Thursday, March 7, 2013

Concrete foundation industry getting hundreds of thousands of grant proposals by mistake

NOT giving grants to charities

The US Association of Concrete Foundation Businesses is lodging a complaint with US postal authorities because it says its members are being bombarded with grant proposals from desperate charities.

The Association says a survey of more than 3,000 of its members found that nearly half had received more than one charity grant proposal by mistake every month. Twenty percent said they received more than 10 a month.

“Our members are just plain fed up with the nation’s charities sending us all their pleading, begging grant proposals by mistake,” said Association President Rocko Snidely. “We’re in the concrete foundation business for Pete’s sake, not the giving foundation business. Can’t they get it? Block heads!”

The Association says that things have gotten so bad that they can predict any member with the word “Foundation” in their name will get dozens of grant letters each year. Most are from regional charities who appear to have placed the business’ name on a mailing list by mistake.

Sid Gravel, CEO of Gravel Foundation Inc. in Plano, Texas, says he gets an average of at least one grant proposal a week.

“Ever since we updated our website we started getting these letters from charities asking our ‘foundation’ for money. I write them back saying , hey, we aren’t a foundation, we pour them to make houses and office buildings,” he said. “It’s like they just Googled the word ‘foundation” and didn’t read the results too carefully.”

Gravel says the letters are sometimes accompanied by phone calls and, in some cases, visits.

“This woman in a nice dress shows up at our concrete mixing station where we load up the trucks to go pour foundations and she asks to speak to our ‘grants manager’. Geez, we thought she was from the IRS! Gave us a heart attack. Nobody comes down there if they ain’t in jeans and wearing a hardhat!”

The complaint mirrors a class action lawsuit launched by a law firm in New York representing thousands of people across the US whose first name is “Charity”. The lawsuit, filed against more than 150 regional charities, alleges that people named Charity are being overwhelmed by grant proposals and calls.

Dibble Brewer is with Dewey, Screwem and Howe, the firm leading the class action suit. She says the charities are unfairly targeting her clients.

“In one case, Mrs. Charity Gates of Seattle, Washington got more than 1,000 letters, 50 phone calls and 5,000 emails from charities trying to contact the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” she said. “These inhuman charities are trying to drown people in grant proposals.”

A spokesman for the association which represents America’s grant writers was surprised by the allegations against the charities. She says it may explain why many of their members can’t use Google Maps when attending regional grant writing meetings and sometimes wind up in other States by mistake.

“We’ve got to do more Internet search training,” she added.