Houston—well, Swamplot, anyway—has been abuzz as Extreme Makeover visited to build a new dream McMansion for an allegedly deserving family.
I don’t watch the show. In general, I am highly suspect of Cinderella-style philanthropy-as-entertainment. It just isn’t sustainable. I’m not the only grouch. Numerous articles and commentators have pointed out the Extreme Financial Hard Times that frequently befall Extreme Makeover “winners.”
I groaned, but quietly and to myself, when I read that the lucky couple, parents to five girls, run a small nonprofit.
Who the hell doesn’t run a small nonprofit?
But hey, that’s just my gripe. I didn’t even bother to look into it.
Tonight, however, I wondered.
Plus, I was forced to sit in the kitchen while the dogs ate, because they won’t eat if I’m not within 5 feet of them. I know, spoiled. At least I don’t feed them by hand.
Anyway . . . I looked into it.
Optimum Lifestyle Unlimited. First, I checked Guidestar to look at the most recent IRS 990, the tax form all 501(c)(3) nonprofits are required to file. No data. They must be too new to have a 990 on file, I thought, and there’s often a lag.
But, the agency does show up in Guidestar, which says it was founded in 2007.
Surely (and of course) they have a website? Flashy, and not much content, but enough to make me rush to the blog cave.
Optimum Lifestyle Community Development Center
Vision & Mission
Optimum Lifestyle Community Development Center is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit corporation whose mission and vision is to build and fortify the institution of marriage and family. To equip singles and families with the essential tools for forming and maintaining healthy relationships that have a positive impact on our communities that will last for generations. Through innovative, interactive, educational opportunities we challenge singles and families to discover, develop, and explore core values that produce healthy productive relationships.
So how, exactly, does that square with their work as a CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTER?
Don’t even get me started.
ABC, Extreme Home Makeover, and all of the local businesses involved want us to rally around a home-based nonprofit with a crisis pregnancy center that says “those who labor [sic] as pregnancy center board members, directors, and volunteers” are “expected to know Christ as their Savior and Lord,” are not expected to have any medical background? And expressly slut-shames single women:
The pregnancy center does not recommend, provide, or refer single women for contraceptives. (Married women seeking contraceptive information should be urged to seek counsel, along with their husbands, from their pastor and/or physician.)
Got that, single ladies? Put a ring on it before you put a NuvaRing in it, and please bring your husband with you when you go for your annual exam at your pastor and/or ob/gyn’s office.
If you click on the support tab, which is the one place on the site (as far as I can determine) that links to the info about their CPC work, you are also promised this:
For a gift of at least $5 you will receive a finance packet full of money secrets that will enhance your financial future.
Wow. Five dollars for a ” packet full of money secrets?”
Here’s a money secret: spend that $5 on contraception and reap the rewards of not having to spend money coping with the consequences of an intended, unwanted pregnancy.
I’m deeply skeptical about the legitimacy of this nonprofit. The website offers no information about governance, many of the links are dead, and pages like the FAQ contain, instead of actual frequently-asked questions, a form that solicits information about you and the kind of information you are seeking.
But the Paypal link for your tax-deductible donation?
Does anybody else know about this?
Do the people who devoted their time, talent, and money to this project know about it?
What do you think?