Lots of profits in this non-profit organization
Posted in the McKeesport Forum
#1 Aug 9, 2012
Hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars helped fund a nonprofit organization called One Vision One Life. Now, eight years later, the organization has gone under.
The goal of One Vision One Life was to stop or limit gang violence.
Target 11 investigator Rick Earle wanted to know if the investment was really worth it and if the organization had some success.
The One Vision office downtown is locked up and the phones have been disconnected. Target 11 discovered that two dozen employees have been laid off.
Executive director Richard Garland said he lost $1 million in funding and that led to the closing.
"Do you think the funders just didn't buy into this?" asked Earle.
"I can always say that private foundations will always say they are not long time funders, but they have for 10 years. They have for 10 years and we are making a turn right now," said Garland, who expressed disappointment that he's had to suspend operations.
Garland, a former gang member from Philadelphia who turned his life around, hired community outreach workers to canvass neighborhoods and work with at-risk youngsters.
But Garland's organization took a blow this year when one of the main funders, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, pulled $300,000 and then the city of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County pulled another $300,000 combined.
In these tight financial times, Garland defended his six-figure salary and $500 per month car allowance.
"You were making about $100,000 a year. Too much for this job or worth every penny?" Earle asked.
"You know for the headaches I get every day, I mean you calling me and everybody else calling me sure. That's what's up. My biggest thing was you want my job come get it and that's always been my thing. Somebody could take my place and they still won't do all the things I do," said Garland.
"We have volunteers all over our city that spend a lot of time and they're not collecting paychecks and they are not worrying about laying off staff because they are doing it because they care," said Pittsburgh Councilmember Theresa Kail-Smith, who has repeatedly voiced concerns about the amount of tax dollar funneled not only to One Vision, but to other nonprofits as well.
During its eight years of existence, One Vision received $2.7 million in tax dollars and another $2.6 million from private foundations.
"I've often said to the groups,'I'm not worried about self preservation.' I'm worried about results. I want to see what results we are yielding for the funding we are putting out," said Kail-Smith.
A study by the Rand Corporation suggested that the organization had little impact on crime and in fact discovered increases in aggravated assaults in some neighborhoods serviced by One Vision. The study said that was likely just a coincidence and not a direct correlation.
Garland defended the charity's work, and he believes the outreach workers performed a valuable service.
"I'm going to say this emphatically that they have. The people who worked for One Vision One Life have stopped the retaliation. You are seeing it now because they are not on the streets right now," said Garland, who believes that a recent wave of violence is an indication that his workers are missed on the front lines.
One Vision had supporters such as Pittsburgh Councilman Ricky Burgess, who believes the group played a critical role that will be sorely missed.
"The function they were playing, I think, was vitally important and we need to move quickly to fill that gap in terms of those services," Burgess said.
In the meantime, Richard Garland has now moved on to a job at the University of Pittsburgh, but he's convinced there's still a need for an organization like One Vision. He said he's trying to restore funding to bring back some of the workers to keep the mission alive.
#2 Aug 9, 2012
The man who was heading this was making 6 figures!!!! A little too much don't you think??
#3 Aug 9, 2012
That's not counting the $500 per month stipend for his car lease / note.
#4 Aug 9, 2012
Iknow! Did you see that on the news? Unreal!
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