Fast Track To Nowhere: Few 9/11 Groups Still in Operation

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A study by The NonProfit Times has found that more than one-third of the organizations that received fast-tracked approval by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) after the September 11 terror attacks can’t be located and are assumed to have ceased operations. Another 38 organizations are known to have closed their doors. The full story leads the publication’s September 1 issue.

A study by The NonProfit Times has found that more than one-third of the organizations that received fast-tracked approval by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) after the September 11 terror attacks can’t be located and are assumed to have ceased operations. Another 38 organizations are known to have closed their doors. The full story leads the publication’s September 1 issue.

Only 23 of those located were still operational and 18 of the organizations identified by the IRS as having been fast-tracked were actually already in operation or not necessarily related to the terror attacks.

In 125 cases during The NPT investigation, contact was made with the lawyer who signed the federal documents or someone simply answered the telephone with a “hello.” In those cases messages were left and not returned.

The NonProfit Times requested from the IRS the filing information for organizations that were fast-tracked by the federal agency that oversees charitable operations. The IRS provided a disc titled “Expedited EO Disaster Relief Application Cases,” with 303 files. Reporters and editors of The NonProfit Times then set out to find the organizations via telephone, email, Web searches and in-person visits. They found:

  • 303 nonprofits are listed by the IRS on its files of organizations receiving expedited 501(c)(3) approval after September 11, 2001;
  • 38 of those organizations have ceased operations, as reported to The NonProfit Times by individuals knowledgeable about them;
  • 23 of the 303 organizations are still in operation, although they might have altered or expanded their mission since 2001;
  • 99 organizations could not be reached by telephone (in some cases with a follow-up email). The NonProfit Times sent a letter to each one of those organizations;
  • Of those 99 letters, 28 were returned by the U.S. Postal Service as undeliverable, and 71 were never returned. Of those 71, one organization called in response to the letter;
  • 18 organizations included by the IRS on the list had nothing to do with September 11 or added it to their missions because it happened when they were being formed;
  • 125 were presumed reached by telephone but did not return messages. It is only presumed that they were reached because the telephones were not answered with the name of the organizations or a message was left for the attorney who filed the organization’s paperwork.

The IRS declined to provide a spokesperson for interview. The IRS responded through its media relations office that its Exempt Organizations Examinations office established a Review of Operations Unit to follow groups that the IRS believes might not operate properly, or in the case of newly approved groups, that it believes should be monitored.

For the complete story, call (973) 401-0202 immediately or http://www.nptimes.com on September 1.

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John Mcilquham
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