Owatonna, Minnesota United Way gives award to ‘non-profit’ leader of Somali organization

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.

Kim Schaufenbuel
Learn more by writing to Kim Schaufenbuel, Executive Director of the Steele County United Way and ask for their financials. All non-profits must make their financial information available to anyone who asks.

“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.”

Ibrahim Hussein
Ibrahim Hussein is required to give you the financial information for SACSO.

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.”

Continue reading here.

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

McKnight Foundation

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Lutheran Social Service: Foster Grandparent Program

Pearson Inc

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.

27 thoughts on “Owatonna, Minnesota United Way gives award to ‘non-profit’ leader of Somali organization

  1. https://mblsportal.sos.state.mn.us/Business/SearchDetails?filingGuid=e5b78bc6-97d4-e011-a886-001ec94ffe7f Looks like it was dissolved almost two years ago  in Feb. ’14 – – – Minnesota stupids give money to defunct non-profits ?  United Way is supposed to be concerned with organizations, I thought.  At least the donors, one would think, would be of that opinion.  Guess the key would be Steele County United Way financial statement to see if Schaufenbuel is into anything shady. I did request the documents you mentioned from SCUW web site e-mail address . . . won’t hold my breath though.  Wonder what the national office has to say about Kim S., her maybe ignorance/bleeding heart and the whole fishy-sounding Steele County operation ? ? ? Regards, Mack Elder, Athens, Ga. 


  2. Ann:

    In addition to the information that I provided, the MN Attorney General does request information from citizens. They want to know if ANYONE is soliciting as a charity and is not registered with the MN Attorney General. And, they request information on anything questionable. People may call 1-800-657-3787 or 1-651-296-9412. You may need to leave a message, but they are very responsive in returning phone calls. You may also submit a standard form found on their website: http://www.ag.state.mn.us/Charity/CharitySearch.asp. Their mailing address is: 1400 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota St., St. Paul, MN 55101.

    The website I provided is also a good tool in searching for MN charities. The search allows you to enter just one word and it will list all charities that begin with that word. You may use a FEIN. You may narrow it down by city. And, you can review any out-of-state organizations soliciting in the State of Minnesota.

    Please let me know if you need anything else.


  3. Ann:

    Thanks for all of your hard work. I tried to find your e-mail.

    I found this organization on the IRS with the IRS search tool, Exempt Organization Select Check. The groups is listed as a public charity with the ability to receive deductible contributions, according to the IRS. I did not find them on the MN Secretary of State website. While you don’t necessarily need to be a corporation, you need to file with the Minnesota Attorney General if you are a charitable organization that receives at least $25,000 of public support (contributions, fundraising, etc.). They are registered with the Minnesota Attorney General. To be registered with them, you need to provide incorporation (organization) papers and an IRS Exemption letter.

    I just want to inform you of what I know.


      1. I don’t think that takes away the group’s charitable status.

        The group just lost their status as a corporation which exposes them to liability. The IRS still lists them as a public charity able to accepted deductible contributions and the MN Attorney General still lists them as active.


        1. But, have they ever filed a Form 990? If they didn’t even keep their legal status in MN, aren’t the chances pretty good that they are operating illegally according to IRS rules… But, of course it isn’t a conservative group so maybe the IRS doesn’t care.


          1. Ann: If they had never filed a Form 990, they would lose their exemption status with the IRS. The IRS still lists them as exempt able to receive charitable contributions.


          2. If they have one, guidestar doesn’t have it. They are supposed to make their Form 990 available for anyone who asks. Someone should call and ask, or write and ask for them (for the last few years).


          3. Thanks for finding this. Now everyone concerned in Minnesota should call SACSO and ask them for a copy of their IRS Determination letter and any Form 990s they have filed. And, while you are at it, ask for a list of Board members….


      2. If in doubt, I recommend contacting the office of the MN Attorney General. The MN AG is also the key to reporting fraud if any charitable group is suspicious regarding not following Minnesota’s charitable laws, or engaging in activities prohibited to a 501(c)(3) organization.


    1. 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,


      1. Very funny, glad to hear that they are reading RRW. Shame on all the donors for not doing their due diligence to their donors, esp. the United Way!, to make sure that who they give money to is a legitimate organization. Now, I would like to see their incorporation papers and their board members, surely the state of Minnesota requires that information to be on file.


  4. God Bless You Ann…you are our courageous hero. Thank you for all you do.

    Martin Hill

    On Sun, Jan 24, 2016 at 6:11 AM, Refugee Resettlement Watch wrote:

    > Ann Corcoran posted: “So what you may ask? 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 abou” >


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