Owatonna, Minnesota United Way gives award to ‘non-profit’ leader of Somali organization
Posted by Ann Corcoran on January 24, 2016
So what, you may ask?
***Update January 26th*** Reader Momodoom reports that someone must have tipped off SACSO to get their registration with the State of Minnesota’s Sec. of State office back in compliance after readers here pointed out that the organization was legally defunct.
Ha ha! SOMEone from SACSO “just” filed for “Annual Reinstatement – Nonprofit Corporation (Domestic)” on 1/25/2016… perhaps they were alerted to their questionable status by a blog story..??
And apparently their “renewal due date” is now 12/31/2017,
This is a prime example of why I don’t always get a lot posted on my blogs (or even the most important news posted!). Some news story catches my eye and I spend way too much time looking into it. This story from OWATONNA, MN about the United Way of Steele County giving its annual ‘Live United Award’ to Somali Ibrahim Hussein is one such story.
Hussein is the founder of the Somali American Cultural Society of Owatonna (SACSO), a “non-profit organization” we are told.
For years, I’ve been interested in the mushrooming so-called ‘ethnic community self-help’ organizations that grow up in cities where large numbers of refugees are seeded. The organizations are often launched with the help of federal money through the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
I find them objectionable because their very obvious goal is to advance (“empower”) THEIR people, their ethnic group, as separate and distinct, rather than all low-income, low-skilled people being granted help together. I believe the practice actually discourages assimilation.
The story that caught my eye this morning is here at Southernminn.com (emphasis is mine):
With applause, Schaufenbuel (Kim Schaufenbuel, United Way Executive Director) took to the podium to present the organization’s annual Live United Award.
“Ibrahim Hussein is a remarkable young man,” she started. “If you have any doubts about that spend five minutes with him and ask him only one question and that question is: ‘What did you do today?’ You have no idea what can be accomplished by an average human in any given day until you do that really.”
Hussein is the founder and director of Somali American Cultural Society of Owatonna, also known as SACSO, a nonprofit organization “that’s mission is to empower Somali Americans so they can have an active role within the Owatonna community as business leaders, volunteers, public employees, educators and neighborhood participants and representatives.”
“They do that primarily by making sure children of newly arrived Somali immigrants have the tools they need to be successful and receive an education,” Schaufenbuel said. “Himself, an immigrant, coming from Kenya in 2007, Ibrahim became a Somali liaison in the school system seeing firsthand the needs of kids struggling with a new language and a new classroom experience.”
Hussein then founded SACSO in 2011 to address those needs, and he also owns his own translation and interpretation business, serves as a Human Rights Commissioner, attends Minnesota State University, Mankato as a full-time student, and is a husband and father of three children.
“The Live United Award is given each year to an agency that embodies the Live United philosophy of give, advocate and volunteer,” Schaufenbuel said. “SACSO is surely the embodiment of this philosophy.”
So, here I am (while some major refugee story could be exploding), searching for more information on SACSO and although I don’t claim to be the greatest researcher, I can usually find incorporation papers for NON-PROFIT organizations and their federal Form 990 tax returns. I can find neither for SACSO. Incorporation papers are generally filed at a state’s Secretary of State office. I suppose it is possible SACSO was incorporated as another entity, but I find nothing under its full name or its abbreviation. (If any reader finds those docs, please send them my way.)
There is no Form 990 available either (that I can find). SACSO’s website lists no board members.
In order for the donors they have listed on their website to contribute, surely they asked for proper incorporation documents and financial records including proof that the organization is an IRS approved 501(c)3 organization and is filing a Form 990.
***Update*** Reader Corinne is reporting that SACSO is defunct because it missed filing deadlines here: https://mblsportal.sos.state.mn.us/Business/SearchDetails?filingGuid=e5b78bc6-97d4-e011-a886-001ec94ffe7f
Sure hope their donors listed below are doing their due diligence.
Here are the donors to SACSO (including the United Way giving the award):
Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Lutheran Social Service: Foster Grandparent Program
Owatonna Workforce Center
Otto Bremer Foundation
United Way Of Steele County
I’m guessing they are getting some sort of grants from the State of Minnesota as well.
By the way I thought I recognized Owatonna and Somalis and sure enough I wrote about the high school there having conflicts between Somalis and American kids here in 2011. CAIR got involved. And, here we see that Owatonna is a refugee resettlement target community.
Photo: More on Hussein here.
Follow the money!
You may not find anything fishy, but you are entitled to financial information from “non-profit” organizations.
Write a letter to the United Way of Steele County, other non-profits donating to SACSO, and especially write to Ibrahim Hussein and ask for SACSO’s incorporation papers, its 501(c)3 Determination Letter from the IRS and its financial reports for the last few years (including IRS Form 990s).
This is the sort of thing citizen activists should be doing wherever you live!
Find anything fishy that taxpayers should be concerned about? Make sure what you learn is spread far and wide or else your research is a waste of time!
Update: Forgot to mention this morning as I was dashing out to cope with what the storm dumped on the farm, I forgot to mention that I used this story in a post at American Resistance 2016! to urge grassroots folks to dig for documents on ‘non-profit’ groups operating in your towns and cities.
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