RESIDENTS WARNED TO BE WARY OF OUT-OF-STATE CHARITY REQUEST

RESIDENTS WARNED TO BE WARY OF OUT-OF-STATE CHARITY REQUEST

Several Doña Ana County residents may already have received solicitations from a purported charitable organization called the “Foundation for Disabled Firefighters New Mexico Campaign.”
At the request of the Doña Ana County Fire Marshal and Manager’s offices, the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General researched the organization responsible for sending the solicitations.
Although the solicitations carry an Albuquerque address, the attorney general’s office has determined that the foundation’s headquarters are located in Fullerton, California. All contributions sent to the Albuquerque address are automatically forwarded to California.
“The organization does not report any financial support for the aid of New Mexico disabled firefighters,” according to David Moore, registrar of charitable organizations for the attorney general’s office. “The largest beneficiary of the financial support was Mike Estrada, who received $8,299 or about 31 percent of the total grants to disabled firefighters. Estrada is the president of the Foundation for Disabled Firefighters.”
Moore’s letter to Doña Ana County also indicates that the foundation raised $1.8 million in contributions in its 1997-98 fund-raising year. Of those revenues, $29,418 (less than 2 percent) was allocated as aid to disabled firefighters. More than 97 percent of revenue – about $1.75 million – was spent on fund-raising costs.
“We hope charitable-minded residents of Doña Ana County will pay close attention to solicitations of this type and, if they have questions, seek the guidance of the local fire marshal’s office,” said County Fire Marshal Adolf Zubia. “If not for a concerned resident showing us this flyer, we would not have known to ask the attorney general’s office about the legitimacy of the request.”
The foundation’s flyer is printed in red and black ink on an 8 ½ x 14-inch white paper, and it is accompanied by a non-stamped envelope.