When you don a tuxedo and sit down for a fancy dinner at a black-tie fundraising gala and you make a donation, do you know where it goes?
I’ve sat through more than a few black-tie fundraisers in my lifetime, and while many have been amazing, in many more cases I’ve often wondered if they money pledged really made an impact beyond the evening’s food and entertainment. It is one of the things I’m terribly conscious of each year as we plan the annual Operation Kids Lifetime Achievement Award Galas. Part of our pledge to donors is that we follow their money all the way through to the end.
Consequently, our office was full of excitement late last week as we learned that a major child pornography sting had successfully brought in more than a dozen offenders, with as many as 18 more arrests pending, as a result of a sizeable Operation Kids donation to the Utah Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce (ICAC) – one of the nation’s premier internet predator law enforcement agencies.
The money came directly from the generous donations of corporations like XanGo and America First and the more than 800 people who attended our 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award Gala, honoring John Walsh, in October.
The ICAC team was able to fund the sting as a result of the donation. Each one of the donations played a role in the 14 arrests, seven search warrants, 37 computer seizures and 26 investigations launched into trafficking and solicitation of child pornography and underage sex.
“”We were able to get to these individuals sooner than later because of the extra funds,” -Rhett McQuiston, ICAC Commander
Dozens of predators are off the streets. Hundreds, likely thousands, of children are safer today because of the work ICAC does and because of the generosity of individuals and companies last fall.
This is why I come to work every day. This is why I believe in what Operation Kids does – because it works. Whether it is a $10 donation or a thousand dollar donation, every dollar makes an impact in a child’s life – and we strive to show the donor how.
For further details and information on the sting, here are some great articles: