Brian Lombrowski, president of CAFETY, revealed the duplicitous nature of his organization when he mailed a letter to thousands of residents in our area last fall. Agree or disagree with the mission to expand youth rights, we will always recognize the validity of organizations to champion causes. This action of waging a smear campaign against those who do not completely agree with them is wrong and outside the activities permissible under the non-profit laws.
The smear letter CAFETY sent claimed The Family Foundation School is under federal investigation. This is untrue. This intentional attempt to create a negative image of FFS within our community based on a fabrication is an act that each member of the board of directors of CAFETY is personally accountable for based on their non-profit status and the laws that govern CAFETY’s activities.
The letter then crafted snippets of “testimonies” Lombrowski has collected that highlighted FFS staff members by name in an unfavorable light. The effect of such actions is notable and more than a little bit ironic. Staff members received death threats citing the letter. The actions of an organization committed to the ethical treatment of youth also led to the children of these staff members becoming targets of ridicule in their own public school classrooms.
Another tangential question gets raised and this relates to CAFETY’s active pursuit of gathering testimonies from program participants. Does such an activity further the mission of the organization or is it driven by the need to find more ammunition for the smear campaign? True to their mission they have been supporting legislation in Washington. While CAFETY is clearly becoming impatient with politics in Washington, we are noticing CAFETY’s mission creep. They are now taking it upon themselves to declare war on programs that they have publicly listed. This is more than questionable from a non-profit governance angle. The government does not allow for tax deductible donations to be used to incite death threats, to republish slanderous accusations, or to commit acts of defamation.
Brian Lombrowski closed his letter, a duplicate of the ad he ran the year before in our local newspaper, asking people to contact him. Notably, some four months later, while still celebrating on Wikipedia their action of mailing these letters, CAFETY has not been able to share the results of generating any public feedback they supposedly were seeking. The silence on their part regarding lack of evidence is telling, but to admit to that does not fit their agenda.
Non-profit organizations are granted the ability to solicit tax-deductible donations for the furthering of their stated missions. The legal counsel guiding CAFETY will recognize the legitimacy of the concerns raised here and well as the vulnerability of the board members and their personal assets as the result of such actions. The concern extends also to Mr. Lombrowski’s actions contacting professionals in our field and making the claim that The Family Foundation School is beyond help. An amazing claim from someone who has never visited, indeed declined the invitation to visit, the very program he is condemning.
It was an interesting thing to have been the first organization to call out CAFETY on their questionable activities. While visiting with colleagues last week at a conference we received overwhelming support. Even more notable we received grateful feedback from the other programs that are being treated in similar ways by CAFETY.