one city, it just moves to the next, like a transient scam artist of old. Gaia was started on the east coast in Massachusetts and has been expanding westward ever since. The organization was recently banned from Indianapolis.

From: Nuvo.net

“For his part, Cooper is dubious about the impact of one city's efforts on the overall operation. "I think if you squash them in your town, they'll turn up in the next town over," he says.” (http://www.nuvo.net/indianapolis/gaia-gets-the-boot-from-indy/Content?oid=1271584)

Gaia Movement is descended from Tvind.

From wikipedia.org:

“According to many critics, Gaia Movement is firmly associated with a self-styled humanitarian organization in Denmark called Teachers Group (TG) or Tvind that is actually a political cult running a transnational financial crime syndicate.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_Movement#Criticism)

I worked inside the Teachers Group in 2009 and, as a Peoria resident, am remiss to see them lying and stealing from our local philanthropists, small business owners, and charities like Goodwill, The Salvation Army, and charitable clothes collection faith-based church groups. Please help me stop them from coming here and talk to a small-business owner where you see one of these green collection boxes.

And finally, a link to a website doing all it can to inform and fight the scum that is Tvind.

From TVINDalert.com:

“Your clothes are now the property of The Teachers Group. This is not a normal charity. It is not recognized as one anywhere in the world. One of its most senior leaders has just been sent to prison for fraud (January 2009).” (http://www.tvindalert.com/the-used-clothes-scam)

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Kristi says ... on Monday, Nov 22 at 10:39 AM

Several other used-clothing collections run by Tvind in the USA: U'SAgain, Campus California TG, Institute for International Cooperation and Development, and Planet Aid. All sell their clothes through Garson & Shaw, a Tvind company. SCAM!

minty111 says ... on Monday, Nov 22 at 12:07 PM

City Council staff strongly recommends banning Gaia Movement from Peoria. This is up for vote tomorrow night at the City council meeting. My councilman said I could speak about it for 5 minutes. Should be fun.

Really? says ... on Monday, Nov 22 at 6:11 PM

Citing Wikipedia as a resource and relying on its claims as being the gospel truth, ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Go ahead and bash who you want but seriously do some real investigation. What makes Goodwill and SA any different? They all re-sell the items!

Do Some Research says ... on Tuesday, Nov 23 at 10:17 AM

Gaia is actually a certified 501c3 charity. As any non profit there 990 tax return is viewable on their website. Gaia funds environmental acts throughout the world, and supports a college that trains volunteers, whom work with needy countries.

vinnybo4 says ... on Tuesday, Nov 23 at 10:23 AM

I noticed that a lot of what you said was very inaccurate. I hate to think that a good operation is being tarnished by a pile of mis-information. You should also never quote wikipedia in your future endeavors. That is very bush league.

sally says ... on Tuesday, Nov 23 at 2:38 PM

question to Kristi - why is it a scam to sell clothes through Garson&Shaw. They are a sales office not a scam!

minty111 says ... on Tuesday, Nov 23 at 11:58 PM

LoL! Obvious gaia troll is obvious! Thanks for the added page popularity through more comments and views though! I sure hope the tv station picks this story up. Peorians would be outraged(like the local businessmen who found out they were fooled)!

Jay Bee says ... on Tuesday, Dec 14 at 10:57 AM

Good work, minty111! I wish we could get rid of them in Chicago. Boxes been popping up like mushrooms for the last 20 years. I want to paint FRAUD in big red letters on every box I see. They are parasites that mimic Goodwill.

Holly says ... on Wednesday, Jan 26 at 11:47 AM

better business bureau says the same info.not just Wiki info, Watch out for this, only 1% of moneys earned go to the "cause". not sure why they are still allowed to operate as a charity.

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